In his short life Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) made an astonishing contribution to the world of music. The composer of the finest buffa operas of the 18th century (including The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni), Mozart also brought German opera to new heights with The Magic Flute and contributed substantially to other genres including the symphony, string quartet and piano concerto. His Clarinet Concerto is the best loved of all concertos for that instrument and his sacred music includes motets, Masses and a Requiem. Supremely gifted from a young age, Mozart toured Europe as a child prodigy. As an adult, however, he never found a position equal to his talents and, in frustration, quitted his job as a salaried musician in Salzburg and embarked upon a freelance career in Vienna. At the mercy of the market and subject to the vagaries of local taste, he had good years in Vienna but lean ones too. His career took a turn for the better in 1791 with many commissions in the offing. Tragically, he died in December of that year after a short illness. Contrary to popular belief, he was not interred in a pauper’s grave but was buried in a common individual grave as per Viennese funeral customs at the time.

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