Mozart, His Character, His Work

Mozart, His Character, His Work

Mozart, His Character, His Work

Mozart, His Character, His Work

Excerpt

SÖREN KIERKEGAARD wrote concerning Don Juan: 'What I can offer has a meaning only for those who have heard, and who keep on hearing. To such I may be able to give a suggestion here and there for renewed hearing.' The present volume is not an introduction to Mozart's life and music. It addresses itself to readers who already know and love at least some of his works.

Over a long period I have occupied myself with Mozart intensively, most recently in the work, lasting many years, on the Third Edition (1937) of Köchel's Chronological-Thematic Catalogue—the book that has given Mozart's works the numbers by which they are customarily identified. In the course of this work I had to investigate not only the externals of every Mozart manuscript and edition, but also the bearing and style of every work. It was inevitable that in doing this I should arrive at new results, and it is perhaps understandable that in the end I have felt impelled to present these results not only in the dry form of a catalogue, but also in a more connected and more personal one.

I have made no effort to retell in all its details the story of Mozart's life, for which new sources of information have flowed but sparsely in the last few decades. What I have sought to do is to draw as sharply defined a picture as I could of his character and of the personalities and events that exercised a decisive influence upon it. The works that are mentioned are not described, but characterized from the point of view of their time and—so far as possible—of our relation to them. This seems to me the only possible approach to the task of portraying a great musician.

From the large field of Mozart literature, I am deeply indebted to many works, both to those with which I agree and to those with which I do not. I should like to acknowledge a special debt to three fairly recent works. Most of all I owe to the four volumes of Théodore de Wyzewa and Georges de Saint-Foix, Wolfgang Amédée Mozart (Paris . . .

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