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Classical 101

Classical Haiku: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

O child of brilliance, your very inspiration blows out your bright flame. When in conversations with the parents of one's children's friends the subject of child prodigies comes up, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's name is usually only a few beats away. It stands to reason: he may well have been the most phenomenal musical child prodigy the world has ever known. His brilliance in creating musical works of profound emotional depth, all the while unwittingly defining the style of an entire era of musical art, is unparalleled in classical music. Leopold, Mozart "senior," was right to trot little Wolfgang and his tiny violin about Europe. Burying a talent like Mozart in the backwoods of Bohemia would have been an enormous insult to art. And whatever pseudo-Freudian pop psychology we've stuck to Leopold's relationship with his son, it seems pretty clear that Leopold knew Wolfgang was a special case. And as a special case he treated him. But my guess is, generation gap not withstanding, Leopold Mozart could never quite grasp what seem to be the extremes of his son's character: utter musical refinement and a goofball personality. Was Leopold Mozart, himself a musician, jealous of his son's gift? Probably, at least now and then. Did he, at the same time, fear Wolfgang would waste his talent on all manner of carousing? Almost certainly. Did Leopold despair that the younger Mozart would never grow up? Sigh. We lost our man-boy Wolfgang too young, but only after a brief lifetime of totally inspired creativity, through the fruits of which he lives on. Maybe the gods realized what an unfair gift Mozart's brilliance was to his competitors and just snuffed it out after an all-too-short yet glorious season. Today's Classical Haiku honors Mozart, a child of brilliance inspired beyond belief.