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Salzburg fetes Mozart's 250th

January 28, 2006|From Reuters

People toasted Mozart with Champagne on Friday and sang "Happy Birthday" outside the house where he was born 250 years ago in Salzburg, Austria.

"You feel Mozart in every street here," Salzburg resident Christine Mandl said, as she stood with thousands of others to listen to church bells mark the hour when he was born, 8 p.m. on Jan. 27, 1756.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart stunned the courts of Europe with his brilliance as a child pianist and went on to compose more than 600 works, many of them masterpieces, even though he was just 35 when he died.

Salzburg, which practically lives off the tourism for Mozart and his music, led music lovers around the world in marking the anniversary. Souvenirs spilled out of shops onto the cobbled streets, Mozart banners fluttered in the breeze and shopkeepers sold everything from Mozart liqueurs to thimbles featuring his portrait as the town geared up for a year of special events.

Visitors were treated to an all-Mozart gala concert that featured top names from the classical music world, including the Vienna Philharmonic under Riccardo Muti.

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