Schubert’s Deutsche Chronik gives the following account about Mozart when he was only 19.
“In Munich during last winter, I was fortunate to hear two of the foremost keyboard players, Herr Mozart and Captain von Beecke. Herr Albert, our host, has a fine fortepiano in his house and it was there that I heard these two heroes in contest at the keyboard Whereas Mozart’s playing had considerable substance to it, and he could read at sight everything put in front of him, Beecke surpassed him by far [in the] grace and melting sweetness of his playing.”
As an emotional pianist, the ability to play any piece of music on sight seems amazing to me – especially at the age of 19! Mozart held his own against a 42 year old champion – someone over twice his age. Impressive.
Mozart’s young age gave him much room to grow, and he went on to be the master of the piano we know today.
While researching for the documentary, Mozart Decoded, I was constantly running into little pieces of information like that above that astounded me. What a talent!