Young but great
Two weeks ago my first niece was born: Ainhoa. She is the first to arrive at all, so we are very excited!
Looking at her asleep, I was wondering who would have been the youngest musician to compose a song. Do you want to know it?
The little survivor
His real name was Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart . Mozart was born on 27 January 1756 in Salzburg, Austria. He was the only one of his 7 brothers who survived along with his older sister Maria Anna.
The year when he was born, his father published a book about teaching the violin, since he was a teacher and virtuoso of this instrument, so he took very seriously the musical education of his children.
He started to teach his daughter how to play the keyboard when he was 7 years old, and Mozart, who was 3 and a half years old, looked at her with curiosity and envy. Because of that attitude, at 4 years old his father started to teach him the piano as it was a game… he perfected this game absolutely delighted, so much, so that at 5 years he had already composed his first small pieces, all dedicated to his father and interpreted exclusively to the family.
He composed the ‘Andante for keyboard in C major, Köchel Verzeichnis (KV) 1ªa’, and the ‘Allegro for keyboard in C major, KV 1b ‘ by ear at five years old. His father transcribed these little pieces in a notebook he used as a method of musical education for his children, called Nannerl Notenbuch . (Nannerl was her daughter’s affectionate nickname). At this age Mozart did not know how to write what he played… at last something normal.
Was music really a game for him?
Indeed. It is said that his first compositions and his first steps with the violin were by his own initiative, and that his early achievements were an exciting surprise for his father, with whom he had a very close relationship. During his childhood, he did not interact with children, but with adults, and used music as a language between his father and him.
Before the age of six he played the harpsichord and the violin very well, and improvised constantly. As a result, his father decided to take him on tour in Europe with his sister, as children prodigies. The trip by wagon was exhausting and dangerous: they all fell ill, almost on the verge of death.
In the photo you can see a painting of Louis Carrogis that represents the family on their first European tour in Paris, in 1763. After 4 years of concerts, Mozart’s sister ended her shows but young Mozart started even more trips.
What is the name of his first long piece?
When he was only 8 years old, he composed his first music piece of three movements of the taste of the court at that time. Ovbiously, he called it ‘Symphony No. 1‘!