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The Mozart Trivia Contest
250 Years of Mozart
Previous questions and answers
The Mozart Trivia Contest is closed
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Mozart Trivia Contest! The questions and answers are listed here for reference.

The winner was Alan Ducommun of Saint Paul Minnesota. He is the recipient of a trip to Salzburg and Prague courtesy of Vanguard Travel Unlimited.



Question for January 1, 2006

Mozart was born in the year:
A. 1756
B. 1776
C. 1832
D. 1659
Answer: A. 1756

OK, that should have been an easy one, given that this year we're celebrating Mozart's 250th birthday.

But rest assured that future questions will call on your musical, and not mathematical knowledge. Will we see you again for tomorrow's question?



Question for January 2, 2006

Mozart was born in the city of:
A. Salzburg
B. Carbondale
C. Vienna
D. Linz
Answer: A. Salzburg

In Mozart’s day, Salzburg was famous for its cathedral, its university, and the salt deposits which give it its name. Today, it’s famous for its music festival, its Sound of Music connection, and of course its best-known native son.



Question for January 3, 2006

By profession, Mozart's father was:
A. A bookbinder
B. Also a musician
C. A cheesemonger
D. A cat's-meat-man
Answer: B. Also a musician

Leopold Mozart was a musician employed by the archbishop of Salzburg. Some of Leopold's compositions are occasionally played today, but his real importance in music history, apart from being Wolfgang's father, is as a violinist and a writer on violin technique. His Violin School is an important text on musicmaking in the mid-18th century; today a violin competition bearing his name is held in his birthplace of Augsburg, Germany.



Question for January 4, 2006

Mozart demonstrated amazing musical talents from an early age. When Leopold became aware of his son's gifts, he:
A. Resolved to give him as normal a childhood as possible
B. Presented him at concert appearances throughout Europe
C. Forbade him to perform publicly till he was 12
D. Discouraged him from becoming a musician
Answer: B. Presented him at concert appearances throughout Europe

The Mozart family's tours took them through Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and England, and made the young Mozart into a European celebrity.



Question for January 5, 2006

Along with Wolfgang, Leopold also took his daughter on tour, and the two young siblings performed jointly. What was the name of Wolfgang's sister?
A. Nannerl
B. Constanze
C. Pamina
D. Fanny
Answer: A. Nannerl

Wolfgang's sister, Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia, is better known by her childhood nickname of Nannerl.



Question for January 6, 2006

There’s at least one musician whose name is an intentional homage to Mozart. Is it:
A. E. T. A. Hoffmann (Ernst Theodor Amadeus)
B. Erich Wolfgang Korngold
C. Wolfgang Van Halen
D. All of the above
Answer: D. All of the above

E. T. A. Hoffmann (Ernst Theodor Amadeus), Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and Wolfgang Van Halen! Hoffmann changed his name himself, and Julius Korngold and rocker Eddie Van Halen both named their sons in honor of Mozart.



Question for January 7, 2006

Mozart's first composition, an Andante for keyboard (K. 1a) was written down by Leopold when Wolfgang was just five. Works that Mozart wrote in his teens, such as the violin concertos and the anthem “Exsultate, jubilate” (K. 165) are regularly performed today. In the K. numbers that identify Mozart's works, what does the K. stand for?
A. Kirkpatrick
B. Katalog
C. Köchel
D. Kaiserliche Hochschule für Musik
Answer: C. Köchel

K is for Köchel , as in Ludwig von Köchel (1800-77), the music scholar who produced the first scholarly catalog of the works of Mozart. If you're a classical music aficionado, you'll be accustomed to seeing not only Köchel numbers for Mozart, but Deutsch numbers for Schubert, Hoboken numbers for Haydn, and quite a few others.



Question for January 8, 2006

In his teens, Mozart, like his father, was an employee of the archbishop of Salzburg, a nobleman who also governed the city. Mozart worked steadily at composing music for church and civic use, but wanted more independence and freedom to travel and earn money elsewhere. Relations between Mozart and his employer deteriorated, and came to a decisive break when:
A. Mozart was sentenced to spend time in jail
B. The Archbishop threw the score of his latest piece into the fireplace
C. Mozart published a letter openly insulting the Archbishop
D. The Archbishop's secretary gave Mozart a kick in the behind
Answer: D. The Archbishop's secretary gave Mozart a kick in the behind

Relations between Mozart and his employer deteriorated, and came to a decisive break when the Archbishop's secretary gave Mozart a kick in the behind.



Question for January 9, 2006

In 1781, Mozart composed his first opera that holds a steady place in today's operatic repertoire, named for its central character, Idomeneo. By rank, Idomeneo is:
A. A count
B. A duke
C. A king
D. An emperor
Answer: C. A king

The full title of the opera is Idomeneo, King of Crete (Idomeneo, re di Creta).



Question for January 10, 2006

In 1781, Mozart left Salzburg for the city where he would spend the remaining years of his life. What city?
A. Prague
B. Vienna
C. Paris
D. Venice
Answer: B. Vienna

Vienna, which was also the home of Haydn, and, a few decades later, Beethoven and Schubert. At the time, Vienna had about 200,000 residents – smaller than Saint Paul today.



Question for January 11, 2006

During the years that Mozart lived in Vienna, he would write most of the music for which he's remembered: operas, symphonies, and concertos. For what instrument did Mozart write the most concertos?
A. Violin
B. Clarinet
C. Piano
D. Bassoon
Answer: C. Piano

Mozart wrote over 20 piano concertos – 27, according to the standard numbering. By contrast, there are five violin concertos, and one each for clarinet and bassoon.



Question for January 12, 2006

Mozart got married in the later part of 1782. His wife's name was:
A. Fanny
B. Constanze
C. Cosima
D. Angela
Answer: B. Constanze

Mozart's wife was born Constanze Weber (she was a cousin of the composer Carl Maria von Weber).

Constanze has tended to get harsh treatment from Mozart's biographers. Only in recent years has a revisionist view appeared, in which Constanze is not as superficial, frivolous, impractical, etc., etc., etc., as she has often been portrayed.



Question for January 13, 2006

One of the greatest successes in Mozart's career came in 1782, with his opera The Abduction from the Seraglio. What exactly is a seraglio?
A. A brothel
B. A convent
C. A dungeon
D. A harem
Answer: D. A harem

Despite what one is led to think by viewing Amadeus, a seraglio is a harem.



Question for January 14, 2006

In the midst of the many encomiums to "the divine Mozart," there have also been a few dissenters. What American composer had this to say about Mozart? "I number myself among the more critical of Mozart admirers, for I distinguish in my mind between the merely workaday beautiful and the uniquely beautiful among his works."
A. George Gershwin
B. Leonard Bernstein
C. Aaron Copland
D. John Adams
Answer: C. Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland said, "I number myself among the more critical of Mozart admirers, for I distinguish in my mind between the merely workaday beautiful and the uniquely beautiful among his works." But it would be unfair to put Copland down as a mere Mozart-basher; he goes on to say, "Mozart tapped once again the source from which all music flows, expressing himself with a spontaneity and refinement and breath-taking rightness that has never since been duplicated."



Question for January 15, 2006

In 1786, Mozart completed an opera which was successful in Vienna, but caused a sensation in Prague. Mozart himself wrote: "Here they talk about nothing but _____. Nothing is played, sung, or whistled but _____. No opera is drawing like _____. Nothing, nothing but _____." Fill in the blanks and name this opera.
A. The Marriage of Figaro
B. Don Giovanni
C. The Magic Flute
D. Thamos, King of Egypt
Answer: A. The Marriage of Figaro

In 1786, Mozart completed an opera which was successful in Vienna, but caused a sensation in Prague. Mozart himself wrote: "Here they talk about nothing but The Marriage of Figaro. Nothing is played, sung, or whistled but The Marriage of Figaro. No opera is drawing like The Marriage of Figaro. Nothing, nothing but The Marriage of Figaro."



Question for January 16, 2006

The character Figaro appears in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, but also in another standard repertory opera. Which one?
A. Der Rosenkavalier
B. The Barber of Seville
C. The Elixir of Love
D. La Gioconda
Answer: B. The Barber of Seville

Figaro is the title character of Rossini's Barber of Seville. They’re both based on plays by the French writer Beaumarchais.

It's very common for modern classical music to allude to works of earlier periods, and several composers have written their own Figaro operas: John Corigliano with his phantasmagorical Ghosts of Versailles, Peter Schickele with the P. D. Q. Bach spoof The Abduction of Figaro, and Giselher Klebe with Figaro Gets a Divorce.



Question for January 17, 2006

Thanks to the success of Figaro in Prague, Mozart premiered his next opera, Don Giovanni, in that city. The theater in which Don Giovanni was first performed:
A. Burned to the ground a week after the premiere
B. Was destroyed in the Allied bombing raid of Jan. 17, 1943
C. Still functions as an opera house today
D. Now forms part of the Czech National Library
Answer: C. Still functions as an opera house today

The Estates Theater is still standing and functions as an opera house. Not surprisingly, Don Giovanni often appears on the bill.



Question for January 18, 2006

A famous recording of the aria "Il mio tesoro" from Don Giovanni was made by this singer:
A. John McCormack
B. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
C. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
D. Maria Callas
Answer: A. John McCormack

If you only think of John McCormack as an Irish tenor purveying sentimental ballads, you will be in for a pleasant surprise: his recording of Mozart is a model of vocal technique.



Question for January 19, 2006

In 1788 Mozart wrote the last symphonies that he was to compose. His final symphony is often known by what nickname?
A. The "Jupiter" Symphony
B. The "Prague" Symphony
C. The "Vienna" Symphony
D. The "Pastoral" Symphony
Answer: A. The "Jupiter" Symphony

It's known as the "Jupiter" Symphony, possibly because mythological nicknames were in vogue: there's a "Mercury" Symphony by Haydn and a "Diana" Symphony by one Vaclav Pichl.



Question for January 20, 2006

Mozart wrote his horn concertos for a friend of his named Ignaz Leutgeb. In addition to being a musician, Leutgeb also earned his living as:
A. A paperhanger
B. A cheesemonger
C. A publisher
D. An attorney
Answer: B. A cheesemonger

Ignaz Leutgeb was perhaps history's most famous cheesemonger. Judging by the ebullient concertos Mozart wrote for him, he must have been quite a musician as well.



Question for January 21, 2006

In 1790, Mozart created his last opera with a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, Cosi fan tutte. The most accurate translation of the title Cosi fan tutte is:
A. Women Are All Like That
B. Everything Is Crazy
C. The Hopeless Cause
D. Everyone Is Like That
Answer: A. Women Are All Like That

Women Are All Like That. Its title may be politically incorrect, though a good case can be made for reading it in an ironic sense: in the opera, both men and women are mocked equally.



Question for January 22, 2006

The librettist of The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, and Don Giovanni was an Italian-born man of letters named Lorenzo da Ponte. Da Ponte outlived Mozart by many years, and ended his life in a city far from Vienna. Which city?
A. St. Petersburg
B. Constantinople
C. Havana
D. New York
Answer: D. New York

In 1805 da Ponte moved to New York, eventually becoming an American citizen and serving on the faculty of what is now Columbia University. A 2005 opera by Minnesota composer Albert Biales imagines Mozart and da Ponte reuniting in the New World. Its title: Mozart in Manhattan. (See the MPR feature: "Mozart in Manhattan")



Question for January 23, 2006

Some time in the late 19th century, the first "Mozart-Kugel" was produced. A Mozart-Kugel is:
A. A bronze medallion with a portrait of Mozart, awarded to distinguished musicians
B. A catalog of Mozart's works
C. A musical toy for children
D. A type of candy
Answer: D. A type of candy

It's a bonbon. (Kugel means ball or sphere.)



Question for January 24, 2006

While in Vienna Mozart produced a revised orchestration of a famous sacred work by an earlier composer. What work?
A. Handel's Messiah
B. Bach's St. Matthew Passion
C. Palestrina's Pope Marcellus Mass
D. Mendelssohn's St. Paul
Answer: A. Handel's Messiah

At the request of a Viennese nobleman who had an interest in "older" music, Mozart produced and conducted versions of Messiah and three other Handel works. Mozart's Messiah has been performed and recorded, both with the German text Mozart used and retrofitted with the original English words.



Question for January 25, 2006

In the late 1780s, Mozart found himself in financial straits, and had to borrow money from a friend of his named Puchberg. Puchberg and Mozart both belonged to this organization:
A. Rosicrucians
B. Masons
C. Vienna Concentus Musicus
D. Elks
Answer: B. Masons

Mozart joined the Masons in 1784. A few of his pieces are explicitly composed for use in Masonic ceremonies, and The Magic Flute seems to allude to Masonic practices.



Question for January 26, 2006

In the opera The Magic Flute, the character Papageno is:
A. A birdcatcher
B. A prince
C. An evil magician
D. A cheesemonger
Answer: A. A birdcatcher

"Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja, Stets lustig, heissa hopsasa!" --Papageno, in The Magic Flute, Act I

("I'm the birdcatcher, always jolly, tra la la!")



Question for January 27, 2006

In 1975 an internationally famed director made a movie version of The Magic Flute. What director?
A. Quentin Tarantino
B. Akira Kurosawa
C. Ingmar Bergman
D. Robert Altman
Answer: C. Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman made the internationally successful version of The Magic Flute, using a cast of Swedish singers, included the young Håkan Hagegård. As this quiz goes to press, a new film version of The Magic Flute is in the works, to be directed by Kenneth Branagh.



Question for January 28, 2006

One of Mozart's piano sonatas concludes with a "Turkish rondo." What jazzman paid homage to Mozart in the title of his "Blue Rondo a la Turk"
A. Bix Beiderbecke
B. Duke Ellington
C. Count Basie
D. Dave Brubeck
Answer: D. Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck, whose "Blue Rondo" may owe a little more to true Turkish music than Mozart's did.



Question for January 29, 2006

For many people, the prime source of biographical information about Mozart is the film Amadeus, in which Mozart's last years and death are seen through the eyes of a composer named Antonio Salieri. In Amadeus, author Peter Shaffer cleverly blends history, legend, and original material of his own invention. As for Salieri, he is:
A. A fictional character created by Shaffer
B. A historical figure, but he never knew Mozart
C. A historical figure who did know Mozart
D. A fictional character whom Shaffer found in the writings of Alexander Pushkin
Answer: C. A historical figure who did know Mozart

Mozart and Antonio Salieri were acquaintances, though much of what is attributed to him in Amadeus is Peter Schaffer's creation.



Question for January 30, 2006

Mozart died in December of 1791. At the time of his death he was working on a composition which remained unfinished. What was it?
A. Requiem
B. Clarinet concerto
C. Eine kleine Nachtmusik
D. Turandot
Answer: A. Requiem

Mozart left his final work, his Requiem, unfinished. A student of Mozart's, Franz Sässmayr, completed the work, and it's this version that is most often heard today.



Question for January 31, 2006

There have been many stories and legends about Mozart’s last days, death, and burial.  Which of these statements about Mozart’s burial is true?
A. He was buried secretly
B. He was buried in a communal grave
C. He was cremated, unusual for that time
D. All of the above
Answer: B. He was buried in a communal grave

Legends about a midnight burial, attended by only the gravedigger, or about Mozart's "pauper"s burial, are just that. Official records make it clear that Mozart (uncremated) was given the most inexpensive burial, in a communal grave, like most Viennese citizens of the day.



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