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"The silence between the notes is as important as the notes themselves." - Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed over 600 works during his ridiculously short 35-year life (1756-1791). While you will almost certainly be familiar with his work, you may not know why he is known as Wolfgang Amadeus, when the baptismal records show he was christened as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus!

This is why...

Joannes Chrysostomus is his saints name - given because he was born on January 27, which is the feast day of St John Chrysostom (a 4th century Archbishop of Constantinople).

Wolfgang was the name of Mozart's maternal grandfather. Like Chrysostom, it was adapted to Latin for the parish register.

Theophilus was the name of Mozart's godfather. It is Greek and translates either as "lover of God" or "loved by God". The equivalent in Latin is Amadeus, and in German Gottlieb. Mozart's father referred to his son as Gottlieb when writing to his publisher about Mozart's baptism; and there are many records of him being referred to by others as Wolfgang Gottlieb during his life, and by some early biographers after his death.

During his life his contemporaries appear to have referred to him as either "Wolfgang Amadeus" or "Wolfgang Gottlieb". Mozart himself was multilingual and used many variations on his name during his life, but his personal preference seems to be clear as Italian records from around 1770 indicate that he called himself "Wolfgango Amadeo"; and later in the 1770s, "Wolfgang Amadè". Perhaps most tellingly, on his wedding contract in 1782 he signed himself "Wolfgang Amadè Mozart".

It was after his death that the name "Wolfgang Amadeus" stuck. It was the name used to record his death in Vienna, and was also the name used by his widow in correspondence with the Emperor when petitioning for a pension. Some early biographers referred to him as "Wolfgang Gottlieb", but before long he had become firmly "Wolfgang Amadeus", despite the fact that during his life there is no record of him ever referring to himself as Amadeus, except in jest.

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