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Franz Xaver Mozart

(1791—1844)

{ Biography }

Franz Xaver Mozart was born in Vienna on July 26, 1791 just a few month before the death of his father Wolfgang Amadeus. Joseph Haydn had at an early stage supported the education of the young Franz Xaver, who received piano lessons form Haydn's pupils Sigismund Neukomm and Andreas Streicher, at that time a highly esteemed teacher. Mozart junior continued his studies with Vienna's most famous teacher Johann Nepomuk Hummel (piano), Georg Albrechtsberger and Abbé Georg J. Vogler (composition) and with the court musician Antonio Salieri (choral work).

The fact that his opus 1, the piano quartet in G minor, was printed in Vienna with Steiner as early as 1802 was, of course, a major success for the 11year old composer. Even in his early composition the affinity with his father's piano quartet in G minor is unmistakable. In a musical academy at the "Theater an der Wien" in April 1805 the young 13year old artist was introduced to the wider public as a pianist and composer. He aroused great enthusiasm also for his cantata for soloists, chorus and orchestra, composed to celebrate the 73rd birthday of Haydn. At the age of 17 F.X.Mozart left Vienna and took up a post as private music tutor with Count Victor Baworoski in Galicia which at that time belonged to Austria. Over the years the changed posts on several occasions, finally becoming private tutor to the daughter Julie in the house of Baroni-Cavalcabò and stayed in Lemberg to the year 1819. In the meantime, amongst others, his piano concerto in C major op. 14 and the two sonatas for piano and violin op. 7 and op. 15 had appeared. The sonata op. 15 with its comparatively easy part for piano leads one to assume that it was also written for teaching purposes. It is dedicated to his pupil Henriette Baworowski. Before setting out on his grand artistic tour in 1819 which took him to Russia, Poland, Prussia, Demnark, Germany, Upper Italy and Switzerland he composed his second piano concerto in E-flat major which he performed in Lemberg with great acclaim on the occasion of his farewell concert and which he continued to perform during his long tour. The "Grand Sonata pour Piano et Violoncello ou Violon Obligé, E majeur" printed in Leipzig by Peters in 1820 also stems from this period. It is dedicated to Josephine de Baroni-Cavalcabò, his longtime patroness and later executrix of his inheritance. The title of his work "Grand Sonata" clearly indicates that the image of his father as an ideal figure, a prominent feature up to this point, is no longer of primary importance. Beethoven's influence is clearly distinguishable. The cantabile and virtuoso playing of the two principal instruments is characteristic. It is clear that the piano part was written by the composer, an acknowledged brilliant pianist, for his own use. Unusual modulations, rich chromatics and melodies as already apparent in the violin sonata op. 15 are constant reminders of Schubert. In July 1821 - after the conclusion of his grand concert tour - F.X.Mozart arrived again in Vienna. There he stayed for over a year, without finding a permanent post and therefore returned to Lemberg. There he founded the Cecilian Choir, worked at the theater and gave piano lessons. In 1838 he finally returned to Vienna. Highly acclaimed concerts regularly took place at his home. On the occasion of the unveilling of the Mozart monument in Salzburg in 1842 he performed his father's piano concerto in d minor for the first festival concert. It was his last public appearance. Mentally and physically exhausted he attempted a cure in Karlsbad in the winter 1843/44 where, however, he died on 29th of July 1844.

Records by this composer at DIVOX