- Posted February 2, 2012 by
Mozart Week is in full swing in Mozart's birth city -- Salzburg, Austria. Concerts are being held across the city all week, and concert-goers are witnessing world-renowned Mozart conductors such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the world's best orchestras, such as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. This year, the celebrations began January 27 (Mozart's birthday) and extend until February 5, 2012. The celebrations are not limited to Austria, though. Across Europe and around the world, Mozart lovers are celebrating the birth of a music great.
However, it would be a mistake to assume that Austria is where the Mozart story is centred. While the story of Mozart's life begins in Salzburg, this is not where his entire story begins. In order to truly understand the rise of a music legend, you must learn about another Mozart, Leopold Mozart -- Wolfgang's father. Prior to moving to Salzburg, Leopold was actually raised in Augsburg, Germany. And in fact, this is where the name Mozart originates. Mozart means "of the earth," and centuries of Mozarts, primarily craftsmen such as bricklayers, have lived in Augsburg. Leopold was the first Mozart to pursue music, and he quickly became a published authority on violin playing. And it was because he was such a talented musician that he was able to immediately recognize his son's exceptional musical talent. Leopold was Wolfgang's teacher and very actively encouraged Wolfgang's talent -- a talent he realized was much greater than his own -- and raised him to become a music great the world now knows and loves. Also, while Leopold moved to Salzburg when he married, he obtained special permission from the city to maintain his official citizenship in Augsburg as well. (At this time, one held "citizenship" in cities).
Thus, the true story of Wolfgang Mozart really must include the story of Leopold Mozart.
During a visit to Augsburg, Germany recently, I visited Mozarthaus, the actual house where Leopold Mozart was born, and where he nurtured his own musical talents, before moving to Salzburg. With glad cooperation from Mozarthaus, I was able to film inside this great house, containing important artifacts and pictures related to Mozart's history, while my official Augsburg History Guide enlightened me about Leopold's connection to Wolfgang Mozart's story.
Special thanks to Mozarthaus for filming permission and Mozart music permissions.
For more information:
Augsburg also has "the world's oldest social housing project"
(and Mozart's great grandfather lived in it).