Larger than life
Not only the most revered composer of all time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the prototype musical genius who died far too young and became a legend in the aftermath. Showing no signs of fading more than two centuries since his death, the Mozart legend is celebrated in the third and final coin in the Austrian Mint’s Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart series.
As in the case of some of the latter-day rock stars who died tragically young, the Mozart legend is not only a product of his undoubted creative genius, but also of his larger-than-life personality. Mozart’s phenomenal work ethic, extravagant lifestyle and flamboyant nature have been dramatized on numerous occasions; most famously in the play Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, which was later made into a hugely successful movie by Miloš Forman, winning eight Oscars. Mozart died at the tender age of 35 in December 1791, just weeks after the premiere of his best-loved opera The Magic Flute, which was a popular triumph. The coin’s reverse shows a scene from the opera, while a profile portrait of a pensive Mozart graces the obverse. Painted by his brother-in-law Joseph Lange, the portrait gives the impression that Mozart is eavesdropping on his inner music. The word ‘Mozart’ lies beneath the portrait so that, when placed alongside the other two coins in the series, the three coins together spell the composer’s full name.