Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

War wreaks havoc on the arts in Vienna, and no one seems to suffer more than Mozart. With bread riots in the streets, no one pays to see concerts or commission new works. In fact, Mozart "ghost writes" new arias for composers lucky enough to have fled Vienna during the war. But Mozart's fortune is about to finally turn around.

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Mozart often struggled with the tension between what he could write (such as the incredibly complex final movement of his "Jupiter" Symphony) and the lighter fare the Viennese wanted to hear.  His friend and librettist Emanual Schikaneder must have known this. When he approached Mozart about writing an opera around the story "The Magic Flute," he urged Mozart to write tunes that "a cabbie could hum." It worked. The successful marriage of high art with catchy tunes only makes us wonder what Mozart would have written if he had lived longer.

This is the fifth of five episodes on Mozart, kicking off our new podcast The Great Composers. The series, hosted by Karla Walker and Scott O'Neil, offers an intimate look at some of history's greatest musical minds. Subscribe so you don't miss an episode, including our upcoming series on Sergei Rachmaninov. 

Check out a timeline of key events in Mozart's life, and hear the music featured in this series in our Spotify playlist below.

Timeline: Key Moments in Mozart's Life

Learn more about pivotal points in this great composer's career:

Featured Music From 'The Great Composers: Mozart'

Check out this Spotify playlist and explore nearly eight hours of music heard in this series.

Explore other podcasts from CPR Classical:  Centennial Sounds, featuring Colorado performances of music by 21st-century composers; and The Beethoven 9 @ 9, a look at Beethoven's life through his nine symphonies.