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Thread: Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492

  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by stomanek View Post
    I think you are making a lot of claims here to support the supposition that Wagner's art is essentially superior to Mozarts and I am not sure if any of them are true as you are mostly asserting that they are true. You have Wooduck and provided one or two examples and I am afraid you are relying on your opponents struggling to produce examples to confound your points. I cant beieve that an opera of the stature of Nozze simply supports the libretto of an inferior artist. DaPonte was no Goethe - Mozart was - and the complexity and richness of the score alone tells me you are wrong, However - I will get back in due course with concrete examples to illustrate this.
    Nowhere have I said that Wagner's music is superior to Mozart's, nor would I as I find that a meaningless idea. Nor have I said that Da Ponte produced inferior librettos. Perhaps you are confusing some of my posts with others or seeing in them only what you think you see.

    As to the accusation that I am making assertions that rely on others to refute them, I take that as a compliment.

    N.

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  3. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Problem you have is Mozart does it better without the bombast. Sorry you can't see it!
    Most of the time when Wagner reveals the emotions of his characters that they don't know themselves it is in the quieter, more introspective moments of his scores, so I don't think you have thought this comment through. One example of this is in Meistersinger. The act three prelude starts with a theme that weaves through the next few pages of the score and underpins much of the first part of Sach's 'Wahn' monologue. It represents Sach's inner state and his feeling of sadness that humans can degrade themselves to the folly of the previous night's street fight. I think Sachs knows exactly what he is feeling here, however the theme first appears in the orchestra during Sach's street song in the previous act when he is trying to wind up Beckmesser. It is in total contrast to the bombastic popular melody of Sach's song (which is meant to be bombastic, to irk Beckmesser). Could part of Sach's later sadness be in part made up of regret at having been part of the previous night's folly?

    Is there something comparable in Mozart where the music in the orchestra has a different emotional make up from the vocal line?

    N.

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  5. #123
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    You make it perfectly clear that you don't give a fig about anybody else's tastes. I believe that Mozart revealed human emotions better than any other opera composer. You can challenge it or do you like until the bell rings for doomsday but I will keep saying it because I believe it is right . The fact that people like you disagree with me will not prevent me from having my opinion. As I have said before these things are a matter of opinion and we are on the board to express our opinion and not to be inhibited.
    None of us will be "inhibited" here. Not you, and not me.

    So you think tastes, opinions and factual statements all look the same... Well, "people like me" (btw, there are no people like me) can tell the difference, and we will challenge you. We will not be inhibited.

    You may have noticed that although the operas of Wagner mean far more to me, and move me far more deeply, than those of Mozart, I have never claimed categorically that Wagner was a greater composer than Mozart, or that my emotional response to, say, Parsifal gives me sufficient reason to say that Wagner is "better" at expressing emotions than Mozart. If I feel it necessary to compare them, I will do so with respect to specific qualities where I think a comparison is meaningful, and I will say why I think it's meaningful. Parsifal and Figaro, both works of genius, inhabit radically different worlds of aesthetic method and sensibility; each expresses things which the other does not, and there is virtually no meaningful basis for comparison. Realizing this, I'm not going to make categorical value judgments about their composers and try to pass them off as "opinion" or "taste." As to which of them "expresses emotions better," or better matches music to text and situation, I offer no opinion, partly because there is so little common ground between their musical styles and artistic goals, partly because concepts such as "emotion" in art are very complicated and slippery, and partly because my own tastes weigh so heavily in one direction that I would be duty bound to admit that I was not qualified to judge. Confronted with two masterpieces of opera, we should admit the limitations of our perceptions.

    It is for reasons like these that your unqualified statement of Mozart's absolute superiority must strike any reasonable person as presumptuous and absurd, and so reasonable people will challenge your wisdom in making it.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Aug-04-2018 at 08:48.

  6. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    None of us will be "inhibited" here. Not you, and not me.

    So you think tastes, opinions and factual statements all look the same... Well, "people like me" (btw, there are no people like me) can tell the difference, and we will challenge you. We will not be inhibited.

    You may have noticed that although the operas of Wagner mean far more to me, and move me far more deeply, than those of Mozart, I have never claimed categorically that Wagner was a greater composer than Mozart, or that my emotional response to, say, Parsifal gives me sufficient reason to say that Wagner is "better" at expressing emotions than Mozart. If I feel it necessary to compare them, I will do so with respect to specific qualities where I think a comparison is meaningful, and I will say why I think it's meaningful. Parsifal and Figaro, both works of genius, inhabit radically different worlds of aesthetic method and sensibility; each expresses things which the other does not, and there is virtually no meaningful basis for comparison. Realizing this, I'm not going to make categorical value judgments about their composers and try to pass them off as "opinion" or "taste." As to which of them "expresses emotions better," or better matches music to text and situation, I offer no opinion, partly because there is so little common ground between their musical styles and artistic goals, partly because concepts such as "emotion" in art are very complicated and slippery, and partly because my own tastes weigh so heavily in one direction that I would be duty bound to admit that I was not qualified to judge. Confronted with two masterpieces of opera, we should admit the limitations of our perceptions.

    It is for reasons like these that your unqualified statement of Mozart's absolute superiority must strike any reasonable person as presumptuous and absurd, and so reasonable people will challenge your wisdom in making it.
    I assume your long and torpid answer was supposed to set up the last paragraph. I have stated all along that whatever I give is my opinion. I have also said that opinions are subjective.It may have escaped you in life that that opinions differ. I have travelled the world and met many different people and know that opinions differ and it is only right that we should allow other people to have an opinion without resorting to calling them 'presumptuous and absurd'.
    It is my OPINION that Mozart was the greatest operatic genius who ever lived and that his operas move me more than anyone else's. Not seeing things in black and white monochrome as some do, I allow others to express their own opinions without resorting to saying they are 'presumptuous and absurd' because they happen to disagree with me..
    Last edited by DavidA; Aug-04-2018 at 08:55.

  7. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    I assume your long and torpid answer was supposed to set up the last paragraph. I have stated all along that whatever I give is my opinion. I have also said that opinions are subjective.It may have escaped you in life that that opinions differ. I have travelled the world and met many different people and know that opinions differ and it is only right that we should allow other people to have an opinion without resorting to calling them 'presumptuous and absurd'.
    It is my OPINION that Mozart was the greatest operatic genius who ever lived and that his operas move me more than anyone else's. Not seeing things in black and white monochrome as some do, I allow others to express their own opinions without resorting to saying they are 'presumptuous and absurd' because they happen to disagree with me..


    This was not a "setup," and I apologize if it left you "torpid." What it actually was was an illustrated explanation of the difference between taste, opinion, and fact, which are three distinct things to be expressed in distinct ways. For example, it may be your opinion that Mozart is the greatest opera composer, but it is not an "opinion" that he moves you more than any other. That latter thing would be a fact. Mozart either does or does not move you. Moreover, the statement, "Mozart's operas move me more than any others," in stating a fact about your personal preferences, is an expression of taste.

    Taste. Opinion. Fact.

    Three. Different. Things.

    Tastes are not open to argument; de gustibus non disputandum est. Facts are arguable only until they've been understood and established. But opinions? Those occupy a very slippery seat between taste and fact. Often "opinion" functions as cover for tastes masquerading as facts - we like to imagine our preferences have some objective status - and our failure to acknowledge our sleights-of-mind will stir up debates we neither expect nor want. That is pretty obviously the case here, where your taste for Mozart is expressed as a quasi-factual statement that he is superior to all other opera composers, a statement that no one can prove, and that no one with an inkling of the difficulties inherent in such a high-level aesthetic judgment would have the temerity to make. Resorting to "it's just my opinion" is an effort to evade the fact that some opinions are really beyond our competence and authority to entertain.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Aug-04-2018 at 21:10.

  8. #126
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Sigh.

    This was not a "setup," and I apologize if it left you "torpid." What it actually was was an illustrated explanation of the difference between taste, opinion, and fact, which are three distinct things to be expressed in distinct ways. For example, it may be your opinion that Mozart is the greatest opera composer, but it is not an "opinion" that he moves you more than any other. That latter thing would be a fact. Mozart either does or does not move you. You see the difference? Moreover, the statement, "Mozart's operas move me more than any others," in stating a fact about your personal preferences, is an expression of taste.

    Taste. Opinion. Fact.

    Three. Different. Things.

    Tastes are not open to argument; de gustibus non disputandum est. Facts are arguable only until they've been understood and established. But opinions? Those occupy a very slippery seat between taste and fact. Often "opinion" functions as cover for tastes masquerading as facts - we like to imagine our preferences have some objective status - and our failure to acknowledge our sleights-of-mind will stir up debates we neither expect nor want. That is pretty obviously the case here, where your taste for Mozart is expressed as a quasi-factual statement that he is superior to all other opera composers, a statement that no one can prove, and that no one with an inkling of the difficulties inherent in such a high-level aesthetic judgment would have the temerity to make. Running for cover to "it's just my opinion" is an effort to evade the fact that some opinions are really beyond our competence and authority to entertain.

    But - ah, me. Pedagogy was never my forte (I knew that teaching music would drive me crazy, and never used that Music Ed. degree), and I realize that our conversation has long since exhausted your resources as well. So I will leave you alone now, and will let you have the last word.

    Will it be "opinion"?

    Now I could say of you: 'that it is pretty obvious that your taste for Wagner is expressed as a series of quasi-factual statements that imply he is superior to all other opera composers, a statement (of course) that no one can prove, and that no one with an inkling of the difficulties inherent in such a high-level aesthetic judgment would have the temerity to make.' That's what comes across from your statements.
    Last edited by DavidA; Aug-04-2018 at 20:55.

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