For Mozart, improvising was the most natural way of making music.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Salzburg, 27 January 1756 - Vienna, 5 December 1791) spent much of his youth touring Europe with his family.
He would often give performances with his sister Nannerl for the royal crowd.
When Wolfgang was just eight years old, the family visited London for the ﬁrst time.
There, Wolfgang met Johann Sebastian Bach youngest son, Johann Christian Bach, the man pictured below, who was then a gifted and famous musician in his late twenties.
“John Bach” (he lived in England for the ﬁnal two decades of his life) was born when his father was ﬁfty years old.
He sometimes referred to his father as “the old wig.”
By all accounts, Wolfang Amadeus and Johann Christian were equally delighted to ﬁnd an equal to play with.
And play they did!
At one event attended by the King and Queen of England, Mozart sat between Bach’s knees at the keyboard, and they improvised a piece in which they would take turns playing, much like the game in which a story is told by each person making up a sentence in turn.
The piece went on for over two hours!
An observer wrote: “…each led the other into very abstruse harmonies and extraneous modulations, in which the child beat the man!”