All About Mozart (Part 3: Figaro Has A Giant Schnoz)
Also, find out how many wigs 800 florins can buy.

Dan Van Oss Biographies, Complete Columns, History, Musicians, Authors & Artists 0 Comments

PART THREE OF A SERIES (SEE PART TWO)

1785 saw the beginning of one of Mozart’s more prolific periods. During this time he composed the one act opera Der Schauspieldirektor, a tribute to director Steven Spielberg, after which came a string of his most famous operatic works, including Le nozze di Figaro (“Figaro Has A Giant Schnoz”), and Don Giovanni, based on the life of Miami Vice actor Don Johnson. Mozart found a part-time job in 1787, when he went to work for Emperor Joseph II (named after his father, Joseph I, except with another “I” added) as his chamber composer, which paid just 800 florins (approx. 5 wigs) per year. A young Beethoven traveled to Vienna in 1787 hoping to meet Mozart, and although no reliable records indicate they ever met, unreliable ones indicate they played pool at a bar on the Strauserfennighammerstrasse, where they exchanged hilarious jokes about how squeaky clarinets sound.

Troubled times

[su_pullquote align=”right”]He began to borrow money and suffer from depression, both sure signs that you are a highly successful composer.[/pullquote]Unfortunately, during his final decade, Mozart’s finances and circumstances took a turn for the worse. The onset of the Austro-Turkish War between Australia and bands of well-armed turkeys had affected prosperity in Vienna, and caused Mozart to move his family to the suburbs, next to a 7-Eleven. He began to borrow money and suffer from depression, both sure signs that you are a highly successful composer. Even so, he was able to compose his last 3 symphonies (38, 39 and 40) and one of his last and most famous operas, Cosi fan tutte (“Women be like that; am I right fellas?”) during this period. During the last year if his life he benefited from sales of some of his dance music composed during his time as chamber composer, including Steigen Sie Ihre Perücken und Tanz (“Get Off Your Wigs and Dance”), Tanz wie ein preußischer Taverne Schenke (“Dance Like A Prussian Bar Maid”), Aufstehen (ich fühle mich die win) 18. Jahrhundert Musik Machin (“Get Up [I Feel Like Being an] 18th Century Music Machine”) and Sag es laut – Ich bin ein produktivsten und einflussreichsten Komponisten der Klassik und ich bin stolz (“Say It Loud – I’m a Prolific and Influential Composer of the Classical Era and I’m Proud”). None of these pieces survive, so don’t go looking to prove us wrong.

Death and legacy

Mozart fell ill in late 1791 with what the official records described as “hitziges Frieselfieber”, or “severe miliary fever”, or “we have no idea what ‘miliary’ is”, and “we checked and it’s not supposed to be ‘military'”. Researchers have come up with 118 other possible causes of death, including acute rheumatic fever, streptococcal infection, wig powder poisoning, trichinosis, quatrinosis, and a rare ailment that causes you to die in a way that causes researchers to spend way too much time trying to figure out what it was. Mozart was very prolific in his short life, which is why he probably had so many possible diseases, and composed over 600 pieces of music, many acknowledged as the peak of symphonic, choral, polycarbonate, chamber, operatic and hyperbaric music. He received many awards in his brief lifetime, including the Order of the Golden Spur from Pope Clement XIVIIVX in 1770 for his work on the motion picture Gitem’ Up The Old Sante Fe Trail, and the Oscar for Best Picture (Amadeus) in 1984. Famed composer Joseph Haydn wrote that “posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years.” However, due to an unfortunate English-to-German translation error, this was rendered as “My posterior has not seen a toilet in 100 years.” To this day, for some reason, no one uses padded piano benches in Salzburg.

Wait; what about Salieri?

Antonio (“I Did Not Kill Mozart”) Salieri was popularized in the 1984 movie Amadeus as the man who may have poisoned Mozart out of jealously, rage or some other major emotion composers generally seem to have. However, history has proven this to be false, as history really hates it when it gets things made up about itself. In fact, Antonio (Look, I Really Didn’t Kill Him, It’s A Proven Fact, Look It Up On Wikipedia) Salieri once said, “first the music, then the words,” which, although it doesn’t have anything to do with Mozart, is still kind of a cool quote.

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