mozart

Mozart as a Freelance Artist

Mozart_(unfinished)_by_Lange_1782

The most outstanding feature about Mozart’s biography, the one people are most familiar about, is his prodigious musical talent. Everyone is familiar with the story of the precocious Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), who led by his father’s hand, traveled to opulent courts across ¬†Europe as an itinerant child prodigy. As he grew older, he became a professional composer who produced an output of hundreds of compositions in a diversity of genres and styles with many of those works ranking as some of the most inspired music ever composed.

The late German author, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, brought to light in his thick tome about Mozart’s life and work another facet of the native from Salzburg that is perhaps less familiar in the Mozartian mythology. According to Hildesheimer, Mozart was not only an innovator and a master of every musical form, he was also an innovator in the music business; our hero might have been the first freelance composer. Although F. M. Scherer disputes this notion in his essay The Emergence of Musical Copyright in Europe and claims freelance composers had existed a century before Mozart’s period, it is quite clear Mozart possessed an innate rebellious nature that rendered him as an inadequate candidate to vegetate in tedious comfort as a court composer. Not that he felt a conscious need to manifest a rebellious attitude against the current social order; such a sentiment would have been alien to Mozart’s nature. However he probably searched for a context that allowed him to exploit his powerful compositional skills to the best of his ability.

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