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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in Austria the son of Leopold Kapellmeister to the Prince-Archbishop ofSalzburg By the age of three he could play the piano and he was composing by the time he was five minuets from this periodshow remarkable understanding of form Mozarts elder sister Maria Anna best known as Nannerl was also a gifted keyboardplayer and in 1762 their father took the two prodigies on a short performing tour of the courts at Vienna and MunichEncouraged by their reception they embarked the next year on a longer tour including two weeks at Versailles where thechildren enchanted Louis XV In 1764 they arrived in London Here Mozart wrote his first three symphonies under theinfluence of Johann Christian Bach youngest son of Johann Sebastian who lived in the city After their return to Salzburg therefollowed three trips to Italy between 1769 and 1773 In Rome Mozart heard a performance of Allegris Misere the score ofthis work was closely guarded but Mozart managed to transcribe the music almost perfectly from memory On Mozarts firstvisit to Milan his opera Mitridate r di Ponto was successfully produced followed on a subsequent visit by Lucia Silla Thelatter showed signs of the rich full orchestration that characterizes his later operasA trip to Vienna in 1773 failed to produce the court appointment that both Mozart and his father wished for him but didintroduce Mozart to the influence of Haydn whose Sturm und Drang string quartets Opus 20 had recently been publishedThe influence is clear in Mozarts six string quartets K168-173 and in his Symphony in G minor K183 Another trip in searchof patronage ended less happily Accompanied by his mother Mozart left Salzburg in 1777 travelling through Mannheim toParis But in July 1778 his mother died Nor was the trip a professional success no longer able to pass for a prodigy Mozartsreception there was muted and hopes of a job came nothingBack in Salzburg Mozart worked for two
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