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Thread: Did Mozart Really Master the Music of Bach ?

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    Default Did Mozart Really Master the Music of Bach ?

    The excellent (and honest) Mozart researcher Dennis Pajot of MOZARTFORUM has written an article there that speaks of 3 part fugues based on music by JS Bach which have often been attributed to Mozart. Giving credit where it is due he writes -


    In the Köchel Catalogue listed under K404a are six 3-part Fugues arranged for String Trio. To the J.S. Bach (and one W.F.Bach) Fugues are prefixed four anonymous Adagios attributed to Mozart and two slow movements from Bach organ Sonatas:

    Nr.1 Anon.Adagio Fugue= WTC I, Nr.8 D# minor (transposed to d-minor).

    Nr.2 Anon.Adagio Fugue= WTC II, Nr.12 in F#major (transposed to F)

    Nr.3 Anon.Adagio Fugue =WTC II Nr.14 in F# minor (transposed to g minor).

    Nr.4 JS Bach Adagio (BWV527) Fugue from Art of Fugue Contrapunctus 8

    Nr.5 JS Bach Largo and Fugue from Organ Sonata BWV 526

    Nr.6 Anon.Adagio Fugue=WF Bach Fugue in f-minor (Falk No.31/8)

    Mozart's authorship of these Fugue arrangements and of the 4 anonymous Adagios was first suggested HYPOTHETICALLY by Wilhelm Rust in 1860, based on Mozart's letters about the "Bach-a-thons" at van Swieten's and the precedent of K405. It must be remembered these arrangements are all anonymous, copied in the 19th Century and do not even mention Mozart's name. Also, K405 was arranged by Mozart for String Quartet and DID NOT have Adagio preludes.

    In 1903 Ernst Lewicki attempted to describe the special character of these pieces and remarked it would be advantageous to publish the pieces even though Mozart's authorship could not be proven. Alfred Einstein in 1936 followed with his special line of reasoning to attribute these pieces to Mozart. To Einstein the only other composer besides Mozart who could have written these pieces was Johann Georg Albrechtsberger. However "As able and estimable Albrechtsberger was, a glance at the prelude (quoted in the article) is sufficient to show that no other master than Mozart could have written it". Einstein placed the arrangements in K3 as K404a. The pieces were published by Johann Nepomuk David in 1938 as Mozart's work.


    Those interested in the full article can read it on Mozart Forum.

    And so, once again, works attributed to Mozart are, at the very least, of dubious Mozartean origin.

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    Senior Member Handel's Avatar
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    Can't really say it for Bach, but I know he integrated a few Handel's stylistic traits in his music (in the Requiem for example).
    "Handel understands effect better than any of us -- when he chooses, he strikes like a thunderbolt... though he often saunters, in the manner of his time, this is always something there."

    Mozart

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    Yes, the Requiem does contain some Handelian traits.

    There is also (attributed to him) several arrangements including 'Messiah' and even 'Judas Maccabeus'.

    Regards

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    Quote Originally Posted by robert newman View Post
    Yes, the Requiem does contain some Handelian traits.

    There is also (attributed to him) several arrangements including 'Messiah' and even 'Judas Maccabeus'.

    Regards
    Not sure about Judas Maccabeus. But for sure, he arranged the Messiah, Acis and Galatea, Ode for St. Cecilia's Day and Alexander's Feast.
    "Handel understands effect better than any of us -- when he chooses, he strikes like a thunderbolt... though he often saunters, in the manner of his time, this is always something there."

    Mozart

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    Yes, Handel, Mozart is traditionally credited with arranging various oratorios of Handel. I won't go in to detail in any of these but, in fact, there are major questions on even this assumption.

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    This is an interesting topic that brings us full circle to Mozart's tuition. Elsewhere, robert newman states that Mozart lacked the thorough musical education that other composers had and therefore his master was either hidden or he couldn't have written what he is said to have written.

    That said, I think if Mozart actually did "master" Bach's fugal writing through vigorous study, this could at least make up in part for his lack of prolonged study with a master teacher. To what degree Mozart did or did not master Bach's work I cannot say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Handel View Post
    Not sure about Judas Maccabeus. But for sure, he arranged the Messiah, Acis and Galatea, Ode for St. Cecilia's Day and Alexander's Feast.
    Fairly recently was discovered a score that appears to be Mozart's version of Judas Maccabaeus, but the value of these arrangements I am not so sure. Do Mozart fans get anything out of these? Handel fans would correctly say that Handel's originals are much the better, in fact better that anything Mozart composed generally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Corkin View Post
    Handel fans would correctly say that Handel's originals are much the better, in fact better that anything Mozart composed generally.
    Actually, it's a bit a hit and miss. There are some good arrangements and some bad in a sole work.

    Welcome to TC!
    "Handel understands effect better than any of us -- when he chooses, he strikes like a thunderbolt... though he often saunters, in the manner of his time, this is always something there."

    Mozart

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    Anyone care to comment on Mozart's version of Handel's Messiah?
    The only instrument I play is the radio.....and then I just get static!

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    Is that version of Handel's 'Messiah' really by Mozart ? There are reasons to believe it is not.

    But, since this arrangement is widely accepted as being Mozartean perhaps you can tell us on what grounds it is attributed to him ?
    Last edited by robert newman; Jun-16-2007 at 19:10.

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    In psychiatry, monomania (from Greek monos, one, and mania, mania) is a type of paranoia in which the patient has only one idea or type of ideas. Emotional monomania is that in which the patient is obsessed with only one emotion or several related to it; intellectual monomania is that which is related to only one kind of delirious idea or ideas.

    In colloquial terms, the term monomania is often attached to subcultures that to the general public appear esoteric. However, the differences between monomania and passion can be very subtle and difficult to recognize.

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    This thread began with evidence that arrangements said to be by Mozart (of Bach preludes and fugues) are not, in fact, versions by Mozart.

    And, since ordinary readers will be more interested here in historical/.musical facts than Purple Wasp's babblings of pseudo-science (known to him as 'psychiatry' - a science which is unique in having no real history at all) I might add the following -

    1. Having just seen that 'Mozart's' Bach arrangements were not, in fact, by Mozart (but were made by others of the van Sweiten circle in Vienna and much later wrongly attributed to Mozart ) it is surely fair, reasonable and right that we should not automatically attribute the arrangement of the Handel oratorio 'Messiah' to W.A. Mozart without readers at least being aware of the various arguments against such a thing. If Purple Wasp's psychology does not allow him to know the facts then let him remain ignorant in musical facts and full of his psychological delusions. Better still, let him find a psychological forum.

    2. There is another Handel oratorio arrangement that has recently been attributed by some Mozart enthusiasts to W.A.Mozart - I am refering to the version of the Handel 'Judas Maccabeus' - copy found at Halifax Library in England only in recent years. But the evidence AGAINST that being a Mozart arrangement is now strong. Please psychologise this fact also, Purple Wasp !

    3. Prior to the time when Mozart supposedly made the arrangement of Handel's 'Messiah' the man in charge of musical arrangements at the Vienna meetings of Baron van Sweiten was NOT your hero W.A. Mozart but the composer and arranger Joseph Starzer.

    And what has Starzer to do with Handel oratorios ? Well, here is an excerpt from a discussion on 'Judas Maccabeus' which is easily found online at Mozart Forum. Notice what it says of Starzer -

    'Sonnleithner reported other views from Vienna. Court Capellmeister Eybler stated the full score in the Royal Kaiser archive was "owed to Starzer". Abt. Stadler and Mosel commented "to their knowledge only Starzer had instrumented Handel's Judas Maccabeus". In addition many musical people (including Aloys Fuch) assured him there was no Mozart arrangement. Weigl related to Sonnleithner that Mozart (as well as Joseph Starzer) had participated in these concerts, but Mozart never arranged Judas Maccabeus. Weigl stated the Tonkünster-Widow Society only performed the piece in Starzer's arrangement which was "rather good and effective". He stated his copy was that of Starzer's. Weigl concluded "I can with complete conviction declare that a Mozart arrangement or instrumentation of Judas Maccabeus never had existed".

    Thus, dear psychologist, the man in charge of musical arrangements at the circle of musicians in Vienna under Baron van Swieten during the time that Mozart was there and up until the time of his death in 1787 was, Starzer, HE HIMSELF ALREADY ACKNOWLEDGED TO BE AN ARRANGER OF HANDEL ORATORIOS.

    Furthermore, (as if this is not a relevant fact) there is lots of evidence of Handel 'Messiah' arrangements being made BEFORE that which is today attributed to Mozart. That of Hiller is one example. There are many others. There are even performances of arrangements of parts of Handel's 'Messiah' documented years BEFORE Mozart supposedly arranged the piece. And we even have Italian language texts by Salieri. We have performances of Messiah in Italy before the supposed 'Mozart' arrangement. And we have the plain fact that Mozart could easily have consulted the players in making 'his' arrangement - if he ever made one.

    You do yourself some service, Purple Wasp, to practice your psychology on psychological forums.

    I could add a great deal more on this subject. Sufficient to say there are real questions about 'Mozart's' arrangements of Handel oratorios - which was the point I made at the beginning.
    Last edited by robert newman; Jun-16-2007 at 21:15.

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    Quote Originally Posted by z9kd3d9 View Post
    Anyone care to comment on Mozart's version of Handel's Messiah?
    I suggest it serves no useful purpose, musical or otherwise, whoever arranged it.

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    We must screw down our chairs or they too will be attributed to W.A. Mozart

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    Quote Originally Posted by robert newman View Post
    We must screw down our chairs or they too will be attributed to W.A. Mozart
    Well now, Robert, some of Mozart's ancestors were carpenters, were they not? Therefore, it's not unreasonable to assume that he also cultivated some interest for that particular art, and perhaps he is responsible (secretly, of course) for pioneering models in chair design now used across the world. Perhaps we should indeed attribute our chairs to W.A. Mozart!

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