Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart

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Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart (1825)

Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart (26 July 1791 – 29 July 1844), also known as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jr., was the youngest child of six born to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his wife Constanze. He was the younger of his parents' two surviving children.[1] He was a composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher whose musical style was an early Romanticism, heavily influenced by his father's mature style.

Biography[edit]

Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart was born in Vienna, five months before his father's death. Although he was baptized Franz Xaver Mozart, from birth on he was always called Wolfgang by his parents.[2] He received excellent musical instruction from Antonio Salieri and Johann Nepomuk Hummel, and studied composition with Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and Sigismund von Neukomm.[3] He learned to play both the piano and violin. Like his father, he started to compose at an early age. "In April 1805, the thirteen-year-old Wolfgang Mozart made his debut in Vienna in a concert in the Theater an der Wien."[4]

Wolfgang became a professional musician and enjoyed moderate success both as a teacher and a performer. Unlike his father, he was introverted and given to self-deprecation. He constantly underrated his talent and feared that whatever he produced would be compared with what his father had done.

The two surviving sons of Wolfgang Amadeus and Constanze Mozart: Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart (left) and Karl Thomas (right). Painting by Hans Hansen, Vienna, 1800.

Needing money, in 1808, he travelled to Lemberg, where he gave music lessons to the daughters of the Polish count Wiktor Baworowski. Although the pay was good, Franz felt lonely in the town of Pidkamin, near Rohatyn, so in 1809, he accepted an offer from the imperial chamberlain, Count von Janiszewski, to teach his daughters music in the town of Burshtyn. Besides teaching, he gave local concerts, playing his own and his father's pieces. These concerts introduced him to the important people in Galicia.

After two years in Burshtyn, he moved to Lemberg where he spent more than 20 years teaching (with students including Julie von Webenau, née Baroni-Cavalcabò) and giving concerts. Between 1826 and 1829, he conducted the choir of Saint Cecilia, which consisted of 400 amateur singers. In 1826, he conducted his father's Requiem during a concert at the Greek Catholic cathedral of St. George. From this choir, he created the musical brotherhood of Saint Cecilia, and thus the first school of music in Lemberg. He did not give up performing and in the years 1819 to 1821 traveled throughout Europe. In 1819 he gave concerts in Warsaw, Elbing and Danzig (Gdańsk).

In the 1820s, Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart was one of 50 composers to write a variation on a theme of Anton Diabelli for part II of the Vaterländischer Künstlerverein. Part I was devoted to the 33 variations supplied by Beethoven, which have gained an independent identity as his Diabelli Variations, Op. 120.

In 1838, he left for Vienna, and then for Salzburg, where he was appointed as the Kapellmeister of the Mozarteum. From 1841, he taught the pianist Ernst Pauer. He died from stomach cancer on 29 July 1844 in the town of Karlsbad, where he was buried.

He never married, nor did he have any children. His will was executed by Josephine de Baroni-Cavalcabò, the dedicatee of his cello sonata[3] and a longtime patroness. The shadow of his father loomed large over him even in death. The following epitaph was etched on his tombstone: "May the name of his father be his epitaph, as his veneration for him was the essence of his life."

Works (selected)[edit]

Franz Xaver Wolfgang had a relatively small output (his opus numbers only go up to 30) and after 1820 he seems to have given up composing almost entirely; in particular, there is an 11-year gap (1828 to 1839) when he seems to have not written anything. Nevertheless, recordings of his music can be found today. He wrote mainly chamber music and piano music, with his largest compositions being the two piano concertos.

  • Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 1 (published 1802)[3]
  • Cantata for the Birthday of Joseph Haydn, lost (1805)
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano in B major, Op. 7
  • Piano Sonata in G major, Op. 10
  • 6 pieces for Flute and 2 Horns, Op. 11
  • Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 14 (1808, published in 1811)
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano in F major, Op. 15
  • Six Polonaises mélancoliques for piano, Op. 17
  • Sonata for violoncello or violin and piano in E major, Op. 19 (published in 1820)[3]
  • Quatre Polonaises mélancoliques for piano, Op. 22
  • Five Variations on a romance from Méhul's Joseph, Op. 23 (pub. 1820) (until 1994 mistakenly attributed to the young Liszt, S147a)
  • Two Polonaises for piano, Op. 24
  • Piano Concerto No. 2 in E-flat major, Op. 25 (1818)
  • Der erste Frühlingstag (The First Spring Day), cantata for solo, choir and orchestra, Op. 28
  • "Festchor" for the unveiling of the Mozart monument in Salzburg, Op. 30 (1840)
  • Sinfonia
  • Rondo in E minor for flute and piano
  • Songs with piano accompaniment

The two piano concertos differ somewhat. The first concerto could pass for one of his father's late (K. 550 and above) works, except for a youthful exuberance and the piano's tessitura, which had been expanded in 1795, just after Mozart senior died. The second concerto is more contemporary to the 1810s, with more virtuosic piano part, showing hints that the younger Mozart was developing his own style.

Liszt misattribution[edit]

Franz Xaver Mozart's "Five Variations on a romance from Méhul's Joseph, Op. 23" was published in 1820. But the work was, until 1994, mistakenly attributed to the young Liszt: a copyist's manuscript of the work wrongly noted that it was "par le jeune Liszt" ("by the young Liszt"). The work was published in good faith by the Neue Liszt-Ausgabe in 1990, and catalogued as Liszt's S147a. Liszt scholar Leslie Howard recorded the work in similar good faith in 1992 for his series of recordings of the complete music for solo piano by Liszt (for the disc entitled "The Young Liszt"). But shortly afterwards Howard noted in his sleevenotes for the disc's release: "It has since been established that the attribution is false and that the work is from the pen of Mozart’s son Franz Xaver, and was published as his opus 23 in 1820. But since the work remains unknown and unrecorded, like the vast majority of F X Mozart's output, and since the writing is not vastly different from some of the other pieces in this collection, it was thought best not to discard it."

References[edit]

  1. ^ The elder was Karl Thomas Mozart (21 September 1784 – 31 October 1858), who was an excellent pianist and long considered becoming a professional musician. Instead, he entered Austrian government service and died, unmarried, in Milan.
  2. ^ Michael Lorenz: "Mozart Documents 'transcribed'", Vienna 2012
  3. ^ a b c d "Divox Biography". Retrieved 28 June 2008. 
  4. ^ Eisen, Cliff; Keefe, Simon P. (2006). "Haydn, (Franz) Joseph". The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia. Cambridge University Press. p. 214. ISBN 978-0-521-85659-1. 

External links[edit]