Mozart began his career as a child prodigy, playing keyboard instruments at age three, and composing minuets at five. He was able to absorb a score, or create a new one, in remarkably little time. Lara Downes.
Mozart played several instruments, but he loved the piano – which was an new instrument that changed quite a bit during his life. Mozart’s style of writing – natural, assured, transparent, and luminous -- is unmistakable.
There’s a lot of joy in Mozart’s music, but there’s a lot of sadness, too. He lived with a lot of pressure. As a child prodigy, he was expected to do amazing things on stage. As an adult, he didn’t get some jobs as a composer that he wanted. He had serious money problems. And his health gave out, and he died, at age 35, when he was at the height of his powers as a composer. People have been looking for connections between his life and the sadness in his music ever since.
Pianist Lara Downes will play Mozart, including the sonata you’ve been hearing, and discuss his life, on Sunday at the Mondavi Center. There are two performances, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. It’s the first installment of the Sacramento Mozart Festival, which will feature ten programs between now and June.