Episode 1 Miracle of Nature-In this first programme Charles Hazlewood challenges the accepted belief that Mozart was born a geniusand thus became almost an immortal being. How could Mozart have touched our universal pulse without drawing from the turmoil of every day life himself? And who witnessed this turmoil first hand? The story begins with the composer’s father Leopold with whom Mozart conducted a passionate and tortured correspondence. It is Leopold who knows Mozart’s secrets. And there is another voice that of the music itself. Music is the key to unlocking the emotions of Mozart, starting in this film with the great piano works. Without this key, how can we ever understand the emotions that gave birth to some of the most beautiful sounds the world has ever heard?
Episode 2 A Passion for the Stage – Charles Hazlewood examines three of Mozart’s greatest operas, and shows how The Magic Flute. Idomeneo, and The Marriage of Figaro revolutionised the musical theatre. The first great phase of Mozart’s brief life was that of the traveling child prodigy gifted as a performer and writer of music who grew into the genius who, working within the restrictions of his time, began to rewrite the musical rules. But there was another facet to Mozart the adult thinker aware of the bigger picture, passionately attached to the progressive values of the Enlightenment impressively well read, a speaker of most European languages (even a little English), an Austrian Catholic, a Freemason and above all a composer at the height of his formidable powers, determined to succeed in the most difficult and lucrative area of all – Opera.
Episode 3 The First Romantic – The third and final film in the series examines how, towards the end of his life, Mozart mastered the language of instrumental and orchestral writing and how both love and loss provoked in him an extraordinary burst of creativity. This was essentially crystallised in three ambitious works that changed the future course of music his last, great trilogy of symphonies – numbers 39, 40 and 41 – which he wrote in six short weeks.