Two hundred and fifty years ago today, a genius was born. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart possessed a remarkable native genius that was nurtured from a very early age by the music of his father. By the time he died, he had written over 600 compositions. He is a prime example of the productive power of genius.
Another creative genius, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, described Mozart’s productive genius as being reborn in each generation. This, according to Goethe, is precisely what makes Mozart’s genius–or any genius–productive. Another way to describe this phenomenon, from an LDS perspective, is that the Spirit works through the music of Mozart, and has a productive effect on the human spirit of those who listen to and perform Mozart’s music.
Some have described Mozart as crazy; I disagree with this assessment. He was a rare specimen of humanity, childlike in his naivity to his own temporal ruin, but fully dedicated to his work even though unable to make a sustainable living off of it. His life was full of glaring ironies that have only become more apparent in the last 250 years. In the end, Mozart’s work culminated an axial age of classical music that enriches all of us today and will continue to do so through the end of time.
Today in Salzburg all the church bells in the city will ring for seven minutes at the moment of his birth. I just in Salzburg in August, but wish that I could be there today for this celebration. We can all be grateful for the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
A view of the Salzburg fortress from the Salzburg ward house.