Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Mozart

Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart was born today, the 27th of January, in the year 1756.

Posthumous painting by Barbara Krafft in 1819.

Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat. KV.364

Issac Stern (Violin), Pinchas Zukerman (Viola), and 
Zubin Mehta conducting The New York Philharmonic Orchestra. 1980 . 
Part I | Part II

Three Quotations via  
Phil. G. Goulding's "Classical Music: The 50 Greatest Composers"

"No instrumentation over-refined or over-laden; no development too complex or too slight. Everything is in perfect proportion to everything else–everything is just as it should be. . . For Mozart, besides having genius, had talent; he is one of the few composers in the world who had both, and that one reason is why he is unique."
- a 19th century music critic

"Before God, and as an honest man I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me, either in person or by name. He has taste, and, what is more, the most profound knowledge of composition."
- Joseph Haydn

"A phenomenon like Mozart is an explicable thing."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Mozart's abnormal receptiveness gave him the most complete grasp that has yet been known of that diatonic system which is the basis of European musical training. This may seem an extravagant claim, but we can explain many a Mozartian tour de force only by recognizing that the man could cary in his head not just chords, their inversions, and  few "stock" contrapuntal gambits–for these served all musicians of talent–but the discords, suspensions, and contrapuntal ornaments most of us, even to-day, have to work out, as we do a mathematical problem.

[This passage from the D major Quintet], not a particularly ambitious work, could have been written by no other composer, ancient or modern. Yet its movement opens tamely and serenely and is not disturbed by the writing itself. To hear the passage without seeing it on the score paper, is to be unaware of its astounding technical virtuosity. Thus easily does Mozart seem to have acquired the style; this is a measure of his superb taste."
- Arthur Hutchings, in his "Companion to Mozart's Piano Concertos"

An insightful discussion of Mozart and Così fan tutte with classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz from 2006, the 250th anniversary the composer's birth. (A discussion brought to my attention just today by my esteemed co-blogger Mr. Northcutt.)

Other Mozartiana here at APLV:

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