The other day, I was sitting on the deck in the glorious sunshine and decided to listen to some classical music.
Normally, I would opt for Zac Brown Band, the Eagles or Fleetwood Mac, but for some reason the moment called for classical.
Listening to one of my favorites, Mozart, took me back to times when classical music played a role in my life.
As a child, I listened to a variety of classical tunes since my parents had a good collection of albums and it was fun to put them on the record player and hum along to music that had no words (or if it did — think opera — I couldn’t understand it).
In both high school and college, I listened to classical music when I studied. Somebody had told me I would do better in school if I tuned in.
The music relaxed me, even if I had a lot of homework or tests coming up. Mozart was one of my favorites.
When our children were babies and toddlers, I used to almost always have classical music on in the background.
I wish I could say it kept everybody calm and warded off temper tantrums, but that wouldn’t be accurate. I do think it helped me get through those crazy days though.
When I plugged Mozart’s name into a search engine, I thought it humorous that Wolfgang Puck’s name came up first. That tells us something about the culture, huh?
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 in Salzburg, Austria. I found it interesting Mozart’s father, Leopold, was an accomplished composer, violinist and assistant concert master at the Salzburg Court.
Leopold began tutoring Mozart and his older sister, Maria Anna, nicknamed Nannerl. Mozart watched his sister on the keyboard beginning when he was just 3.
His father soon realized that, while both of his children showed talent, young Mozart was gifted. By the time he was 5, he was composing. He also played the clarinet and violin and at age 6.
Mozart and his sister began performing publicly at the courts of Paris, London, the Hague and Zurich.
It is important to note during this time period, the aristocracy was in charge, and there were numerous small, semi-self governing municipalities in and around Austria.
Those in charge were rivals, competing for identities and notoriety. To do so, they would commission various musicians and artists for entertainment as well as amusement.
Leopold continued traveling with his child prodigies until Nannerl reached “marrying” age and her musical career ended.
Imagine how many female musicians there would have been were it not for those type of societal rules. Mozart continued performing and, of course, composing.
He felt somewhat stymied in Salzburg and preferred living in Vienna, where he met and fell in love with Constanze Weber. His father didn’t want his son to marry, fearing it would interfere with his career.
Love won out and Mozart married Constanze in 1782. The couple went on the have six children, only two of whom survived infancy.
Mozart enjoyed much success and the couple lived in an exclusive apartment building, had servants, sent their children to private schools and enjoyed busy social lives.
Because of their extravagant ways, Mozart experienced financial problems several times during his career. Nevertheless, his musical genius continued throughout his life.
When he died in 1791, he was considered the greatest composer of all time.
Mozart died young, at age 35. While there has been speculation about him being poisoned by a fellow rival, most historians say there hasn’t been any strong evidence to support that.
Mozart composed more than 600 works — including sonatas, symphonies, masses, concertos and operas.
For those who think they don’t like classical music, give Mozart a listen. If anybody can change people’s minds, Mozart is the one to do it.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.