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Thread: What is it about Mozart? A Confessional Thread

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    How much you appreciate the aesthetics can depend on your personal values. In my view, "certain later music" feels like you can take several notes away and it'll still sound good, but I don't quite feel this way about the Baroque, Classical masters you mentioned. I think it's analogous to Classical art vs contemporary art (in visual art), I would say contemporary stuff can be more original on the outside, but if you look differently, Classical art achieves just as much through intrinsic factors such as discipline and craftsmanship. I think the Baroque, Classical guys are teaching us a life lesson. "You can still achieve so much without being pretentious."

    Interesting that this discussion is, I think, more fruitful than the way this thread was set up. I'm now on the other side! My general view is that you need a structure of expectations in order to deviate from them in an interesting, exciting, moving, pleasing (whatever suits you) way. If you lose the structure of expectations you lose the possibility of being interesting. Bach and Haydn (with Brahms following) are for me the masters of living within a structure but using that to generate emotion and excitement by how they manipulate it.
    Last edited by Eclectic Al; May-27-2020 at 20:11.

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  3. #32
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    One of our members, Nereffid, did a series of composer polls simply asking people if they liked various composers (over 600). 229 members participated, but not everyone took every poll (there were many). 69 said they liked Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, and Brahms. More may have liked all of them but didn't participate in all the polls.

    Of the 69, 3 indicated they did not like Mozart. There were 7 who liked Bach, Beethoven, and Haydn and also did not like Mozart. An additional 5 liked Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms but did not like Mozart. (I hope I did this correctly).

    So perhaps you are a bit rare, but clearly there are a reasonable number who like at least 3 of Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, and Brahms who don't like Mozart.

  4. #33
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    I’d add that there are some composers that I simply adore now that I didn’t “get” at all 25-30 years ago. Some of those being JS Bach, Haydn, and Verdi. I also came to the Mozart operas later in my listening career. I got into Mozart by learning his Horn Concertos in High School (I’m 53 now). Only later came to appreciate his Symphonies, Masses and operas...esp. Don Giovanni and Figaro. Maybe you’ll come to these works later in life. I still often prefer Haydn to Mozart as a symphonist but the operas are sublime...especially the Da Ponte operas.
    Last edited by Gray Bean; May-27-2020 at 20:39.

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  6. #34
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Bean View Post
    I’d add that there are some composers that I simply adore now that I didn’t “get” at all 25-30 years ago. Some of those being JS Bach, Haydn, and Verdi. I also came to the Mozart operas later in my listening career. I got into Mozart by learning his Horn Concertos in High School (I’m 53 now). Only later came to appreciate his Symphonies, Masses and operas...esp. Don Giovanni and Figaro. Maybe you’ll come to these works later in life. I still often prefer Haydn to Mozart as a symphonist but the operas are sublime...especially the Da Ponte operas.
    The problem is that Mozart was only just hitting his stride as a symphonist with the last three great symphonies when he sadly died.

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    Quote Originally Posted by consuono View Post
    Why? Haydn's piano sonatas are superior to Mozart's. Subjectively, of course. But that seems to be the consensus. Mozart's piano sonatas are really not among the greatest in the genre, and I don't know why that is. Maybe deep down he just didn't like the form.
    I think with the Haydn piano sonatas I may indeed get there in due course. I will keep trying. I sense that they are too radical for me. Was he experimenting in a very personal way with those, rather than pleasing patrons? Genuine question, as I am not knowledgeable about the history.

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    When people say Mozart's music is predictable, what they mean is that it sounds inevitable - once you hear it, you feel it couldn't have been any other way. But it's not predictable at all.

    I would suggest reading The Classical Style by Charles Rosen. It may not make you like Mozart, but might give you a better idea of what people hear in him.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    The OP is almost an exact mirror of my preferences. Mozart probably comes in around #10-13 on my favorite composer list, but the only works of his I’d include in my personal top 100 compositions are his Clarinet Quintet, Clarinet Concerto, 4th String Quintet (if you don’t think you like Mozart, try this one!), and maybe the last two symphonies. Generally I love his chamber music, like his piano music, later symphonies, and sacred choral music a lot (though my mind always wanders off in the Requiem after the thrilling opening sequence and Dies Irae), am lukewarm on most of his concerti (yes, even the famous piano concerti) and don’t much care for the operas. For me he is more of a composer I put on when I want to “de-stress” and “relax” rather than to deeply engage my mind. I have never been able to understand the depths of sublime profundity that people say they find in the 20th piano concerto, Requiem, Don Giovanni, and Figaro. Maybe it’s just because I’m a very analytical person who wants to overthink everything and I get intensely annoyed at his repetitive harmonies (cadence that goes like this: ascending chromatic scale - da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da TRIIIILLLLLL-doo-doo-doo - AAARRRGGHH IT DRIVES ME CRAZY). Sometimes I get frustrated, wondering why he is considered such a genius when I can see little deeper in him than beguiling tunes and the occasional deeply inspired moment. I can understand that even in Bach, my favorite composer, there are lots of repetitive harmonies and figurations but I always find Bach so deliriously unpredictable and challenging, marrying emotional sensousness and intellectual rigor in perfect proportion. The only Mozart works I feel that way about are his fantasias for piano (which are strikingly composed), the 40th symphony, the 24th piano concerto, and lots of his chamber works. But when I’m in the mood for him, he hits the spot just like a chocolate bonbon. I do love Haydn, BTW, and think he is just as consistent across all genres as Mozart.
    Last edited by Allegro Con Brio; May-27-2020 at 21:21.
    "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

  12. #38
    Senior Member S P Summers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    The problem with your preferences is that unpredictable music becomes quite predictable once you've listened extensively to a particular work.
    Even if that's the case, that's just the type of music I'm attracted to. Perhaps that's why I have such a gigantic music collection.

    I go through phases with pieces/composers that I listen to daily, and listen to my albums that are more abstract or avant-garde in nature in rotation.

    I'm not constantly listening to Xenakis, Schoenberg, and Wyschnegradsky, for example; but I'll listen to them occasionally. Sorabji and Messiaen used to be in that category, but I listen to both of them quite frequently now.

    There's no shortage of incredible, unpredictable music!

  13. #39
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S P Summers View Post
    I can't listen to predictable music, which is all that baroque and classical is. I need originality, unpredictability, and piano virtuosity. I have difficulty with any piece that doesn't check those three boxes.
    These don't check those boxes for you?





    Last edited by Allegro Con Brio; May-27-2020 at 21:19.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    The problem is that Mozart was only just hitting his stride as a symphonist with the last three great symphonies when he sadly died.
    Indeed, who knows what Mozart might have achieved , given a longer life. Perhaps my respect for Schubert is because his String Quintet, say, seems so wise, an old man's music, in a way that I don't get with Mozart. Is that because Schubert felt mortality calling with a certainty that Mozart did not? Apologies if my lack of interest in the history means that this is nonsense.

  15. #41
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    I have some trouble with Mozart and I listen to Haydn more. I still consider him the best composer of concerti.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    The OP is almost an exact mirror of my preferences. Mozart probably comes in around #10-13 on my favorite composer list, but the only works of his I’d include in my personal top 100 compositions are his Clarinet Quintet, Clarinet Concerto, 4th String Quintet (if you don’t think you like Mozart, try this one!), and maybe the last two symphonies. Generally I love his chamber music, like his piano music, later symphonies, and sacred choral music a lot (though my mind always wanders off in the Requiem after the thrilling opening sequence and Dies Irae), am lukewarm on most of his concerti (yes, even the famous piano concerti) and don’t much care for the operas. For me he is more of a composer I put on when I want to “de-stress” and “relax” rather than to deeply engage my mind. I have never been able to understand the depths of sublime profundity that people say they find in the 20th piano concerto, Requiem, Don Giovanni, and Figaro. Maybe it’s just because I’m a very analytical person who wants to overthink everything and I get intensely annoyed at his repetitive harmonies (cadence that goes like this: ascending chromatic scale - da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da TRIIIILLLLLL-doo-doo-doo - AAARRRGGHH IT DRIVES ME CRAZY). Sometimes I get frustrated, wondering why he is considered such a genius when I can see little deeper in him than beguiling tunes and the occasional deeply inspired moment. I can understand that even in Bach, my favorite composer, there are lots of repetitive harmonies and figurations but I always find Bach so deliriously unpredictable and challenging, marrying emotional sensousness and intellectual rigor in perfect proportion. The only Mozart works I feel that way about are his fantasias for piano (which are strikingly composed), the 40th symphony, the 24th piano concerto, and lots of his chamber works. But when I’m in the mood for him, he hits the spot just like a chocolate bonbon.
    Someone agrees with me at last! The only difference is I'm more partial to Piano Concerto 23. I'll have a bit more of a go at 24! I am not familiar with the fantasies.

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  18. #43
    Senior Member S P Summers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by consuono View Post
    I don't know that you can have virtuosity and unpredictability at the same time...
    Prokofiev
    Shostakovich
    Ornstein
    Gershwin
    Messiaen
    Dohnányi
    Scriabin
    Khachaturian
    Ives
    Bartók
    Feinberg
    Liszt
    Ginastera
    Schoenberg
    Sorabji
    Rzewski

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  20. #44
    Senior Member S P Summers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    These don't check those boxes for you?





    I'll give the chromatic fantasia and BWV 830 another listen. I'm not a fan of the keyboard concerti, sadly. It's really not the type of music I listen to for recreational purposes.

  21. #45
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectic Al View Post
    Someone agrees with me at last! The only difference is I'm more partial to Piano Concerto 23. I'll have a bit more of a go at 24! I am not familiar with the fantasies.
    Oh, the slow movement of PC 23 is maybe my favorite individual Mozart movement (almost sounds like a Chopin nocturne!), but the outer movements don’t do much for me. For No. 24 it’s the complete opposite. Do check out the fantasias; Hammeredklavier would be more than happy to break down every bar of them and tell you how they’re masterpieces of the keyboard and how they anticipate Wagner’s harmonies - it’s quite a different kind of music than you might be expecting from Mozart.
    "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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