Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Although many see him as a musical prodigy, one mustn’t forget that he was raised in a positive environment that cultivated his musical abilities. His father, a skilled violinist and organist, started Mozart with keyboard lessons at an early age. The rest, well, was musical history.
Nonetheless, Mozart, a man that died at the ripe age of 35, has inspired me with some of his quotes.
“Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.” -Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
An influential composer that composed over 600 pieces of work, it can be difficult to believe that Mozart had his share of financial woes.
“One must not make oneself cheap here – that is a cardinal point – or else one is done. Whoever is most impertinent as the best chance.” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
When I read the backgrounds of people that inspire me, it is often the case that money played an ill role – a role that suffocates productivity. In the case of Mozart, his father halted his own music career when Mozart was born. His early monetary success created a lavish lifestyle. But Mozart led a fluctuating life between money, debt, and near poverty.
“I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings.” -Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
A blend of an addiction to a lavish lifestyle, pressures from Mozart’s father to support the family, and excess costs of his immediate family (his wife often in health spas due to ulcerated varicose veins and a sick child), all led Mozart to struggle at times, escaping poverty by a whim. Like many artists, he often traveled in search of positions that provided financial security. But he was rebel-like, finding himself in discontent with low paying work. He never was rooted at one place for long before going on the hunt again to find well-paid commissions. Perhaps, he believed in his worth far more than anyone could understand and knew the consequences of stagnation:
“A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place.” -Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sadly, it is written that Mozart hardly composed or played music for the ‘sheer joy of it.’ In his final years (depicted in the portrait above), Mozart found some satisfying commissions. But they too were marked by toils. When he worked, he worked feverishly:
“When I am…completely myself, entirely alone…or during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how these ideas come I know not nor can I force them.” -Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart’s final years produced what are considered musical masterpieces that include Requiem and The Magic Flute. One can make an argument that Mozart’s greatest works were ignited by monetary influence. One thing is clear, like many “geniuses,” Mozart’s skills did not come naturally, but through committment, passion, and repetive hard work:
“It is a mistake to think that the practice of my art has become easy to me. I assure you, dear friend, no one has given so much care to the study of composition as I. There is scarcely a famous master in music whose works I have not frequently and diligently studied.” -Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart