Tag Archives: Mozart

Pick of the Week: 1 April

Hull is getting naked 

This is no April fool. The people of Hull are invited to get naked for a work of art as part of  preparations as it becomes the UK City of Culture 2017.

Who you gonna call? An opera singer! Wait, what?

You can now book your own home opera therapy session – simply call the hotline and shortly an opera singer will arrive to serenade you in the comfort of your living room.

They’re making Guitar Hero for conducting

Dig out your baton and brush off your tails, Conductrix is a video game like Guitar Hero – but instead of playing a plastic guitar hooked up to a games console you’ll conduct a virtual orchestra, using gestures to control the tempo, dynamics and articulation.

And finally: it’s hard enough to sing – but this guy can WHISTLE Mozart’s Queen of the Night aria!


Leopold and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Our next Crash Bang Wallop! concert on 12 December features music written by two famous Mozarts – Wolfgang Amadeus and his father Leopold. Here’s a quick guide to this fantastic father and son!


Leopold Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart2

You can listen to more of the music we’ll be performing in the concert here.

Crash Bang Wallop! Let it Snow
Saturday 12 December 2015, 11am
Pre-concert activities from 10am
Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, SW1X 9DJ
Adults £10, Children £8, Family £30 (for 4 tickets)
Box Office cadoganhall.com / 020 7730 4500

Crash Bang Wallop! Let it Snow

Our popular family concert series, Crash Bang Wallop! returns with a seasonal special on 12 December. Join our wonderful Orchestra and animateur Claire as they work together to bring snowy weather to Cadogan Hall with lots of festive favourites and sing-a-long carols. 

Take a look at our playlist which features music from the concert, including music for a sleigh ride from father and son, Leopold and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart…


Crash Bang Wallop! Let it Snow
Saturday 12 December 2015, 11am
Pre-concert activities from 10am
Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, SW1X 9DJ
Adults £10, Children £8, Family £30 (for 4 tickets)
Box Office cadoganhall.com / 020 7730 4500

CLS Earworms

Here in the CLS office, there is always at least one person humming or singing a musical phrase on an endless loop, whether it’s the office phone ring tone (we’ve recently changed it one called ‘jazzy night’ and it’s lethal…) or a piece we performed in a recent project / concert.

In this blog post we’ve collected some of these brain-melting melodies that go round and round our minds on a daily basis… You may need this ‘cure for earworms’ after you’ve finished reading!

Continue reading CLS Earworms

Blue Plaque tour of Georgian London

The buildings marked with a blue plaque in London commemorate the places some of the most important figures in history have lived and worked. Founded in 1866, the English heritage scheme is apparently the oldest of its kind in the world. Before our upcoming concert on 16 June at Shoreditch Church, we took a blue plaque tour of Georgian London to see where the composers whose music we perform next month worked and took residence when they visited this fantastic city.

Continue reading Blue Plaque tour of Georgian London

Composer journeys: Georgian London

Emigration has been a constant theme for musicians throughout history, with composers moving between countries and continents for a wide range of reasons. In our current concert series, we explore the journeys émigré composers have made through their musical output, whose sounds and atmospheres often reflect and have become associated with their life travels. As part of our blog series, Composer Journeys, we’ve been mapping out the journeys these émigré composers have made.

For our final concert of the series on Tuesday 16 June 2015, we explore the music of the many composers who fled to Georgian London for fame and fortune.  Continue reading Composer journeys: Georgian London

Seasons Greetings!

We’d like to wish all our supporters and audiences a very Happy Christmas and look forward to seeing you at the Natural / Supernatural festival in 2014. Please note the office will close on Monday 23 December and will reopen on Thursday 2 Blog cardJanuary 2014.

Card design by Steph Ramplin stephramplin.blogspot.co.uk

Composer Focus: Mozart

As we approach our annual performance of Mozart’s Requiem with Polyphony, we couldn’t resist doing a post about this beloved composer.  Composing from the age of five, and already engaged as a court musician in Salzburg by the time he was 17, Mozart was the epitome of the child prodigy. His death was famously untimely, and historians, musicologists and conspiracy theorists alike have all enjoyed speculating over its exact cause, with the most salacious (and, therefore, persistent) rumour that Mozart was poisoned by fellow composer, Salieri, popularised by Peter Schaffer’s 1979 play, Amadeus.

Name: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozartmozart photos

Born: 27 January 1756. Died: 5 December 1791 (aged 35)

Nationality: Austrian

Background: The son of Leopold Mozart, a minor composer and an experienced teacher, Wolfgang was the youngest of seven children, five of whom died in infancy. He watched his older sister, Maria Anna (nicknamed Nannerl) begin clavier lessons when she was seven and he was three. Having watched Wolfgang’s delight at picking out thirds on the keyboard, Leopold started to teach his son a few minuets, only to soon find that he could play them faultlessly. Wolfgang married Constanze Weber in 1782, having been rejected by her older sister, Aloysia. He was also a member of the Masonic order, and scholars such as Katherine Thompson have explored the influences of this association in his work. Examples include the dotted figure, below, which appears in the overture of The Magic Flute and allegedly symbolises the Masonic initiation ceremony, in which the candidate knocks three times at the door to ask for admittance.

masonic mozart

Breakthrough: As children, both Mozart and Nannerl performed with their family as prodigies, travelling extensively throughout Europe. Mozart heard Allegri’s Miserere performed twice in Rome, and wrote it out by ear, thus producing the first unauthorised copy of the piece, which was jealously guarded by the Vatican. After returning with his father from Italy on 13 March 1773, Mozart was employed as a court musician by the ruler of Salzburg, Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo.  During this time, Mozart acquired a number of admirers and began to compose extensively across genres, including symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, masses, and operas. However, dissatisfied with the lack of opportunity to compose opera, and the low pay of 150 florins a year, Mozart left his position, eventually settling in Vienna.

Requiem: Mozart’s unfinished Requiem was completed by Franz Xaver Süssmayr and was commissioned anonymously by Count Franz von Walsegg to commemorate his wife’s death. It is believed that Walsegg intended to pass the work off as his own, as he has been known to do. The flurry of myths about Mozart’s death, and his “instructions” on how to complete his Requiem, arguably stem from the actions of his wife, Constanze, who tried to attach as much Mozart-authenticity to the finished Requiem as possible.

Not enough Mozart for you?

Check out the trailer for Amadeus, the 1984 period drama based on the play by Schaffer. We can’t guarantee historical accuracy, but it’s a great film that was nominated for eight Academy Awards.

Visit our November 2012 blog posts for our Mozart Diaries series, and check out our website for a playlist featuring the Requiem, along with other pieces to be performed next Wednesday!

Our Mozart Requiem with Polyphony will be performed at St John Smith’s Square on Wednesday 13 November at 7.30. More information about the concert, and how to book tickets, is available on our website.

The Score: Steve Stirling

Ever wondered what our players listen to in their spare time? Whether they prefer Bach or Berlioz? Which instruments they admire? What makes their mouth water?!

Find out more about our principal horn Steve Stirling favourites in our quick fire round…

Utterly impossible to answer!! I could not do without Schubert, Brahms, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart or Dvorak. But I am playing Mahler right now and the last movement of Das Lied von der Erde is as good as anything written by anyone on my list. Then there is Ligeti, and Kurtag. Oh… Berg is indispensible and Puccini!

Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro

Instrument (other than your own!)
Has to be the voice

Concert Venue
The Cologne Philharmonic concert hall is is the most inclusive concert hall in the world, a vast sea of audience in a modern amphitheatre. And they serve you a kölsch beer as you walk off the platform!

Linzer Torte

Image: James Berry

Mozart Diary: December 1791/Conclusion

 Our concluding post documents Mozart’s final days. And speaking of final days, if you haven’t already booked your tickets for our performance of Mozart’s Requiem this Wednesday 14 November then, like our friend Mozart, you are running out of time! Scroll down for details of how to book…

I don’t think I can last for much longer and I am told I have only a matter of weeks to live. The swelling in my hands and feet has resulted in an almost total inability to move and it is a struggle for me to put pen to paper. My sleep is interrupted by intense bouts of nausea and my family have traveled to be at my side.

I already have the taste of death on my tongue. How bitterly I regret leaving my wife and children without being properly provided for. Why do I have to go now? Now, when I am no longer a slave to fashion or a slave to speculators and when I can compose freely whatever my heart dictates. I have so much music left to compose and so many ideas still to realise.

Mozart died on 5 December 1791 at the age of 35. He was buried the next day at a ceremony attended by his family friends in a pauper’s grave, due to his family’s volatile financial situation, and even today it has proved impossible to establish Mozart’s final resting place with any degree of certainty.

Despite his early death, Mozart’s composition continued to be celebrated in concert halls and performances across the world and he has long been hailed as one of the greatest classical composers ever to have lived. Naturally, the sudden death of one our best-loved composers has exercised minds and pens for nearly two centuries. Although there is no way of knowing the whole truth, historians have managed to clear up some of the stranger parts of the story…

So what really happened?

There have been many theories to explain Mozart’s death with Schaffer’s play, Amadeus, going as far to suggest that Mozart was poisoned by rival composer Salieri! Below we explain two of the popular Requiem mysteries:

The Grey Messenger
It has been widely suggested that this messenger was a servant of Count Franz von Walsegg. The Count’s wife had died earlier that year and he commissioned the Requiem in her memory. Count Walsegg also fancied himself as a musician and had the unfortunate habit of passing other composer’s work off as his own! This is probably why the Requiem was commissioned anonymously – the Count didn’t want Mozart to know he was stealing his ideas…

Rumors of poisoning
Despite showing symptoms of poisoning (swelling limbs, accelerated fever etc.), modern historians tend to agree that Mozart died of natural causes, probably due to rheumatic fever. Over the past centuries, poison suspects have included the Freemasons, the husband of Mozart’s alleged mistress and poor old Salieri… Mozart’s assumption that he had been poisoned could be down to the fact that he was ill and perhaps a little delirious; his quirky and melodramatic personality has been well documented.

There is no evidence or suspicion of foul play in any of the documents that were recorded at Mozart’s death. Just goes to show… everyone loves a juicy rumor!

We hope you have enjoyed our four installments of the Mozart Diaries and if you’ve missed anything, please feel free to go back and have a read.

Mozart Requiem
Wednesday 14 November, 7.30pm
St John’s Smith Square

Tickets from £15
Box Office: 020 7222 1061 /sjss.org.uk