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A Companion to Mozart's Piano Concertos 2nd Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0193184046
ISBN-10: 0193184044
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About the Author

Arthur Hutchings is the late Professor of Music at the Universities of Durham and Exeter. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (1950)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0193184044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0193184046
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,943,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This, the most famous study of the Mozart piano concertos, is one of those books it is possible to read over and over again without any loss of the initial delight.
I first read this book because I became confused about how concertos are meant to"work". They did not seem at all like symphonies, with the usual exposition, development and recapitulation, and it was very hard to see what really was going on. Hutchings, building on the earlier and equally famous work by esp. Tovey and Girdlestone, traces the development of the unique Mozartian conception from its naive beginnings to the supreme examples we think we are familiar with.
Several points emerge from this. The first, overwhelming impression is that Mozart's ability is, if anything, greatly underrated. We admire Mozart for his pretty tunes perhaps; but Hutchings shows that his real genius lies in his structural understanding of music. As structural masterpieces, his mature piano concertos have never been rivalled; not by Beethoven, nor by Brahms, nor by the twentieth century protests against romanticism. Perhaps you may think that analysis of music destroys its worth; but Hutchings demonstrates the opposite. Understanding the vast effort that must have gone into these works greatly increases one's sympathy with the composer and his works. And it gives rise to a little sadness: perhaps Mozart was a dead end, who in some ways never gave rise to any further developments (unlike, say, a Haydn-Beethoven-Romanticism route). In the piano concertos, the greatest aspects of his (largely) operatic are on full display; and, as Hutchings says, these include unique features such as his way of writing for the winds, that died when he died.
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Format: Paperback
Not having gone near this book for years - and with the Real Boss being otherwise occupied - I pulled it down from the shelf and started to leaf through it. It was much better than what I remembered it to be. But then, all of a sudden, a Knob-o-Meter went off at 110 decibels. Deeply alarmed, I looked around. Nothing was awry. Perhaps it was a passing car, I told myself. I started to read the chapter on K 503. It happened again: the blare of a Knob-o-Meter filled the room. Agitated and somewhat deafened, I quickly logged on and checked the internet. The world was at peace. Bubbles the Chimp is having more surgery done on his sewage pipe. Good stuff: the Melbourne Football Club is training the house down in preparation for the 2013 AFL Season. Then, in an act of intuition, I logged onto Amazon and read the reviews of Arthur Hutchings' book . . . . . . Bingo. We have a winner - and what a winner he is (you will find his review in the comment below).

Now, I am not a "music historian, amateur musicologist, discoverer of the mummy of Akhenaten, conqueror of K2, lover of the 18 year old Catherine Zeta Jones and an accomplished pianist who's read every book ever published on Mozart and his music" (please excuse me while I mute that Knob-o-meter). I am not currently performing K 456 to the acclaim of Mrs Palmer and her Five Daughters on Parnassus. I am just a slob in Melbourne who loves Mozart.

This is not a bucket-job on Mozart's piano concertos. Trust me. God forbid that Hutchings should distinguish between K 242 and K 488. God forbid that he should have his favourites among the Armada. God forbid that a distinguished scholar such as Cliff Eisen should lend his expertise to update this tome where required (Note: he should have sought the permission of Mister Parnassus).
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Format: Paperback
I am a music historian, amateur musicologist, and accomplished pianist who's read every book ever published on Mozart and his music, and this is by far one of the most annoying, useless books I've encountered in that time. There are some brief introductory pages on the history of the concerto form, which are generally interesting, but the bulk of the book is a concerto-by-concerto "analysis", which is absolutely worthless; (1) because there isn't really much analysis at all, merely vague descriptive metaphors about what each movement reminds the author of and (2) each one is so short it's like you're reading the bad liner notes of a cheap CD, several of the all-important Vienese concerto movements are only afforded a single paragraph each--generally a dismissive excuse as to why that movement isn't worth his time or effort in writing...a companion analysis? hardly.

Which gets to the real root of the problem, Hutchings treats practically every single one of the concerto entries with disdain and hyper-criticism based not on any real comparative analysis to other works, but from his own pompous, bombastic and overly-opinionated views...heck, he even opens a criticism-rich chapter of one my favorite concertos (the early D major) with (and I quote him directly here) "I don't like this concerto".
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