Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Born: 27 January 1756, Salzburg, Austria

Died: 5 December 1791, Vienna, Austria

Mozart was a wonderful musician; the symphonies, the piano concerti prove it amply.

I’m not convinced he was a great opera composer. His operas contain great music – but do vocal concert numbers really make a music drama? The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni are great; so too are many other works by equally worthy composers from the late eighteenth century. But Mozart overshadows them; how many admirers of Mozart have heard Gluck, Salieri, Sacchini, or Cherubini?

Mozart, too, is deified. Writings about him – even today – tend, as someone observed, to be less musical criticism than hagiography, theologians praising the miracles of their god.

“The most tremendous genius,” we are told, “raised Mozart above all masters, in all centuries and in all the arts. He was so far beyond anything on the human level that no parallel can be drawn.

“Mozart encompasses the entire domain of musical creation; Mozart tapped the source from which all music flows.

“Mozart is the musical Christ; Mozart makes you believe in God; Mozart is the god of music. Amen.”

I’m agnostic. Just because a view is widely held doesn’t make it true; just because a work is popular doesn’t make it good. Otherwise La Bohème would be the pinnacle of opera. Orthodoxy should always be challenged.


  1. Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots (1767)
  2. Apollo et Hyacinthus (1767)
  3. Bastien und Bastienne (1768)
  4. La finta semplice (1769)
  5. Mitridate, re di Ponto (1770)
  6. Ascanio in Alba (1771)
  7. Il sogno di Scipione (1772)
  8. Lucio Silla (1772)
  9. Thamos, König in Ägypten (1774)
  10. La finta giardiniera (1775)
  11. Il re pastore (1775)
  12. Zaïde (incomplete, 1779)
  13. Idomeneo, re di Creta (1781)
  14. Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782)
  15. L’oca del Cairo (incomplete, 1784)
  16. Lo sposo deluso (incomplete, 1784)
  17. Der Schauspieldirektor (1786)
  18. Le nozze di Figaro (1786)
  19. Don Giovanni (1787)
  20. Così fan tutte (1790)
  21. Der Stein der Weisen (pasticcio, 1790)
  22. La clemenza di Tito (1791)
  23. Die Zauberflöte (1791)