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Thread: The Controversy over the true musical achievements of Haydn and Mozart

  1. #91
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    Dear Lalla,

    Research, exploration, interpretation and all that, is very well in its way, but really a little commun sense is sometimes quite as becoming.

    Thanks for that. Yes, I agree. That the father of Mozart (Leopold) and his sister had a hand in many, many early works of Wolfgang is a fact so clearly established that nothing further needs to be said of it. Common sense (which you admire) suggests we can move on from such facts to find others. We find (as it happens) that Mozart, credited in Italy with writing from memory a sacred mass at Rome, actually did no such thing, and had access to the piece in Vienna long before he and his father set out for that city. We find, in fact, that Mozart's sister was as highly praised as Mozart himself for her keyboard skills and even for her ability as a composer while they were on their European tours. But if all of these things (and I could mention dozens of specific cases) do not persuade you that his reputation as a child and young man was hugely 'massaged' then, I confess, we have lost sight of the common sense which you floated in your last letter.

    We have many, many evidences from Vienna that the same W.A. Mozart was not the composer of an opera that he claimed to have written, that the musical community of Vienna all believed the same. And we have clear evidence from Mozart's last decade in Vienna of works being blatantly published in his name which he never actually wrote. A scale, in fact, which has hardly yet been appreciated.

    Well, you can believe as you please. The only question is whether you are using your critical reasoning in such a case if, as it happens, this fakery and downright deception can be shown at each and every stage of Mozart's career. Surely, surely, we arrive at absurdity if we do not conclude that there is a major problem here.

    Which composer do you know that has had more than twice the number of, say, symphonies than he has today ? And if you can agree with this ask the same question.

    I am convinced that common sense becomes rare whenever we come close to the phenomenon that is Mozart. The idea that this man emerged virtually without schooling is not simply false, it's downright harmful.

    But let's leave aside the question of Mozart's mature works (if you like). You can even ignore KV444 if you like - though you see what 'expertise' has done in that case.

    I again repeat that if you or any other person was to submit those questions on it to a Mozart Forum you could judge for yourself where common sense is and where it is not.

    I too love the music that is today attributed to Mozart. I always will. But common sense tells me that truth will prevail. That is good enough for me.

    Regards

  2. #92
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    KV 231 and KV 233. Wow ! Is there any competition on the authorship of these works ?
    They are typically, quintessentially, Mozart, are they not ? My vote's for him in both cases.

    Regards

  3. #93
    Newbies Lalla's Avatar
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    Well, I abandon. There is no dialogue, only stories stories stories. Gutter press, goodbye

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    Dialogue on such a serious issue is precisely what the 'Mozart establishment' does not want. Here on this thread you raised the question of two Mozart works, KV231 and KV233.

    If you wish to have dialogue perhaps you can read the thread and see who is calling for a fair and honest discussion of the available evidence (documentary, musical, historical and other sorts). Gutter press does none of these things.

    Regards

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    Actually, I raised the point of KV 231 and 233, I you check back. Those are deep and profound works that I believe to be by Mozart. I'm just wondering if Luchesi happened to have made an orchestral version of them... If so, you can expect to find them in my orchestra's repertoire next season, "Mozart" year or not.

  6. #96
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    It may be more enlightening if you and your orchestra would play the opening bars of the symphony KV444 - just to become familiar with what the real Mozart was capable of (and what he was not).

    Luchesi (who incidentally had provided Mozart with at least one and probably two keyboard concertos - both refered to in the Mozart correspondence in the 1780's though the earliest was given during a visit to Italy) did not orchestrate these two canons to which you refer. Nor, for that matter, did Mozart. And nor did Mozart write many of the fugal arrangements so often wrongly attributed to him from his regular visits to Baron van Sweiten in Vienna. In fact, speaking of his supposed academic/theoretical achievements, Mozart did not successfully complete the written examination under Padre Martini in Bologna for membership of the Philharmonia (this too, contrary to popular myth). The list of his supposed theory 'pupils' varies according to which version of the myth you read. Was Sussmayr a 'pupil' of Mozart ? Or, how about Anton Eberl ? One marvels at all this. Nor did Mozart copy down from memory a sacred mass heard by him in Rome. (A mass he incidentally heard twice, and not once, during his short stay there). In fact the version he made is known to have been riddled with errors despite being used as a major propaganda item for Mozart's genius in Rome at the time and has never featured in any edition of the Koechel list, even as an arrangement, despite a copy being reported to have existed in Germany up until the early 20th century. Considering the importance of such a thing to the 'Mozart story' one must ask why this 'miracle' is so poorly documented. It is recorded that the errors contained within this German copy were so great that one can only suppose it was 'withdrawn' from view for that very reason. (It is today considered 'lost').

    That Mozart re-arranged works of other composers (e.g. a whole series of Serenades became 'Mozart' Symphonies in this way) is beyond dispute. The Posthorn Serenade, the Haffner and others are examples. His incompetence in symphonic writing (a form he was not even credited with until after 1783) was well known in Paris during the time when he tried (unsuccessfully) to present KV297 as a symphony of his own - an error that led to some embarrasments for him in front of Le Gros and other musicians before being forced to quit Paris by Baron Grimm in shame. That Mozart struggled to provide an acceptable form of this work for performance at the Concert Spirituel is beyond dispute. So too that its publication in Paris that same year was of a version very different from that of its premiere. Further examples of transforming works in to 'Mozart' works can be found in the trilogy of symphonies today known as 39, 40 and 41 - 40 existing (as you know) in a version with clarinets and also another version without them. Once again we are dealing with a work which was not commissioned and where the evidence clearly indicates all 3 existed years before 1788, the supposed date of these 3 'Mozart' works. (Well, at least according to Mozart's 'own' thematic catalogue - begun only in 1784).

    I agree that even if all these things are true it still leaves a huge number of other real masterpieces which need their own story. The Horn Concertos, the Violin Concertos, to say nothing of the remarkable piano concertos etc. And of course the operas from the Abduction up until La Clemenza di Tito (including of course those such as L'Oca del Cairo and also Lo Sposo Deluso). To say nothing of Idomeneo.

    Well, perhaps something is achieved by noting that this forum has been more than fair in allowing these controversial things to be refered to, even if we cannot (and perhaps should not) examine each issue in detail. Bonn, Luchesi, Abbe Vogler and others were absolutely vital for the creation of Mozart (and Haydn's) reputation. Of this I think there is now compelling evidence. That the 18th century was a time when such practices were common is well known. The degree to which this was so in the making of the careers and reputations of Joseph Haydn and WA Mozart is hardly known, let alone agreed to, as we see. But I do think, eventually, things that now seem 'heresy' or 'impossible' will come to be widely accepted once each work is discussed in turn.

    Regards
    Last edited by robert newman; Feb-15-2007 at 06:55.

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    Sorry, but you're one sad person. You are, I believe afflicted with a case of reactionism. Just because Mozart was brought to such greater attention of late, you would like to make a buzz by putting together a controversy such as this one.

    What better way to get attention than to say that you found that which has escaped everyone's attention and the scrutiny of scholars for, what, more than two-hundred years? You're just thinking "huh, they say he was SO good... let's try and prove he wasn't."

    you obviously spent a lot of time working on your argument and trying to convince others here of your view. Why don't you go and try Bach next, I hear he's got more than 1000 works and he was a very busy man. Maybe he was falsifying his works too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amirjsi View Post
    Sorry, but you're one sad person ... you would like to make a buzz by putting together a controversy such as this one.
    Amirjsi, I do not agree with robert newman either, but there's no need to get personal. RN did not invent this idea, nor did he "put together" this controversy. What he has done is laid down a body of arguments and evidence. It is now up to us Mozart lovers to prove that this evidence is contrived and fabricated. We will not achieve this through personal attacks, but through argumentation and historical proof.

  9. #99
    Senior Member Mark Harwood's Avatar
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    I'm enjoying this. Please keep it going, and let's hear from some other people who know their stuff. There's a lot to learn from this kind of debate, whatever you believe at the start.
    "Music is a social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is."
    - Malcolm Arnold.

  10. #100
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    Dear Amirjsi,

    I don't think I'm a 'sad' person. I'm quite a happy person. People understand quite well what is being said - that the compositional careers of two of the principal composers of the Viennese 1st School (Joseph Haydn and W.A. Mozart) were massively fabricated and exaggerated at virtually every single stage. Such a point of view is held by one side of this debate - people who are more than happy to discuss the actual evidence. But readers will notice how feeble the opposite view has been today in defending their 'traditional view'. Such a 'defence' consists solely in rubbishing the personalities of those who disagree with them. Isn't THAT sad ? Isn't this the record so far ?

    Is there a composer in the entire body of western classical music who has had such an elastic, grossly inflated but amazingly durable compositional reputation as has 'Mozart' ? He has been credited over the past 200 years and more with literally hundreds of works which, today, even the most hardened coinservative grudgingly admits he never actually wrote. Such a litany of lies is unprecedented. And it is far from finished yet. Is such a porous CV fact or fiction ? Is it true or false that Mozart WAS falsely attributed with dozens of works during his childhood and youth ? Is it true or false that, in point of fact, the posthumous reputation of this same Mozart was the product of a public relations team as skilled in exaggeration and omission as any corporate news channel, and that, in fact, one side of this issue is happy to point to historical/documentary evidence and is appealing to others to admit its existence, while the other side defends nothing but a crumbling ruin whose shape, size and quality is itself in a state of permanent revision ? Nowhere in music history is this so true as in the mythical career of this same W.A. Mozart.

    Well, next year we will have further damaging revelations with the long awaited publication of the first book published in English on the composer Josef Myslivececk. That Bohemian composer is actuallyrefered to more times n the Mozart family correspondence than any other composer. But it was he, Josef Myslivececk who indisputably wrote many, many works today still falsely being attributed to Mozart. Ignore this too if you want to. I hope you see the way things are moving.

    So you see it's not simply a Luchesi matter. It's the simple issue of whether people want to base their views on the available evidence or whether they want to preserve a specially persistent form of cultural mythology.

    By all means, we should preserve monuments. But when their masonry keeps falling down on our heads is it not about time we admitted the Mozart icon has cracks that strongly indicate terminally catastrophic structural problems ?

    Regards

    p.s. I'm writing to you from Florida USA (instead of the usual London, England), having come here for the next few months or so.

    RN
    Last edited by robert newman; Apr-23-2007 at 07:05.

  11. #101
    Senior Member Mark Harwood's Avatar
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    I'd like to say "Thanks" for this thread. Mr. Newman presents his evidence and arguments clearly, Topaz and others ask thoughtful questions, and there is a very small proportion of silly stuff from people who haven't followed the discussion.
    What we have not seen is contrary evidence or compelling contrary argument. There is no rebuttal at all. Are there no academics out there who can fight Mozart's corner? So far, on this thread Mozart appears to be a complete charlatan! I hope there's more to come.
    "Music is a social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is."
    - Malcolm Arnold.

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Harwood View Post
    What we have not seen is contrary evidence or compelling contrary argument. There is no rebuttal at all. Are there no academics out there who can fight Mozart's corner? So far, on this thread Mozart appears to be a complete charlatan! I hope there's more to come.
    I could be wrong, but I think that's because of the lack of historians of music on this board. If they had been here, this thread would now have been 15 pages long and locked.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

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  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by opus67 View Post
    I could be wrong, but I think that's because of the lack of historians of music on this board. If they had been here, this thread would now have been 15 pages long and locked.
    Well I hope it never gets locked. Mr. Newman is running his ship of ideas past us and looking for leaks. If this thread looks like getting locked because someone with nothing to offer to the debate makes personal remarks, then that ought to be averted.
    I started a thread on a fine and generally well-behaved forum once, having a go at Big Bang theory. I fed the ideas in piecemeal, there was a debate forming, I was saving my best ammunition, and a careless individual got it locked by making it religious. That's bad manners.
    Surely this is a really meaty theme, entirely appropriate to this forum, and it deserves attention from trained historians and forensic techniques. I don't exactly know why it matters, as the music stands without documentary support, but perhaps those whose appreciation of a piece is enhanced by its supposed place in the composer's life will have to see some music afresh. There's surely no harm in that.
    I see a "women as ignored composers" theme here too, and that merits investigation, not least in the context of the paucity of well-known role models for aspiring female composers.
    "Music is a social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is."
    - Malcolm Arnold.

  14. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Harwood View Post
    I started a thread on a fine and generally well-behaved forum once, having a go at Big Bang theory. I fed the ideas in piecemeal, there was a debate forming, I was saving my best ammunition, and a careless individual got it locked by making it religious. That's bad manners..
    The place sounds familiar. Was this forum by any chance run by a magazine publisher?

    I don't exactly know why it matters, as the music stands without documentary support, but perhaps those whose appreciation of a piece is enhanced by its supposed place in the composer's life will have to see some music afresh. There's surely no harm in that.
    That's true. I've thought about it too. But the point Mr.Newman makes is that a fable has been spun around these compositions for the past two centuries misleading the whole world about the history of music. In that sense, it matters, at least to some people.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

    Want a piece of classical music identified? Post a link or upload a clip here. Someone might have an answer.


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  15. #105
    Senior Member Handel's Avatar
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    I was no aware of this. So, I am truly flabbergasted. Actually, Haydn "composed" about 50 symphonies from 1761 to 1775. Would not be surprised to see some works composed by others.
    "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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