Mozart and the Wonder Boys


“A cat walked in while he was playing for me, and the boy jumped up from the harpsichord. It wasn't easy to persuade him to sit back down."

Daines Barrington

* Letter dated 1727 November 28, written by the famous English lawyer Daines Barrington, born in 1769, to the Dutch-born Doctor Matthew Maty.

If I send you information about a small child who is only eight years old and has witnesses, it would be considered an understatement of the Royal Society. Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart was born on 17 January 1756 in Saltzbourg/Bavaria. When I was just four years old, I was informed by a proven musician and composer who saw him often in Vienna. He not only successfully performed his lessons on his favorite instrument, the harpsichord, but also composed a few works in an easy style.

The boy's extraordinary talent was also heard by the queen, who made him sit on his knees while playing the harpsichord. Wanting to encourage the little boy who was about to play at a German Palace the following year, the Prince told Mozart that he should not be afraid of his own existence, the boy sat confidently at the harpsichord and, turning to her majesty, said that he had also played in the presence of the "Queen". The boy, who was taken to Paris at the age of seven by his father, attracted such attention with his compositions that an engraving was made. The father and older sister in the engraving are exactly likened. The date next to the artist's signature is 1764, that is, the child is eight years old.

An eight-year-old child reads five measures at the same time, and in four of these measures, the same note is on different lines!

Daines Barrington

After leaving Paris, Mozart went to England, where he stayed for a year. During this time, I had the opportunity to personally witness his talent. I spent a lot of time with him at his father's house. Let me share an amazing anecdote!

One day I went to visit, I took with me a duet from the opera Demofonte with lyrics by Metastasio. The note consisted of five parts; first and second violin accompaniment, two vocal parts and bass. I should point out here that the two vocal parts mentioned were written in the contralto key. Of course, the reason why I took this duet, which was impossible for him to have seen before, was to test his skills. As soon as the notes were placed in front of him, he began to play masterfully. When the symphonic part was finished, he gave the accompaniment part to his father and took the vocal part and sang it with surprising mastery.

His father, who was trying to accompany him, made two mistakes and tried to catch him. It was worth seeing the effort of the boy, who looked with anger at his father, who hesitated during these mistakes, to correct him. Not only did he sing the vocal part successfully, he also played the two violins perfectly. Can you visualize it? An eight-year-old child reads five measures at the same time, and in four of these measures, the same note is on different lines!

After he finished playing and singing, he came up to me and asked if I had brought another piece like this. As I was informed by his father, the boy often produced new ideas and compositions. So he was working at the harpsichord in the middle of the night.

I said I would be happy to listen to one of these works, but his father nodded and said that it would be for Mozart to decide. Knowing that the famous singer Manzoli (castrato), who came to England in 1764, knew little Mozart, I asked him to play an improvised love song in the style his friend might choose for an opera.

Turning his back and giving a shrewd glance as he tried to settle into his harpsichord, Mozart wasted no time playing. He finished with a two-part symphonic performance in the equivalent length of opera songs. Although this improvisation was not at a surprising level, it was a well above average performance. Since I saw that the boy was in the mood, I asked him to improvise on the theme of anger, this time as appropriate in the opera scenes. After looking behind him with the same cunning look, he started playing. He finished it in the same time as the improvisation on the theme of love.

He went up to such high curtains that he battered his harpsichord as if beating someone with a demon inside him, sometimes jumping up from his chair. He then played a difficult piece that he had completed a few days ago. He composed six sonatas for violin or harpsichord accompanied by Alma Flute when he was eight years old. The date it was dedicated to the Queen is London, 8 January 1765.

Considering that her little fingers are enough for the Do-Sol range, her execution was great. He doesn't owe this astonishingly prepared and equipped state to practice alone. Has basic composition knowledge. He can write bass immediately under everything he produces on his left key. These are melodies that sound very pleasant to the ear.

He is a master of modulation. His transition from one tonality to another is unbelievably natural. He worked hard on this subject with the keys of the keyboard covered. I have witnessed with my own eyes everything I have stated here. I have to admit, it's not that I didn't think the father was hiding the boy's true age. For example, while he was playing for me, a cat walked in and the boy jumped out of the harpsichord. It wasn't easy to persuade him to sit back down. When he wasn't playing, he took a stick between his legs and played as if he was riding a horse. Many London musicians who think like me consider it unlikely that he would have advanced to such a degree in music science during his innocent childhood. After my investigations, with the help of Count Haslang, I got the birth registration and it seems that Mozart's father was telling the truth about his child's age.

In June 1765, when he was in England, the boy was eight years old. One of those who did not believe in this extraordinary talent like me was the Prince of Saltzbourg. The Prince, who did not believe that a child of his age could compose such compositions, detained the child for a week so that he could not see anyone. He left a harpsichord and blank sheet music in his room. Mozart, who composed a wonderful oratorio in this short time, won the admiration of the nobles and proved the rumors wrong.

After these events that proved Mozart's genius, I don't think it would be wrong to compare him with other child geniuses.

One of the most privileged among them is John Barratier, who was able to understand Latin at the age of four, Hebrew at the age of six, and three other languages ​​at the age of nine. This genius translated Rabbi Benjamin's travelogue at the age of eleven. Unfortunately, this genius died before he was twenty years old.

Mr. Manwaring, whom we know with his publication 'Memoir of Handel', provides us with very enlightening and comparable information on this subject.

Handel started playing the harpsichord at the age of seven, composed music for the church when he was nine, and the Almeria Opera at the age of fourteen. Just like Mozart, Handel used to try any musical ideas that came to his mind on a grass ball mounted right next to his bed. Between these two geniuses, the scales weigh heavily on Mozart. As I mentioned, Mozart was only able to compose at the age of four. His improvised compositions, on the other hand, indicate a great talent, as I have witnessed.

“Young Miss Frederica, at the age of six, could perfectly perform the work of Scarlatti and Paradies”

Dr. Charles Burney

* Born in 1726, music historian and composer Dr. Excerpts from Charles Burney's twenty-five page letter to the anatomist and medical doctor William Hunter, born in 1718.

Generally speaking, a child must be between the ages of five and six to benefit from musical education, but some may have the ability to perceive and imitate melodies at an earlier age.

Born in Norwich on 5 July 1775, William Crotch was the son of a carpenter. Although he had no education, he had just started to play the tunes of works such as 'God Bless King George' and 'Easter Rite' with the organ made by his music-loving father. – Child talents like this are not uncommon.

Thirty years ago in London, I listened to the eight-year-old German boy Palschau. He masterfully played Bach's double fugues.

Young Miss Frederica, at the age of six, could perfectly perform the work of Scarlatti and Paradies. Mr. Westley's two sons have an extraordinary story. The older brother Charles, who was two and a half years old, could play the melodies he heard on the street or hummed by his mother on the harpsichord and with the right timing.

His younger brother, Samuel, grew up with his older brother's work on the harpsichord, and by the age of six he was able to improvise both in terms of modulation and originality.

The difference is pretty clear. The carpenter's son, Crotch, was uneducated and continued his musicality with the natural flow of his talent, while Mozart and Samuel Westley grew up with a musical pattern. Samuel's interest in music grew as he listened to his older brother's great performances. German boy (Mozart) guided his talent under the arms of his professor father and musician sister.

“All pursuits except music are his [Mozart] was dead to

Johann A. Schachtner

* Mozart's Childhood from the pen of the editor

From the marriage of father Leopold Mozart to Anna Maria Pertl (or Bertl) on 21 November 1747, seven children were born, two of whom survived; Their daughter Maria Anna ('Nannerl'), born 30 July 1751, and their son Wolfgang, born 27 January 1756.

Nannerl's musical talent and desire were not left unanswered by his father, Leopold, and he began to give piano lessons to his daughter.

Wolfgang, who is only 3 years old, was very impressed by these lessons, he took the keyboard whenever he had the opportunity to play the major/minor trios with success, and continued to play with great pleasure.

Wolfgang, who could remember the passages that his older sister and father emphasized and repeated, was able to play the minuets taught by his father at the age of 4 with the right tempo.

Wolfgang, who started to write his own pieces before he was 4 years old, enjoyed playing these pieces [K1] to his father.

Most anecdotes about Mozart's early skills appear on April 24, 1792, soon after the composer's death. Johann Andreas Schachtner (b. 1731) in a letter to his sister.

The letter first includes questions about Mozart's childhood and then Schachtner's anecdotes;

How would little Wolfgang spend his time outside of music?

This question has no answer. All pursuits except music were dead to him. Even a child's play would require musical accompaniment. He used to see me a lot during the day. He asks me if I love him ten times a day, even once to make a joke 'Hayir' If I said that, tears would flow from his eyes.

How did he act as a child when his musical talent was appreciated?

The truth is, he didn't experience pride or fear. He wanted the people he played with to be music lovers, otherwise he would have to be made to believe that they were.

Which branch was he most interested in and wanted to learn?

It was very easy to direct him in this kou. He left the choice to his father, whom he loved very much, and believed that he could not find a better teacher than his beloved father in the world regarding the discipline he would study.

He was so focused on learning the subject given to him that he even pushed aside the music he loved so much. If the collection was working, the table, chairs, walls, and even the floor would be filled with numbers written in chalk.

How would he tell the difference between good and evil, what were his teachings and character?

He had a fiery and quick-tempered nature. He would have been a rather violent criminal if he had not received such a good education from his father. He was interested in all events that were striking and attractive, but could not distinguish whether they would be good or bad. I can give an example of this.

We came home with your father when we were four or five years old, Wolfgang was writing something with a pen in his hand.

Father: What are you writing?
Wolfgang : A concerto, the first part is finished.
Father : Show
Wolfgang: It's not over yet
Father: Show it, I'm sure it's very interesting.

His father reached out and took the paper from his hand and showed it to me. There were drops of ink at the beginning of each note because he had inserted the pen too deep into the ink bottle. He tried to wipe all the drops with his hand to fix them.

At first we laughed a lot at the confusion and nonsense on the paper. Then his father studied the paper carefully, and I saw tears in his eyes. By showing meLook Mr. SchachtnerHow accurately the measures and time intervals are written, the only problem is that it is too complex to be stolen" said. Wolfgang turned to us and said:That's why it's a concerto. You have to work hard to play correctly. See it starts like this' he said, and went to the keyboard. He managed to play enough of the piece to express what he was trying to convey with his composition.

“Get up on a chair and Oragna fiagata fa You'd sing your song to me, and when it's done you'd go to bed kissing me on the tip of my nose."

Leopold M. / W. Mozart
February 12 1778

There is one more story. Maybe you remember, I had a very high quality violin that Wolfgang called the 'fat violin' because he liked its soft and full tone.

On one of the days I came to visit, Wolfgang was practicing with his violin. Remembering a previous visit, Wolfgang turned to me and said:Mr. Schachtner, the last time you played the oil violin, it was a quarter-tone lower than my violin, if you haven't tuned it in that time…"

While he was laughing out loud, your father, who knew your brother's absolute musical ear, asked me to check it out. At first I thought he was joking, but when I saw the curiosity on his face, I brought my violin; your brother was right!

Speaking of violin, I would like to share one last story.

Our palace violinist friend Wenzel Hebelt (b. 1736) brought his last composition, 6 violin trios, to get your father's opinion.

Your father offered to play the works, we started. Wenzl played the 1st violin, I the 2nd and your father played the bass with his viola.

During the performance, Wolfgang said he wanted to play the second violin, but your father turned down Wolfgang's request, who had never taken violin lessons. I told your father to try, because I wanted to see what could happen with my past experiences.

Wolfgang, who took the violin in his hand, made the right accompaniment by reading the notes to the bewilderment of all of us. He stole all 6 works for me! When our applause was over, we happily said yes to his brother, who said he could play the 1st violin. Despite all his wrong grips and positions, he managed to play without hesitation.


Abert, Hermann: WA Mozart, Translated by Stewart Spencer, Edited by Cliss Eisen, Yale University Press, 2007, 18-21.

Anderson, Elimy: The Letters of Mozart and His Family, 3rd Edition, WW Norton & Company, The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1985.

Account of a Very Remarkable Young Musician. In a Letter from the Honorable Daines Barrington, FRS to Mathew Maty, MD Sec. RS, Philosophical Transactions (1683-1775), Vol. 60 (1770), p. 54-64

Account of an Infant Musician. By Charles Bur-ney, Doctor of Music and FRS, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 69 (1779), p. 183- 206


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