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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Trying to Grow UpThroughout history, child prodigies have been celebrated as objects of envy and adulation. Rarely, however, have they been understood. Often taunted by peers, hounded by the press, prodded by demanding parents and haunted by outsize expectations of greatness, they are treated as wondrous curiosities. But their stories are often a sad and captivating one, marked by early achievement and the promise of something greater. The letters exchanged between Mozart and his family reflect a wider story of how complications arise during a prodigy’s transition into adulthood with evidence of immense pressure from his father, immaturity, and the eventual need to lead a normal life.The result of Mozart’s discovered genius was not only the praise of hundreds across Europe during his childhood tour, but also the ever-watchful eye of Leopold Mozart, his ambitious and needy father. Because of Leopold’s need to protect and constantly supervise his prized instrument, Mozart, Leopold grew dependent on his son and never ceased to remind Mozart of it. Eventually, like most child prodigies, the greater the parent’s anxiety and the greater the pressure he puts on the child, the more internally resentful and conflicted the child becomes, stunting his transition into a grown man. In Leopold’s letter to his wife and Mozart on September 25, 1777 from Salzburg, Leopold reminds Mozart to “ask for letters of recommendation and especially for a letter from the Bishop of Chiemsee.” Leopold knows exactly how to reap profits and network through Mozart and doesn’t fail to capitalize on that fact, even when Leopold is in Salzburg while Mozart is miles away on tour in Europe. After the tragic death of Maria Anna, Leopold Mozart’s letter to his son on August 3, 1778 in Salzburg puts a large weight on Mozart, and even goes as far as to blame his son for Maria Anna’s death. Realizing Mozart is no longer under strict scrutiny of a family member in close proximity, Leopold goes on to say, “rest assured, my dearest son, that if you stay away, I shall die much sooner.” The situation Leopold presents his son is a complex one. Mozart is a young man seeking independence and fame now that his family is not following his every footstep, but his father has grown more dependent on Mozart than ever. Mozart is more internally conflicted between his ambitions and family obligations as ever, as he writes to his friend Abbe Bullinger on August 7, 1778: “You say that I should now think only of my father and that I should disclose all my thoughts to him with entire frankness and put my trust in him.

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