What’s in a Name?

Mozart, one of the most famous composers in Classical Music, had an amazing name. His full name was:

Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Gottlieb Amadeus Mozart

Well, that’s one of his names. Having multiple or large names was the tradition back then, based on religious customs and language. Mozart was multilingual. He spoke German (his native), Italian, Latin, French and some English. Because of this, he was free to choose his name! He referred to himself as Wolfgango Amadeo while he was in Italy (around 1770), or as Wolfgang Amadè while he was in Paris or Versailles (around 1777). But here’s the interesting part: Three of his names mean almost exactly the same!

  • Theophilus means loved by God or friend of God (In Greek, philos means fondness or beloved, and theos means God)
  • Gottlieb means love of God (In German, Gott is God, liebe is love)
  • Amadeus again means love of God (In Latin, amor means love, deus means God)
Image

"Wolfie"

One of Mozart’s most famous works was The Marriage of Figaro. The overture is such fun to hear because of its sheer grandeur!

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