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Thread: What is it about Mozart? A Confessional Thread

  1. #181
    Senior Member Jacck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Animal the Drummer View Post
    Mozart is the only composer I know who is able to explore every human mood and emotion - with all their messiness, ambivalence, roughness, brokenness - and present them to us in a circle of perfection, yet without triviality. He is able to find words for the unsayable, and then to make them rhyme. In his most joyful music we are aware that unalloyed happiness is rare, perhaps non-existent in human experience; and in his most sad or tragic moments the pity is always deflected from the ego, but remains deeply personal."
    it would be instructive, if you could provide some examples of all those emotions in Mozart - a sad music, an angry music, an anxious music, a longing music, a melancholic music.

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    I can give you any number of works by Mozart in which these things can all be found, above all "The Marriage of Figaro" which I consider the greatest work of art ever created in any medium. With respect, however, to ask for them one by one is to miss part of the point Stephen Hough is making in that quote when he writes that Mozart's music shows us that "unalloyed happiness is rare, perhaps non-existent in human experience" and that "in his most sad or tragic moments the pity is always deflected from the ego". Mozart doesn't present over-simplified emotions in "glorious Technicolor" - he combines them, in a way which is both intensely personal and stunningly universal, the latter because life is rarely so simple as to slice things up in a simple way. Perhaps another quote from Shaffer's article may help:

    "Over and over as one listens, a joyful shadow, a shadowed joy, seems to pass swiftly over the music, as a cloud passes across a spring landscape, bringing with it a quite excruciating emotion for which there is no precise name, save perhaps that of the composer. A hearing of the slow movement of the Clarinet Quintet will evoke this effect at any time."
    Last edited by Animal the Drummer; May-29-2020 at 12:17.

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  4. #183
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmsbls View Post
    This post and much of your thread discussing Mozart's musical standing give me the impression that you feel your view of Mozart is the view that others ought to have. The fact that they don't sheds a negative light on them. I assume you are well aware that a high number of major composers, conductors, and performers hold Mozart in their highest esteem. Musicologists have written an enormous amount of commentary on his works. All music schools spend as much time or more on Mozart as any other composer. Surveys of essentially any classical music group from fans to professionals place Mozart in the top tier always. It would seem obvious that the classical music listening community as a whole decidedly does not share your view of Mozart's music.

    Above you belittle Mozart's music as nursery rhyme music. Then you say it's possible fans might not perceive it that way rather than the classical musical community has determined that Mozart's music is vastly loftier, more sublime, interesting, and important than nursery rhyme music. Finally you toss up your hands and suggest that the reason people like Mozart may be that nursery rhyme music suites their taste. After all, what other reason could there be?

    Many on TC have talked about their particular inability to enjoy certain composers. They generally point to themselves either saying their taste is different or asking for help in learning to like the music they presently do not. The focus is on them rather than the inability of the rest of the classical music community to understand the truth.

    I know we often write posts that don't quite say what we mean, and sometime others misinterpret what we write. So, I'd like to ask if I have misunderstood your posts. Do you believe you somehow have been incapable of hearing what so many others hear in Mozart (i.e. his music is sublime, important, interesting, of the highest quality, etc.) or do you believe that others ought not to hear Mozart's music that way? I can only say your posts give me the strong impression that you think others (i.e. the entire classical music community) are mistaken in their assessment of Mozart.

    Quick Note to Eclectic Al: I believe you started this thread because you are interested in why you view the music differently not because you wish to correct others' views or feel those views are wrong in some sense.
    Hey, why don't you pick on somebody your own size?

  5. #184
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janxharris View Post

    I was quoting MillionRainbows on 'nursery-rhyme', but that is how I perceive a lot of his music - it's not a mock. I shouldn't have said 'most'. Apologies.
    I don't think any apology is necessary. I think mmsbls misinterpreted our shared characterization of Mozart's music as coming across somewhat simplistically; simple chord changes, limited harmonic range (compared to late Romanticism), and other obvious features which could just as easily be construed as being positive. Examples:

    (negative) simple = (positive) uncluttered

    (negative) nursery rhyme-like = (positive) refreshingly naive and child-like

    etc.

    Of course, no one wants to be characterized or labelled, do they? Too bad, this is the real world!
    Last edited by millionrainbows; May-29-2020 at 15:40.

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigbang View Post
    The problem with this obsession on sonatas in this post is the same thing can be said about his violin concertos. Or divertimentos. Some of the serenades. The issue I have is the "obsession" to drive everything into absolutes. For many people, Mozart touches them regardless of the music. I have said this before that they best way IMO to get into classical music is to get into a composer. Once a person gets Mozart then it is not that hard to listen to his lesser output (if that is what some call it).

    No one brings up his violin sonatas or concertos...probably for the same reason.
    No obsession, just my personal evaluation. I can see Beethoven taking something from K310, etc. But considering the piano repertoire that came after Mozart, there is nothing really that elevated. Haydn's piano sonatas are in no way inferior to Mozart's, but don't get as much exposure. Mozart is a legend, and deserves it based on his more major works, and that naturally would elevate some of his lesser works above others. I was an avid Mozart collector and fanboy, and bought pretty much everything he wrote, but there is some I just don't listen to anymore after exploring other composers.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    Tchaikovsky: "I bow before the greatness of some of his works, but I do not love Beethoven. My attitude towards him reminds me of how I felt as a child with regard to God, Lord of Sabaoth. I felt (and even now my feelings have not changed) a sense of amazement before Him, but at the same time also fear. He created heaven and earth, just as He created me, but still, even though I cringe before Him, there is no love. Christ, on the contrary, awakens precisely and exclusively feelings of love. Yes, He was God, but at the same time a man. He suffered like us. We are sorry for Him, we love in Him His ideal human side. And if Beethoven occupies in my heart a place analogous to God, Lord of Sabaoth, then Mozart I love as a musical Christ. Besides, he lived almost like Christ did. I think there is nothing sacrilegious in such a comparison. Mozart was a being so angelical and child-like in his purity, his music is so full of unattainably divine beauty, that if there is someone whom one can mention with the same breath as Christ, then it is he. [...] It is my profound conviction that Mozart is the highest, the culminating point which beauty has reached in the sphere of music. Nobody has made me cry and thrill with joy, sensing my proximity to something that we call the ideal, in the way that he has [...] In Mozart I love everything because we love everything in a person whom we truly love. Above all I love Don Giovanni, as it was thanks to this work that I found out what music is. Until then (till the age of 17) I had known nothing apart from pleasant Italian semi-music. Of course, whilst I do love everything in Mozart, I won't claim that every minor work of his is a masterpiece. No! I know that any one of his sonatas, for example, is not a great work, and yet I love every sonata of his precisely because it is his – because this musical Christ touched it with his radiant hand."
    Pardon me if I offend anyone, but I think Tchaikovsky's towards Beethoven is largely due to Tchaikovsky's having a "gay" sensibility. This characterization of Beethoven (as "God") has a curiously archetypal ring of patriarchy and "father" to it.

  8. #187
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacck View Post
    it would be instructive, if you could provide some examples of all those emotions in Mozart - a sad music, an angry music, an anxious music, a longing music, a melancholic music.
    Okay, easy. Minor = sad, Major = happy.

    Diminished = anxious.

    Angry = loud

    Longing = alternating major and minor.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; May-29-2020 at 15:38.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackAdderLXX View Post
    Well, as the thread you posted is about Mozart I limited my comments to that. Historically I understand that Haydn was a major composer of the classical period and would say many of the same things about his music that I would of Mozart's. However, my own experience with Haydn's music is very limited. Had he been the subject of this thread, I would not have posted. I intend to explore his music more fully at some point, but my explorations of the later composers have captivated my attention (and affections) more than those of the Classical or Baroque period (for now).
    Sorry about the Haydn pitch. It's just that I take every opportunity to push his music, whatever the topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I don't think any apology is necessary. I think mmsbls misinterpreted our shared characterization of Mozart's music as coming across somewhat simplistically; simple chord changes, limited harmonic range (compared to late Romanticism), and other obvious features which could just as easily be construed as being positive. Examples:

    (negative) simple = (positive) uncluttered

    (negative) nursery rhyme-like = (positive) refreshingly naive and child-like

    etc.

    Of course, no one wants to be characterized or labelled, do they? Too bad, this is the real world!
    Did you see this:

    "Nursery-world analogy...this small child inside...toy trumpet-like moments...out of the nursery..." (Charles Hazelwood - on Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20)

    ?

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    Senior Member Flamme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Hey, why don't you pick on somebody your own size?
    Dont play with fire brah!!!
    'Listen, Mister god!
    Isn't it boring
    to dip your puffy eyes,
    every day, into a jelly of clouds?'

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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Okay, easy. Minor = sad, Major = happy.

    Diminished = anxious.

    Angry = loud

    Longing = alternating major and minor.
    Nonsense, diminished is creepy old house and ghosts....

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    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    No obsession, just my personal evaluation. I can see Beethoven taking something from K310, etc. But considering the piano repertoire that came after Mozart, there is nothing really that elevated. Haydn's piano sonatas are in no way inferior to Mozart's, but don't get as much exposure. Mozart is a legend, and deserves it based on his more major works, and that naturally would elevate some of his lesser works above others. I was an avid Mozart collector and fanboy, and bought pretty much everything he wrote, but there is some I just don't listen to anymore after exploring other composers.
    To be fair, we should listen to what Mozart might've been listening to, and then explore the expression he broadened and enhanced from JC Bach et al. And then he left them completely behind, so, can we find the works at that juncture in his output? The ninth Piano Concerto?
    Last edited by Luchesi; May-29-2020 at 16:21.

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    Member Caryatid's Avatar
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    I have no reservations about ranking Mozart in the highest tier of composers. He wrote plenty of lesser works, but so did Beethoven. Artists are to be judged by their greatest achievements.

    I'll concede that I'm not a fan of his way of writing for the piano, even in the concerti. The piano was a young instrument and suffered from limitations that only began to loosen substantially in the years after his death. When I listen to one of the concerti, I enjoy the opening but my interest flags during the development, largely because the piano runs out of memorable material. The mature concerti are huge dramatic conceptions orchestrally - they have no parallel in the 18th-century, to my knowledge - but the pianos of the time were too slight to elicit writing of the same magnitude. If Mozart had lived another thirty years... but he didn't.

    A few of the sonatas are great - the A minor, for example. But my favourite Mozart is in the chamber music. The late string quintets and quartets, the string trio, the clarinet quintet, the quintet for piano and winds, the piano quartets - here he is is full of inspiration and his usual tropes and formulas are used only sparingly. The first movement of the C major string quintet has been compared to the Eroica symphony, and that seems fair enough to me.

    And then what about something like this?


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  18. #194
    Senior Member 20centrfuge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectic Al View Post
    I have a confession: I don't really get Mozart. I generally find that the list of "great" composers which is generally stated is very much in line with my personal list. But not Mozart.
    A few works are great (for me): Clarinet Quintet (and maybe the Concerto), Symphony 40, a few Piano Concerti (or some movements thereof), and some bits of the Requiem. Beyond that, I keep trying, but my mind wanders. This doesn't add up to enough to be in my personal list of greats.
    I therefore thought it would be interesting to see if there are any common themes among those who don't get Mozart.
    For example, I don't do Opera at all. I am hugely into Brahms, Bach and Haydn. With Beethoven it's more recognition of greatness than a sympathy of outlook: he can persuade me, but I don't warm to him. I tend to think that Schoenberg and his gang were barking up a blind alley (sometimes to great effect), whereas Bartok was onto something.
    So are there any others out there who share my deficiency? If so, please indicate your own tastes to see if there is something in common. I should be more scientific about this, but life's short.
    If I get no response to this, then I guess it's just me.
    I'm fairly similar to you with Mozart and Beethoven. I really like some of Mozart's Piano Concertos, the overture to Don Giovanni, the Serenade "Gran Partita" and a few other works. Though I don't go gaga over everything he wrote, I recognize that he had an amazing gift for melody and that his music has a clarity that is special. I would consider him one of the greats even though he isn't one I listen to a lot. Beethoven is similar. I love a few works, and recognize his genius but he isn't one I listen to very much.

    I also agree that pure 12-tone music isn't all that it's cracked up to be. It ignores a lot of the basic power of the harmonic series which is nature, after all. Does that mean I despise all 12 tone music? No. I like some of it and I think it is a useful tool for any modern composer to consider. But if I were forced to choose either ONLY tonal music or ONLY 12 tone music, it would be an easy choice.

    and yes, Bartok rules.
    Last edited by 20centrfuge; May-29-2020 at 16:25.

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  20. #195
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caryatid View Post
    I have no reservations about ranking Mozart in the highest tier of composers. He wrote plenty of lesser works, but so did Beethoven. Artists are to be judged by their greatest achievements.

    I'll concede that I'm not a fan of his way of writing for the piano, even in the concerti. The piano was a young instrument and suffered from limitations that only began to loosen substantially in the years after his death. When I listen to one of the concerti, I enjoy the opening but my interest flags during the development, largely because the piano runs out of memorable material. The mature concerti are huge dramatic conceptions orchestrally - they have no parallel in the 18th-century, to my knowledge - but the pianos of the time were too slight to elicit writing of the same magnitude. If Mozart had lived another thirty years... but he didn't.

    A few of the sonatas are great - the A minor, for example. But my favourite Mozart is in the chamber music. The late string quintets and quartets, the string trio, the clarinet quintet, the quintet for piano and winds, the piano quartets - here he is is full of inspiration and his usual tropes and formulas are used only sparingly. The first movement of the C major string quintet has been compared to the Eroica symphony, and that seems fair enough to me.

    And then what about something like this?

    I agree with every word of this post
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton

    "Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe." - Douglas Adams

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