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Thread: Did Mozart lack the passion of his contemporaries?

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    Default Did Mozart lack the passion of his contemporaries?

    I have a video on my blog and argue that Mozart lacked passion in comparison to some of his contemporaries. If you want to discuss it you can read my arguments at the lilnk below.

    http://baroqueclassics.blogspot.co.uk/

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    Senior Member StevenOBrien's Avatar
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    If you think he wasn't as passionate as some of his contempories, then you obviously haven't listened to his music. Wow, I would go as far as arguing that Mozart cared far more about the artistic side of what he was doing than the majority of his contemporaries.

    Firstly, for most of his life, Mozart was a man that had no choice but to be practical. He was in such dire financial straits throughout certain periods of his life that he certainly could not waste time composing whatever he felt like if it took up time that could be spent on commissions that he could put just as much effort and passion into. Since when does being practical equal to lacking passion anyway? You speak of Beethoven, who started work on his ninth symphony because he was planning to make a trip to London (which never materialized). Are you going to claim that he was devoid of passion for this reason too?

    Secondly, you are wrong even with your claim that he did not write any works "because he just wanted to". What about the Haydn quartets? You even link to the Mass in C minor on your post. I hate to break it to you, but the Mass in C minor was not commissioned, it was supposedly composed in thanks to God for curing his wife of an ailment.
    Last edited by StevenOBrien; Jul-19-2012 at 23:23.

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    Inactive Carpenoctem's Avatar
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    I agree with Steven0Brien, if you want to fully understand Mozart's music you need to know the circumstances in which he created his works.

    Fascinating thing about Mozart is that the more his life got worse, the more bad stuff happened to him (death of his mother, then later his father, problem with money) his music started to sound more beautiful and cheerful.

    It's like he was making universal music, it sounds like it was always here somewhere, but Mozart wrote it on paper.

    Lack of passion? Please.
    Last edited by Carpenoctem; Jul-19-2012 at 23:43.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Had Mozart's contemporaries - and by that I mean anyone born between c. 1740 and 1760 - more passion in their music then maybe more than a handful would have been remembered - I don't hear too many names from the list below being bandied about:

    Agata della Pietà (fl. c. 1740–c. 1800)
    Michael Arne (1740/1741–1786)
    Samuel Arnold (1740–1802)
    Joseph Corfe (1740–1820) ([8])
    Ernst Eichner (1740–1777)
    Luigi Gatti (1740–1817)
    Guillaume Lasceux (1740–1831) (fr:Guillaume Lasceux)
    Elisabeth Olin (1740–1828)
    Giovanni Paisiello (1740-1816)
    Samuel Webbe the elder (1740–1816)
    Johann André (1741–1799)
    François Hippolyte Barthélemon (1741–1808)
    André Ernest Modeste Grétry (1741–1813)
    Franz Xaver Hammer (1741–1817)
    Honoré Langlé (1741–1807) (fr:Honoré Langlé, de:Honoré Langlé)
    Andrea Luchesi (1741–1801)
    Jean Paul Egide Martini (1741–1816)
    Johann Gottlieb Naumann (1741–1801)
    Giovanni Paisiello (1741–1816)
    Václav Pichl (1741–1804)
    Henri-Joseph Rigel (1741–1799)
    Giacomo Rust (1741–1786)
    Luigi Tomasini (1741–1808) (it:Luigi Tomasini)
    Anton Zimmermann (1741–1781) (de:Anton Zimmermann (Komponist))
    Jean-Baptiste Davaux (1742–1822) (de:Jean-Baptiste Davaux)
    Romanus Hoffstetter (1742–1815)
    Jean-Baptiste Krumpholz (1742–1790)
    Simon Le Duc (Leduc) (1742–1777) (fr:Simon Le Duc)
    Vasily Pashkevich (1742–1797)
    Anton Ferdinand Tietz (1742–1811)
    Maria Carolina Wolf (1742–1820)
    Luigi Boccherini (1743–1805)
    Carlo Franchi (c. 1743–after 1779)
    Giuseppe Gazzaniga (1743–1818)
    Franz Nikolaus Novotny (1743–1773)
    João Pedro de Almeida Mota (1744–1817)
    Anne Louise Brillon de Jouy (1744–1824)
    Gaetano Brunetti (1744–1798)
    Marianne von Martínez (1744–1812)
    Yekaterina Sinyavina (died 1784)
    Joseph Bengraf, or József Bengráf (1745–1791)
    Maksym Berezovsky (c. 1745–1777)
    Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745–1799)
    João de Sousa Carvalho (1745–c. 1799)
    Georg Druschetzky (1745–1819)
    Johann Peter Salomon (1745–1815)
    Maddalena Laura Sirmen (1745–1818)
    Carl Stamitz (1745–1801)
    Ferdinando Gasparo Turrini (1745–1820) (it:Ferdinando Gasparo Turrini)
    Jan Nepomuk Vent, or Johann Wendt (1745–1801) (nl:Jan Nepomuk Vent)
    Marie Emmanuelle Bayon Louis (1746–1825)
    William Billings (1746–1800)
    Giuseppe Cambini (1746–c. 1825)
    James Hook (1746–1827)
    Ludwig Wenzel Lachnith (1746–1820)
    Johann Friedrich Peter (1746–1813)
    Giovanni Punto, or Jan Václav Stich (1746–1803)
    Joseph Quesnel (1746–1809)
    Ivan Mane Jarnović, or Giovanni Mane Giornovichi (1747–1804)
    Ivan Khandoshkin (1747–1804)
    Leopold Kozeluch (1747–1818)
    Justin Morgan (1747–1798)
    Carl Marianus Paradeiser (1747–1775)
    Johann Abraham Peter Schulz (1747–1800)
    Joachim Albertini, or Gioacchino Albertini (1748–1812)
    Francesco Azopardi (1748–1809)
    Josef Fiala (1748–1816)
    Emanuel Aloys Förster (1748–1823)
    Christian Gottlob Neefe (1748–1798)
    Theodor von Schacht (1748–1823)
    William Shield (1748–1829)
    Joseph Schuster (1748–1812)
    Henriette Adélaïde Villard Beaumesnil (1748–1813)
    Domenico Cimarosa (1749–1801)
    Jean-Louis Duport (1749–1819)
    Jean-Frédéric Edelmann (1749–1794)
    Johann Nikolaus Forkel (1749–1818)
    Antonín Kraft (c. 1749–1820)
    Georg Joseph Vogler (1749–1814)
    Polly Young, also known as Maria Barthélemon (1749–1799)
    Marija Zubova (1749–1799)
    Vincenta Da Ponte (fl. second half 18th century)
    Elizabeth Anspach (1750–1828)
    Elizabeth Joanetta Catherine von Hagen (1750–1809/1810)
    Antonio Rosetti (c. 1750–1792)
    Antonio Salieri (1750–1825)
    John Stafford Smith (1750–1836)
    Johannes Matthias Sperger (1750–1812)
    Johann Franz Xaver Sterkel (1750–1817)
    Jean Balthasar Tricklir (1750–1813)
    Dmitry Bortniansky (1751–1825)
    Bartolomeo Campagnoli (1751–1827)
    Giuseppe Giordani, also known as Giordanello (1751–1798)
    Jan Křtitel Kuchař (1751–1829)
    Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne (1751–1796)
    Maria Anna Mozart (1751–1829)
    Mary Ann Pownall (1751–1796)
    Corona Schröter (1751–1802)
    William Smethergell (1751–1836) ([10])
    Mary Ann Wrighten (1751–1796)
    Francesco Bianchi (1752–1810)
    Muzio Clementi (1752–1832)
    Georg Friedrich Fuchs (1752–1821) (de:Georg Friedrich Fuchs)
    Justin Heinrich Knecht (1752–1817)
    Leopold Kozeluch (1752–1818)
    Ludwig August Lebrun (1752–1790)
    John Marsh (1752–1828)
    Josef Reicha (1752–1795)
    Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752–1814)
    Juliane Reichardt, or Juliane Benda Reichardt (1752–1783)
    Jane Savage (1752/3–1824)
    Niccolò Antonio Zingarelli (1752–1837)
    Jean-Baptiste Bréval (1753–1823)
    Nicolas Dalayrac (1753–1809)
    Franz Anton Dimmler (1753–1827)
    Christian Friedrich Ruppe (1753–1826) (nl:Christian Friedrich Ruppe)
    Johann Baptist Schenk (1753–1836)
    Johann Samuel Schroeter, or Schröter (1753–1788) (de:Johann Samuel Schroeter)
    Pedro Étienne Solère (1753–1817) (nl:Pedro Étienne Solère)
    Johan Wikmanson (1753–1800)
    Franz Anton Hoffmeister (1754–1812)
    Vicente Martín y Soler (1754–1806)
    Etienne Ozi (1754–1813)
    Anton Stamitz (1754–1798 or 1809)
    Peter Winter (1754–1825)
    Michèl Yost (1754–1786)
    Maria Theresia Ahlefeldt (1755–1810)
    Mateo Pérez de Albéniz (1755–1831)
    Giuseppe Antonio Capuzzi (1755–1818)
    Giuseppe Ferlendis (1755–1802)
    Federigo Fiorillo (1755–c. 1823) (de:Federigo Fiorillo, [11])
    Antoine-Frédéric Gresnick (1755–1799)
    Mary Linwood (1755–1845)
    John Christopher Moller (1755–1803)
    Jean-Pierre Solié (1755–1812)
    Giovanni Battista Viotti (1755–1824)
    Franz Grill (c. 1756–1793) (de:Franz Grill)
    Francesca Lebrun also Franziska Danzi Lebrun (1756–1791)
    Thomas Linley the younger (1756–1778)
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791)
    Joseph Martin Kraus (1756–1792)
    Alexander Reinagle (1756–1809)
    Vincenzo Righini (1756–1812)
    Mikhail Sokolovsky (1756–after 1795)
    Daniel Gottlob Türk (1756–1813)
    Paul Wranitzky, also Pavel Vranický (1756–1808)
    Antonio Calegari (1757–1828) (it:Antonio Calegari)
    Ignaz Pleyel (1757–1831)
    Alessandro Rolla (1757–1841)
    Harriett Abrams (1758–1821)
    Josepha Barbara Auernhammer (1758–1820)
    Frédéric Blasius, or Matthäus Blasius (1758–1829)
    Benedikt Schack, or Benedikt Žák (1758–1826)
    Carl Friedrich Zelter (1758–1832)
    Marianna von Auenbrugger (1759–1782)
    Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach (1759–1845)
    François Devienne (1759–1803)
    Johann Christian Friedrich Haeffner (1759–1833)
    Franz Krommer (1759–1831)
    Maria Theresa von Paradis (1759–1824)
    Maria Rosa Coccia (1759–1833)
    Sophia Maria Westenholz (1759–1838)
    Luigi Cherubini (1760–1842)
    Johann Ladislaus Dussek (1760–1812)
    Francesco Gardi (1760/1765–c. 1810) (it:Francesco Gardi)
    Jean-François Le Sueur, or Lesueur (1760–1837)
    Franz Christoph Neubauer (1760–1795) (de:Franz Christoph Neubauer)
    Angelo Tarchi (1760–1814)
    Gaetano Valeri (1760–1822) (it:Gaetano Valeri)
    Johann Rudolf Zumsteeg (1760–1802)

    (list courtesy of Wikipedia)

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    Excellent I got some good reactions from you. Which I what I really wanted. Great information and arguments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenOBrien View Post
    If you think he wasn't as passionate as some of his contempories, then you obviously haven't listened to his music. Wow, I would go as far as arguing that Mozart cared far more about the artistic side of what he was doing than the majority of his contemporaries.

    Firstly, for most of his life, Mozart was a man that had no choice but to be practical. He was in such dire financial straits throughout certain periods of his life that he certainly could not waste time composing whatever he felt like if it took up time that could be spent on commissions that he could put just as much effort and passion into. Since when does being practical equal to lacking passion anyway? You speak of Beethoven, who started work on his ninth symphony because he was planning to make a trip to London (which never materialized). Are you going to claim that he was devoid of passion for this reason too?

    Secondly, you are wrong even with your claim that he did not write any works "because he just wanted to". What about the Haydn quartets? You even link to the Mass in C minor on your post. I hate to break it to you, but the Mass in C minor was not commissioned, it was supposedly composed in thanks to God for curing his wife of an ailment.
    I don't know if I fully agree with this. Although financial needs may have been a priority and perhaps admirably so what I am arguing is that Mozart that almost possessed kinness to musics some of the other composers around that time had. Incidentally the reason Mozart wrote all of his religious work was because he was required to under his position with the royal household, which he played organ for.

    In any event I am not arguing his talent just that little extra I feel some of the other composers had, which was almost an insane relationship with music that took over. You claim Mozart used his talent to escape poverty. Beethovens passion led to poverty. I think that makes Beethovens relationship with music perhaps more obsessive. The financial needs were ignored over the music with Beethoven. The financial needs put in favour with Mozart.

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    From what I know of M life and having read many of his letters - it seems to me that he had much life and passion in him. He said in one letter "nature speaks loudly in me" or words to that effect. He was very sexual - and he loved women. I think his passion for women and life permeates his music - as I hear it. There is tremendous energy in his works which I interpret as passion for living. It's one of the things that attracts me to his music - among other qualities. He could be scornful - and angry - and hurt. Passion was all there. Yes most of his works were commissioned. But he had passion for his art. Towards the end he said about his german dances "I've been paid too much for for these - when for less I could have done so much more" - sorry - words to that effect. He wanted to compose large scale masterpieces - he eagerly wanted those commissions for operas in order to do his talent justice. I think he was aware of what he was and had a passion to put his talent to full use.
    I could have almost said all this without knowing the circumstances of his life - it's all there in the msuic for those lucky enough to recognise the wonder of it.

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    That is an amazing list of composers and I have only heard of maybe 1/10 of them.
    There may well be some good music from those obscure - and when I pointed this out to a friend once he said to me "a lot of composers are unkown today for good reason"

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    I had a relatively poor impression of Mozart until I got the Brilliant Classics box. I realized that it wasn't HIP vs non-HIP, it's frilly performances vs gutsy ones. It's easy to camp it up with Mozart, but it doesn't have to be like that.

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    Senior Member Aksel's Avatar
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    Short answer:

    No.


    Long answer:


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    Quote Originally Posted by Morganist View Post
    I have a video on my blog and argue that Mozart lacked passion in comparison to some of his contemporaries. If you want to discuss it you can read my arguments at the lilnk below.

    http://baroqueclassics.blogspot.co.uk/
    I've had a look at your blog, which is possibly more than I think several previous respondents have done given their comments, and am mystified by a few things.

    Your blog is entitled "Baroque Classics". Its main focus is a piece by Mozart from his Mass in C Minor. Why did you do that? It is not a baroque classic by any stretch of the imagination.

    You argue that Mozart's music lacks passion because all of it was commisioned work. This suggests that you believe that only non-commissioned work can contain passion. Is that really what you believe? Doesn't the quality of the composer, and the nature of the work in question, have anything to do with it? Why cannot a great composer who is commisioned to write a suitable piece of music not contain passion? Wasn't Mozart's Requiem commissioned?

    How much else of Mozart's work have you heard? For instance, have you sampled any of his later operas, or possibly any of his Masonic music? Isn't there enough "passion" in any of that for you.

    You go on to make comments regarding Beethoven's music and imply that none of it was commissioned. Did you not know that a lot of it was commissioned? He and Mozart are often held up as the two earliest great composers who became self-employed.

    As for the long list of contemporary Mozart composers from Wikipedia, posted by another member, I might add that it's too narrow because the OP is not confining attention strictly to Mozart's contemporaries but including Beethoven at one end of the spectrum and Vivaldi and Bach at the other.
    Last edited by Very Senior Member; Jul-20-2012 at 10:28.

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    Senior Member Ramako's Avatar
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    The facts involving whether Beethoven was commissioned for works, or Mozart's mass is a baroque classic, are relevant, but really the point. The question is - did he lack passion? All that saying Beethoven's works were commissioned proves is that if he did lack passion, writing for commissions wasn't the reason.

    So did Mozart lack the passion of his contemporaries. It is a very interesting fact that the vast majority of his contemporary audience believed he was too academic, too intellectual, to be properly comprehendible. A fact oft-forgotten today when he considered very predictable. This belief persisted for some time after his death.

    Another fact is that he is very popular composer today and many people are deeply, "passionately", moved by his music. I am often moved, but less by its passion than by the wonder of its beauty. He can be cold. Haydn (the only comparable actual contemporary of Mozart) I find much warmer, especially in the slow movements.

    I am not going to say he lacked passion. If you don't like his music, it probably is you who are "at fault", either for not empathizing with his particular emotions, or not really getting his language. Still it is an interesting hypothesis to suggest he did. Perhaps those who like his music admire more the beauty than the sentiment?

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    Senior Member Sonata's Avatar
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    I always find it interesting to read the above statemet; a seperate topic but it pops up from time to time. Discussion of who is "at fault" if a listener doesn't like the composer's music. Why assign blame? It's one thing to say, "try listening to the music in this way, or approaching it from that angle" But to criticize someone for failing to appreciate a certain piece, or style, or composer seems to me unnecessarily punitive.
    Last edited by Sonata; Jul-20-2012 at 14:21.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morganist View Post
    I have a video on my blog and argue that Mozart lacked passion in comparison to some of his contemporaries. If you want to discuss it you can read my arguments at the lilnk below.

    http://baroqueclassics.blogspot.co.uk/
    Thanks for the link. I have to give you points for suggesting a contentious topic in order for folks to hit your website. I think that's probably your real motivation.

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    Senior Member Ramako's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonata View Post
    I always find it interesting to read the above statemet; a seperate topic but it pops up from time to time. Discussion of who is "at fault" if a listener doesn't like the composer's music. Why assign blame? It's one thing to say, "try listening to the music in this way, or approaching it from that angle" But to criticize someone for failing to appreciate a certain piece, or style, or composer seems to me unnecessarily punitive.
    Hey, I hate Wagner. I find his music interminable and dull. I find Brahms equally boring, but shorter. I don't say these composers were bad, I would instead apply the same statement to myself. I would apply it to myself concerning most of Bach's music as well. It was not meant as an insult though I thought it might well be taken as one. It was not a criticism.

    In it's justification. The first point about not appreciating the emotions of a composer seems to me valid, and one that is part of our make up. Some people are always full of energy, rushing about, others are quiet and reserved, some are serious, other's have a great sense of humour etc. It doesn't mean it's a defect to our character, it's just a part of it. It is part of an explanation of the fact of differing tastes. Sometimes we don't like people in real life, not for any particular reason, but simply that their is a mismatch in character. I am extending this to music with the interaction of composer and listener. As for my comment about not understanding the musical language, it is a fact that familiarity with a composer's idiom often renders increases the understanding of the listener, and therefore their appreciation for the composer's output. It is something that will change.

    Anyway, realizing that this is off-topic, I am just going to repeat what I said earlier, that it is interesting to suppose that Mozart did lack passion. Of all the great composers, even including Bach, it is probably a statement most applicable to him. For me, most of his music does, but perhaps simply because I am at some level conscious that he is writing and manipulating my reactions so masterfully. I don't generally think he is self-absorbed in his music (another term for passion in this context perhaps?) except in the beautiful Requiem.
    Last edited by Ramako; Jul-20-2012 at 15:00.

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