Leopold Mozart (1719-1787), born in November exactly 300 years ago, was the father of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).

Known for his strictness, Leopold was deeply committed to the education of his son who came to fame as a child prodigy, and took his boy on concert tours from his early childhood.

Leopold was apparently also something of a control freak.

"He was an ambitious intellectual who excelled as a composer and wrote symphonies that were quite modern in his day," says Keiichi Kubota, 64, a professor of musicology at the Kunitachi College of Music and the author of "Motsuaruto-ke no Kyaria Kyoiku" (The Mozart family's career education).

On the other hand, according to Kubota, Leopold was stubborn and obsessed with his status as the family patriarch, and placed unrealistically high expectations on Wolfgang.

He was wont to tell the boy, "Your extraordinary talent is a gift loaned to you by God."

Noticing how his son was able to memorize a long piece of music after listening to it only once and also improvise melodies easily, Leopold ignored his job as a deputy court concert master in Salzburg and did everything he could to ensure the boy would eventually become a concert master at some high-profile court.

But even though Wolfgang's skills as a performer were evident, they failed to land him a permanent position in the court music circles.

The disappointed father kept sending scathing letters to his son, chiding him for being "too lazy" and "too vain."

In response, the son begged his father's forgiveness and understanding, and pleaded for "independence."

But despite Leopold's numerous letters of intense "coaching," Wolfgang's job search remained extremely tough, and he married without Leopold's blessing.

I cannot even begin to imagine the father's disappointment.

When the son finally snagged the post of a court composer in late 1787, it was six months after the father's death.

Leopold was an aggressive and fully committed promoter of his talented son, but he totally miscalculated the timing of letting Wolfgang become his own person.

In any era, it is never easy to maintain a desirable distance between parent and child.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 27

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.