Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Musical composer, whose works are considered the pinnacle of the Classical era of music. Along with Johann Sebastian Bach, Beethoven, Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner, is probably one of the best known composers of classical music. Birth Name: Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart.
Born in 1756, Mozart's talent became evident at an early age, and he was on the road as a touring musician by the age of six. He spent time living and composing in various European cities, always seeking patronage but not always finding it, and generally spending more money than he actually had (which is saying something, because he actually made a fair amount). He died in 1791, survived by his wife Constanze and two children. Basically, anything Michael Jackson did, Mozart did first, up to and including the Adult Child bit.
Mozart's works are known for their perfection of form and clarity, although they could also be quite fiery and emotional at times. In the public mind, his Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is classical music, as measured in "number of people who have it as their ringtone." Allegedly, Mozart was once able to smuggle state secrets out of the Vatican, in the form of Gregorio Allegri's Miserere (Psalm 51) which, at the time, was by order of the Pope not performed anywhere except the Sistine Chapel. ...Until Mozart heard it, carried it out in his head, and transcribed it almost perfectly from memory. Finally, he is famed for his operas, including The Magic Flute, which is frequently referred to in other texts, including an inevitable parody on The Simpsons.
Mozart was very fond of Toilet Humor, and even wrote a canon titled "Leck mich im Arsch", which translates as "Lick me in the arse" (or, perhaps more idiomatically, "kiss my arse"). Supposedly, he was also still playing with toy soldiers well into his thirties (mind you, this was long before tabletop War Gaming was a thing) and he died at 35. During those years he composed well over six hundred separate pieces.
Mozart's last days were dramatised in the play and 1984 film Amadeus. It is worth noting, however, that due to a mix of Artistic License and Rule of Drama Amadeus is hardly an accurate portrayal of the composer's life. In particular, his "rivalry" with Salieri was really more of a respectful co-existence, and possibly an actual friendship. Adding to the mystique is the fact that Mozart was composing a Requiem (funeral mass) at the time of his death, with some legends claiming that he passed away while attempting to scribble down the 9th measure of the Lacrimosa. Constanze chose a student of his, Franz Xaver Sussmayr [sic], to step in and finish what Mozart started, and people are still arguing over how much of the work is Mozart's, Sussmayr's or a third party's, and whether Mozart would have agreed with the completed work. Some people have even provided their own completions. Sussmayr's is by far the most famous, though, due to the simple expedient of having got there first. (It's his version you've heard movements of in movies, as it provides much of the Ominous Latin Chanting in the Public Domain Soundtrack catalogue.)
- All Love Is Unrequited: to Marie Antoinette.
- Annoying Laugh: That hyena-like cackle that actor Tom Hulce adopted when portraying Mozart in the film Amadeus? Yeah, that was based on the composer's actual laugh. His friends stated the Mozart's laugh was like "grating a cobblestone down a piano's string".
- Awesome McCoolname: Wolfgang may sound pretty awesome to English speakers, but it's a quite common name among older Germans.
- Child Prodigy: Mozart is probably the most famous example. He started playing the piano at age 3, was composing by age 5, and wrote his first symphony at age 8.
- Clown Car Grave: Mozart was too poor to afford his own burial plot, so his body was dumped in a mass grave. Debate still rages as to whether this, that, or the other exhumed skull was Mozart's.
- Creepy Child: As a kid he was unusually small, thin, deathly pale, and behaved in a very serious and adult manner, intimidating many adults.
- I Have Many Names: Baptised Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgang Theophilus Mozart. Went by Wolfgang Amadè Mozart in France, Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart in Germany and Wolfgango Amadeo Mozart. He seemed to prefer Amadè, and "Amadeus" only became popular after his death. For details see The Other Wiki, which has an article only for his name.
- Insufferable Genius: Would often start conversations with himself as he believed he was more interesting than the people around him.
- Meaningful Name: Amadeus means "God's beloved". It is a Latinization of the Theophilus in his birth name. During his time, it was considered fashionable to use a Latin version of one's name. Mozart also used Gottlieb, a German version of the name, alluding to his German heritage.
- Odd Friendship: That the loud, brash, party-loving manchild Mozart would get along with a quiet nature-loving family man like Joseph Haydn seems fairly unlikely, but the two were friends and showed a great deal of admiration for the others' work.
- Overly Long Name: Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, repeated three times in this page. Let's deconstruct:
- Johannes Chrysostomus: from St. John Chrysostom. Mozart was born on his feast day, January 27. Back then it was custom to name newborns from the saint who celebrates a feast day on his date of birth.
- Wolfgang: named from his musician Grandpa, who isn't much of a genius like him, though.
- Theophilus: meaning "God's beloved." It is often Latinized into Amadeus and occasionally translated into the German Gottlieb.
- Mozart: Could be considered to mean "Dumb Muscle." An ancestor of Mozart was apparently an idiot and got nicknamed "Motz," meaning "fool" or "dirt for brains." Faced with inheriting an embarrassing surname, the fool's descendants classed it up by adding the suffix "-hart," which means "hard" or "tough." Hundreds of years worth of spelling variations resulted in "Mozart."
- Raised Catholic
- Settle for Sibling: He originally wanted to marry Aloysia Weber, but she declined. He married her sister Constanze, instead, and the marriage was apparently successful.
- Short-Lived, Big Impact: He died at just 35, yet produced much of the most highly-regarded classical music in history.
- Sophisticated As Hell: Envision an ensemble of dignified classical musicians (preferably in powdered wigs) singing the canon "Leck mich in Arsch" (K. 231), meaning roughly "Lick me in the ass," and meaning more or less "Kiss my ass." This was a quote made famous by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who attributed it to the German mercenary Götz von Berlichingen.
- Stage Dad: Leopold Mozart makes this trope Older Than Radio.
- Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: Possibly the first use of it, though his song, "Leck mich im arsch," lacks many properties of other buttocks songs.
- You Are Number Six: As most of Mozart's works lack a proper title (beyond "Sonata in B-flat major" or the like), a musicologist named Köchel went through and systematically assigned numbers to every single piece of music Mozart ever wrote, numbering them in roughly the order they were written. The Marriage of Figaro, for example, is K. 492. These Köchel numbers range from K. 1 all the way out to K. 626.
- In fairness, it's quite repetitive.
- The first "definitive" catalogue of Mozart's work, compiled by Ludwig von Kochel, put the exact number at 626. Since then, new works have been found while some works in Kochel's catalogue have been re-attributed to other composers. Moreover, as a non-negligible fraction of Mozart's work was lost before it could be published, the exact number will likely forever be a mystery.