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MUSICAL HISTORY.

CHAPTER XIII.

MUSIC IN GERMANY DURING THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY,
CONTINUED.-MOZART.-PLEYEL.

JOHANN CHRYSOSTOM WOLFGANG GOTTLIEB MOZART* was born at Salzburg on the 27th of January, 1756. His father, Leopold Mozart, was a musician of some eminence, and, as well as his wife, Anna Maria Pertl, was remarkable for personal beauty. They had seven children, of whom only two survived, a girl named Mary Anne, and the subject of the present sketch.

When young Mozart was about three years of age, his father began to give his sister, then about seven, lessons on the harpsichord, by which the boy's attention was immediately attracted. His great amusement was to endeavour to find out thirds on the instrument, and nothing could exceed his delight when he discovered them. At the age of four, he had learned to play several minuets, and other little pieces; and before he had attained his fifth year, he had made attempts at composition. At this period he gave signs of a very

He is frequently called Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Amadeus is equivalent to Gottlieb.

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affectionate and sensitive disposition. He would frequently ask the persons about him if they loved him, and an answer in the negative, made in joke, affected him to tears. When he became engrossed by his passion for music, he lost his relish for the usual gambols of children, of which he had been very fond, and cared nothing for any amusement of which music did not form a part. A friend of the family used to amuse himself by playing with the child: they carried playthings in procession from one room to another, marching to a tune, which one of them sang or played on the violin. For a time, Mozart attached himself with great avidity to the ordinary studies of youth, and even sacrificed to them his love for music. While he was learning arithmetic, the tables, chairs, walls, and floors, were scribbled over with figures. Music, however, soon became again his favourite pursuit. His father, returning home one day with a friend, found him. earnestly engaged in writing, and asked him what he was about. "I am composing a concerto for the harpsichord," said the child, "and have finished the first part." His father took the paper, and looked at it along with his friend. Seeing nothing but a childishlooking scrawl, almost illegible, and covered with blots of ink, they began to laugh; but the father, continuing to examine it, became filled with astonishment and pleasure. "Look," he cried to his friend, "how correct and regular it is! but it is too difficult; nobody could play it." "It is a concerto," said the young composer, "and must be studied before it can be played: see, this is the way it goes." He then began to play, but could only make a shift to give an idea of

his meaning. The composition consisted of a multitude of notes, placed precisely according to rule, but presenting such difficulties that no performer could have ever been able to execute them.

In the year 1762, when Mozart was six years of age, his father carried his family to Vienna, where the two children performed before Francis the First and the Imperial court. Wagenseil, an eminent musician, was then in Vienna; and Mozart, who already knew how to value the approbation of a good master, begged that he might be present. The emperor sent for Wagenseil, and gave up to him his place beside the harpsichord. "Sir," said the young performer, "I am going to play one of your concertos; and you will turn the leaves for me."

When the family returned to Salzburg, Mozart brought with him a small violin, with which he amused himself. An able violin player, of the name of Wenzl, called one day on his father, to ask his opinion of six trios he had just composed. They proceeded to try them, Wenzl himself playing the first violin, Mozart's father the bass, and a performer of the name of Schachner the second violin. Young Mozart begged hard to be allowed to play this last part, but his father angrily refused his request, naturally conceiving it to be a childish whim. At last, however, on the goodhumoured intercession of Schachner, the child was allowed to play along with him on his little violin, and cautioned by his father to make little noise. In a few minutes Schachner, nodding to his companions, quietly laid down his instrument, and Mozart went on alone, playing his part with the utmost accuracy and

steadiness, to the admiration and astonishment of the party.

The delicacy of his ear was wonderful. He could distinguish the slightest difference in the pitch of sound; and every false or harsh tone, not softened by some concord, gave him exquisite pain. He had an invincible horror at the sound of a trumpet, when not played in concert with other instruments. His father imagined he might cure this dislike by sounding a trumpet in his presence, and tried the experiment, notwithstanding the child's intreaties; but at the first blast he became pale, and fell on the floor. He was fond of playing on Schachner's violin, on account of the sweetness of its tone, and Schachner used to tune it, and leave it with him. One day, when Schachner came to visit his father, Mozart remarked to him, that the last time he had tuned his violin, he had not kept it at its former pitch. "It is half a quarter of a tone," he said, "lower than this one of mine." They at first laughed at this extreme exactness; but the father, who had often observed the extraordinary delicacy of his son's ear, and his memory for sounds, desired him to bring Schachner's violin, and it actually proved to be half a quarter of a tone below the other.

Though this wonderful child could not fail to perceive the admiration and astonishment which his talents excited, he did not become vain or forward. He was always docile and gentle, and never appeared out of humour with the commands of his parents; even when he had practised music the whole day, he would continue to play, without the slightest impatience, if his father desired him to do so.

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