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  • Chris Anderson

Why Mozart Is One Of My Heroes

In 1990 my family went and I went on holiday to Austria. We stayed in our folding caravan in Innsbruck. Even though Mozart died in 1791, Austria was preparing to mark the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his passing already. My parents knew I was a Mozart nut and so had made a plan to goto Salzburg, his birth place, on a day trip. Sadly an unforeseen situation prevented that trip. 24 years later I finally got there, via Vienna.

The City Of Salzburg - Mozart's Birthplace

We visited the museum which is the house where Mozart was born. There was a lot to see and take in. But when I saw a lock of Mozart's hair - I wept. The legend was real! The man had existed. It is very difficult for me to pinpoint exactly when my love affair with Mozart started. I'm absolutely certain that I will have heard his music when I was very young and that is bound to have had an impact.

Music has always played a huge part in my life but my tastes come and go. However, I’ve never not liked Mozart. No matter what my mood I can always find a piece of Mozart that accompanies it perfectly. Whereas other music can sometimes leave me cold - even if I had enjoyed it on a previous occasion. Sure, there are some pieces I like less than others, and I have to be in a certain mood for opera, but I’ve yet to find a piece or work I don’t like!

Mozart's Statue in Salzburg
Memorial Statue Of Mozart

In some ways, Mozart was ahead of his time. He experimented with polytonality long before Benjamin Britten and John Cage. Polytonality is the use of two different keys simultaneously. An example of this is his “Musical Joke" which is genius on many levels. You can appreciate the humour just listening to it, but if you understand the "rules" of music, it's also very funny. The final “two-fingered salute” from the horns at the end of the piece makes me laugh every time.

Although Mozart is very much considered a Classical composer (in other words one from the Classical Period which ran from 1750 - 1820) it is my feeling that he was actually a very early Romantic composer (before it was even a thing). Every single note he wrote had a purpose. He imbued every single piece with such passion and colour that I'm sure if the instruments allowed him to he'd have used even more expression. He loved to experiment with different instruments and tones (for example the glass harmonica).

While it is absolutely apparent that he was very much in the Classical period, his music doesn’t confine itself to this singularity. For example, in the Kyrie of his Requiem he has demonstrated this with his use of polyphony (two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody). At first glance it would appear that Mozart is just mimicking his Baroque era predecessors, but by 1791 he had fully assimilated this technique into his compositional palette.

He had a scatological sense of humour. He was mischievous. He likely had some form of Tourettes and/or Autistic Spectrum Disorder - if these terms were actually around in the 18th Century. He adored his wife, Constanze and was a chivalrous, romantic gentleman. He looked after his friends and was devoted to his father. He was a composer who literally worked to the very last minute. His music has lasted well over 250 years and will no doubt last forever.

He inspires me, moves me, teaches me and comforts me.

That is why he's a hero to me.

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