Wolfgang Amadè Mozart: Essays on His Life and His Music

Wolfgang Amadè Mozart: Essays on His Life and His Music

Wolfgang Amadè Mozart: Essays on His Life and His Music

Wolfgang Amadè Mozart: Essays on His Life and His Music

Synopsis

This volume is a collection based on the Royal Musical Association's Mozart Conference of 1991, the principal scholarly event in the English-speaking world in commemoration of the bicentenary. It includes essays placing Mozart in the context, in Salzburg and Vienna, in which he worked, explaining aspects of his life and work hitherto obscure; essays interpreting his instrumental music; and a substantial series of studies on different aspects of his operas, from Lucio Silla to La clemenza di Tito, with particular stress on the creative processes in the Da Ponte operas.

Excerpt

Shortly after Mozart's death, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe observed that there was in Mozart 'a latent, provocative force, continuously effective from generation to generation, and not likely soon to be exhausted'. That force seemed as strong as ever in 1991 as, the world over, Mozart celebrations multiplied, on a scale unimaginable in the past. I am old enough to be able to remember 1956, when we celebrated the bicentenary of his birth. (I am in fact old enough to recall, too, being taken to a Mozart concert--the last three symphonies--on the 150th anniversary of his death in the dark wartime days of 1941; but hope I am young enough to have a sporting chance of observing the celebrations due in 2006 too.)

1956: it is sobering to realize that, since then, we have lived through Mozart's entire lifespan. In that year, the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe was just getting under way, appallingly handicapped as it was through the apparent loss during the last world war of a large and important portion of his manuscript legacy (the rediscovery of which, in Kraków, has of course had critical effects on the edition's authority). Broadly, there was still widespread acceptance of the datings of Mozart's works, although built on the sandy soil of subjective stylistic judgment, in Einstein's 1947 revision of the Köchel catalogue.

Not many people, I believe, suspected the revelations that Mozart scholarship of the ensuing decades would offer. The combination of Wolfgang Plath Schriftchronologie--his painstaking analysis of the details of Mozart's (and his father's) handwriting--and Alan Tyson's paper studies has overturned many theories and assumptions; and the very fact that the two methods have on almost every occasion borne each other out strongly implies that each of them is actually more precise than its protagonist could dare claim. We now know, for example, that the 'first' horn concerto is actually the last horn concerto; that when Mozart said that his 'Haydn' string quartets took much labour and a long time to compose, he was not merely indulging in dedicatory hyperbole; that the last piano concerto was begun, probably, three years before it was finished; that he almost certainly composed three piano sonatas around the time of his 1783 summer visit to Salzburg, and one more just after (might those three, K.330/300h, 331/300i and 332/300k, have been composed, I wonder, for the famous blind pianist Maria Theresia von Paradis, who visited Salzburg while he was there?); and that, during his late years, Mozart grew interested in composing for the church. I choose these particular points quite arbitrarily, but each of them has implications beyond itself, about the man, the patterns of his life and his ways of thinking.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.