Celebrating MozartAnother weekend, another road trip.
This time it was to Shrewsbury MA to visit a friend who had come to stay for the weekend with one of her stepdaughters. During the round trip, I had about 2½ hours to listen to some further episodes in the taped history of music I'm gradually working my way through. We lecturer Robert Greenberg and I have advanced to the classical period, which means extended and close attention to Mozart, whose 250th birthday was celebrated this January.
Mozart seems as fine an example as any of the existence of inborn talent. As discussed in an earlier post, recent research indicates that much of the difference in accomplishment from one person to the next is explained by differences in how motivated the individuals are to master needed skills, and in how effectively they are coached as they practice their skills.
Certainly Mozart had his musician father's guidance (and pestering) until moving to Vienna in 1781, and he had regular contact with a wide range of fellow musicians, but there can be no doubt that his accomplishments were enabled by extraordinary natural gifts, accompanied by strong motivation to compose.
Mozart's output during a life of just 35 years was prodigious, especially considering the ongoing medical problems he experienced. Prof. Greenberg reports that in just the ten years Mozart was in Vienna from 1781 until his death in 1791 Mozart turned out 17 piano concerti, 6 operas, a clarinet concerto and quintet, 7 symphonies, 5 string quintets, 11 string quartets, and a requiem (unfinished at his death).
Just about all of these works, along with a substantial portion of the nearly 600 other pieces he composed, are masterly and beyond the capabilities of all but a small number of similarly gifted musical artists.