Music: An Art and a Language

By Walter Raymond Spalding | Go to book overview

remaining movements of the Symphony require little comment; being readily accessible they are not given in the Supplement. The second movement, a set of stereotyped variations, contains the explosive chord which gave to the work its descriptive title. Needless to say that this chord does not "surprise" our modern ears to any great extent. The Minuet is one of Haydn's best -- full of queer antics in rhythm and modulation. The Finale (Allegro di molto), in the Rondo Sonata form, is the acme of Haydn's vivacity and is a "tour de force" of brilliant writing for the strings. In many passages they seem fairly to burn.

Haydn's position in the development of music is of the first importance. Whatever his works may "mean," they contain a rhythmic vitality which will keep them alive for ever, and their "child-like cheerfulness and drollery" will charm away care and sorrow as long as the world shall last.


CHAPTER X
MOZART. THE PERFECTION OF CLASSIC STRUCTURE AND STYLE

ALTHOUGH Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus1. ( 1756-1791), was, in regard to art problems, no more of a broad thinker than Haydn ( Mozart and Schubert being pre-eminently men whose whole nature centered in music), yet on hearing his works we are aware that aspects of form and content have certainly changed for the better. In the first place he was more highly gifted than Haydn; he had from his infancy the advantage of a broad cosmopolitan experience, and he was dimly conscious of the expanding possibilities of musical expression. It is a perfectly fair distinction to consider Haydn an able, even brilliant prose-writer, and Mozart a poet. Haydn we can account for, but Mozart is the genius "born, not made" -- defying classification -- and his inspired works seem to fall straight from the blue of Heaven. Whereas Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert were all of very lowly

____________________
Amadeus (the beloved of God)

-108-

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