Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
(Serenade No. 13 for strings in G Major)
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
composed in 1787
Composed four years-ish after Rondo alla Turca, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is arguably the more popular song. On Last FM, the former had 1034 plays last week and the later had 998- pretty close tally.
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|
I would bet that almost half the people on the planet would recognize the opening refrain from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, even if they have no idea it's Mozart. The composition date deserves a major caveat, because Eine Kleine Nachtmusik was not published until 1827- long after his death. According to Wikipedia- for once actually citing an actual source- Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is THE most popular of all Mozart's works.
Because of the delay between composition and publication, the initial reception of the work didn't happen until the 19th century. If you look at a Google Ngram comparing the popularity/frequency of the title of this song with the popularity/frequency of Mozart himself, you see Eine Kleine Nachtmusik was basically at zero until the 1920s, and saw a peak of interest between 1940 and 1960. This becomes even clearer if you shorten the time frame to exclude everything after 1920. The take off of the song appears to go hand in hand with the take off of the Artist- which seems to be related to the invention of recorded media.
I would hypothesize that Mozart got a huge boost in the early 20th century from the introduction and adoption of Record players, allowing a larger Audience to hear his "hits."