Mozart's earliest works

Everyone always talks about what a genius Mozart was, how he wrote his first concerto when he was 4 years old, and his first symphony when he was 7. This is to impress you. “Wow- he was writing concertos and symphonies when he was a little kid!”
My question is, what did these early works by the boy genius sound like? I’ve looked all around for them and have never even heard them mentioned except when people talk about what a genius he was for writing music at such an early age.
I suspect the reason for their obscurity is that they must have really sucked. Has anyone ever heard them? Where are they?


“Who are all you people, and how did you get in my computer?”

I’ve heard them. They’re good. They’re obviously not his best, but at the time, they were popular. These days, they’re only played for historical value. A most remarkable thing about Mozart is that he never wrote anything bad. The only composer who improved on that was Brahms, who never wrote anything that wasn’t wonderful. He
never let anyone publish anything that wasn’t up to his ability. Many people believe (me included) that not all of Mozart’s music was written by Wolfgang Amadeus. He had a sister, whose name escapes me, who supposedly was just as talented as Wolfgang. She, being female, was forced to stop writing and playing music, so she could learn more womanly crafts like cooking, cleaning, and sewing so that she would be a desirable wife. I think either historians have falsely credited Wolfgang with some of his sister’s works and/or she wrote things and asked Wolfgang to pass them off as his, so she could hear her music performed without being scolded by her parents.

Lipochrome wrote,

I suspect the reason for their obscurity is that they must have really sucked. Has anyone ever heard them? Where are they?

Hmmm. There is a Jackson Brown album that addesses this.
I believe, in the background, we hear a slight piano figure. “Mozart at age two”, David Lindley comments; then you hear Jackson himself, ::splort:: all over the piano keyboard,after that, there is much snickering and laughter.

I forget what song they played next, but it certainly had Wolfgang’s approval.

“Sucked” is a very strong word. I’ve heard some of Mozart’s early work, and his first opera. They’re not terrible by any means, but they bring to mind Samuel Johnson’s quip about female preachers. He said they were like a dog walking on its hind feet: the dog doesn’t do it very well, but we’re sort of fascinated to see it done at all! In the same way, Mozart’s early music isn’t wonderful per se, but it’s astonishing how well Mozart played and composed at an early age.

Still, it’s true that people focus too much on the pre-adolescent Mozart. My guess is, hypothetically, if Mozart had contracted smallpox and died at the age of 21, he would be almost completely forgotten today, except as an interesting piece of trivia in “Reipley’s Believe It or Not.” There are other composers whose output before the age of 21 was FAR more impressive. Mendelssohn, certainly, and Chopin, too.

Mozart’s truly brilliant work, the work that endured, came well into his adulthood.

A search of my old Mozart 33 1/3 stereos yealeded CASSATION #1 in G Minor, K. 63 written in 1769, age 13. I’m sure that I have earlier works, but can’t find them. In 1991, the 200th anniversary of W.A’s death, ALL of Mozarts works were recorded, I believe on Angel (not sure). If at 13 he had produced 63 works, one would guess that his reconized opi (plural of opus?) started many years earlier.

But Mendelssohn’s early stuff really does suck.


I don’t know who first said “everyone’s a critic,” but I think it’s a really stupid saying.

I am almost positive that Mozart wrote (the tune to) “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” (also the tune when you recite the alphabet, regardless of your age).

You’re right; Mozart did right that tune. The name of the piece that it was part of escapes me now.

I think Mozart’s earlier works aren’t well known, not because they “sucked”, but because they were derivative of earlier composers’ works. He didn’t develop his own style until later in his life, say 15. Incidentally, I think Mozart would still have built a decent reputation from the music he produced before his 21st birthday. Remember he only lived to be 34, and yet is regarded by many as the greatest composer of modern times.

Actually, Mozart did variations on the “Twinkle, Twinkle” theme which was originally a French lullaby (I’ll get the name of it at home tonight). His variations are original but the song was old.


…it has never been my way to bother much about things which you can’t cure.

  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court-Mark Twain

My Ma, the lifelong musician, has a book of Mozart’s early keyboard works, written when he was 7 or 8. It was published in Italy IIRC, don’t know where the heck she got it from. I’ve sat down and played a couple of them from time to time and they are the result of some serious talent. Most of them are relatively simple - two or three voices - but they have a polished, trained sound to them and they are enjoyable to listen to. I can still play one or two of them from memory. I’ll take a peek around the Web and see if I can’t find some audio files for the Teeming Millions’ edification.


Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

And remembering back to my music history classes as a music education undergrad back in the dark ages:

i recall that while Mozart’s early works were simple from a technical standpoint, that structurally they were still somewhat complex, and perfect in fitting in with the classical forms of the era. So, even though the child Mozart may not have been the equivalant of the adult as a keyboardist, he was as a theoritician/composer.


SoxFan59
“Its fiction, but all the facts are true!”

whc03grady sed: I am almost positive that Mozart wrote (the tune to) “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” (also the tune when you recite the alphabet, regardless of your age).

So it’s because of Mozart that the alphabet is in that order? :slight_smile:

By the way, for all you music fans, Dohnayni wrote a set of variations on that theme that’s very fun to listen to.