The Etude
Name the Composer . Etude Magazine Covers . Etude Magazine Ads & Images . Selected Etude Magazine Stories . About

Musical Genius in Youth

It was Vincenzo Bellini who once said, "Genius seems indeed to have smiled upon great musicians in their youth," and according to the biographers of the famous composers he was right. The great maestros, with rare exceptions, have shown their marvelous talents for music early in life. Mozart at six years of age composed a minuet, at ten worked on a chanson, and at twelve astonished the world by the production of two or three beautiful sonatas.
Liszt at nine years of age played his own compositions before the Queen of Bavaria, and when but twelve years old conducted the imperial orchestra at Presburg, exciting universal astonishment.
Verdi was scarcely past twelve years of age when he was organist in the village church where he lived, and when fourteen was offered the leadership of a public band at Sorrento.
Donizetti when at school, a mere child, composed sacred waltzes and won for himself the title of "the boy composer." He tells us himself how he loved music above everything else as child, and how his father threatened to send him to work at a cobbler's if he neglected his school work for his music. At fifteen Donizetti had composed much of the music for an opera he was in later years to produce. When twenty he had written the airs for Lucia di Lammermoor,  and a year later gave to the world his beautiful Fille du Regiment.
Weber wrote much in his youth, but being of a very timid, bashful and retiring nature, he did not let the manuscripts pass out of his possession for some years after. The story is told that when he was fourteen years of age he wrote a little opera and hid the manuscript. A friend found it and took it to the choir master of the village in which the Weber family resided. The man was charmed with the music to the opera and wanted to know at once who was the composer, and when, after much difficulty, he succeeded in finding out, he sent for young Weber's father and told him what wonderful possibilities lay in his boy, the result was that Carl Weber was sent to Munich to study music.
Gounod was not quite nine years old when he wrote a waltz and several petits chansons. At twelve he composed a little opera, and before another year had passed won fame for himself by his wonderful talent for music.
Chopin, always sad and dreamy, when a child composed a nocturne and was scarcely fifteen years of age when his first works, preludes, polonaises, mazurkas and waltzes were already attracting much attention in the musical world.
In youth Chopin showed poetic fancies, which he loved to associate with his earlier musical creations, and his biographers tell us he got the title of "moonlight composer," as much on account of his fondness for composing seated at the piano, near the window, with no other light in the room than that cast by the soft rays of the moon, as on account of the peculiar dreamy, mysterious sadness of many of his nocturnes. Chopin wrote much in his earlier years, and his most beautiful valses, those abounding in ornamentation and graceful elegance, were all composed when he was still a youth.
Verdi was a prolific writer when a youth; he wrote, in fact, so much that he tells us he found it often difficult to find a name for every one of his compositions. It is said of the great Italian musician that the inspiration that gave birth to his Ernani and Traviata came to him in his youth, and his Il Trovatore, too, it is said, was "running through his head" when he was a boy organist at Padua.

<< Italy's Musical Influence on Other Nations     Helping the Shy Pupil >>

Monthly Archives


The Publisher of The Etude Will Supply Anything In Music