Lyft Industrial Deals Beauty Best Books of the Month Shop new men's suiting nav_sap_hiltonhonors_launch Learn more about Amazon Music Unlimited PCB for Musical Instruments Starting at $39.99 Grocery Handmade Tote Bags Home Gift Guide Off to College Home Gift Guide Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon Transparent Transparent Transparent  Introducing Echo Show Introducing All-New Fire HD 10 with Alexa hands-free $149.99 Kindle Oasis, unlike any Kindle you've ever held GNO Shop Now ToyHW17_gno
Customer Discussions > Classical Music forum

Why is Mozart such a big deal?


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 276-300 of 381 posts in this discussion
Posted on Jan 14, 2013, 6:33:38 PM PST
J. Nelson says:
Not so much your old pal I guess. :D

Posted on Jan 15, 2013, 3:15:34 AM PST
MacDoom says:
Barbs all round, in fact.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013, 5:44:46 AM PST
Who would have thunk it; Mozart causing so many people to be decisive. But maybe this is good in that we are letting out our true difficult Mozart feelings along with trying to understand his difficult music along with the stuff he wrote at six years of age. Oh well.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013, 8:51:12 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013, 9:22:16 AM PST
Customer says:
our old pal jacky is often divisive, that's why we love him

he makes his points in that style, or at least, he spurs the discourse ;)

Posted on Jan 15, 2013, 9:42:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013, 9:43:13 AM PST
Right now I'm working through a big box o' Wagner.
Wagner: Complete Operas (Limited Edition)
he wrote three really horrible unlistenable, young man operas the earliest when he was 20.

then came his three flawed 'early' operas that get performed and recorded on a regular basis.
then he wrote the 7 operas that I would call 'masterpieces'.
If one looks at the output of Mahler one sees the false start 'das Klagende lied',a little over a dozen early songs and a single piano quartet movement.

Debussy has his Piano trio and a few other works...

It seems that the percentage in Mozart of surviving 'early undistinguished' works is much higher than any other major composer I can think of.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013, 9:52:17 AM PST
Customer says:
"It seems that the percentage in Mozart of surviving 'early undistinguished' works is much higher than any other major composer I can think of."

Yes, Leopold influenced Wolfie to keep everything when they were touring around trying to support their family?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013, 10:00:51 AM PST
Mahlerian says:
"It seems that the percentage in Mozart of surviving 'early undistinguished' works is much higher than any other major composer I can think of."

Primarily because he was a child prodigy and started composing at a very early age. Most composers didn't even begin until they were in their teens, when they attended conservatory. Mahler once opined that it's a shame that Mozart's juvenilia were preserved. I'm sure he would be disappointed to discover that his own Piano Quartet movement ended up being published after his death.

I understand where he's coming from, but all the same, there's a certain fascination for the listener to discover how someone's technique developed over time.

That someone's juvenilia are played and recorded at all is a sure sign that they're considered great. After all, (almost) no one cares about the earliest works of Dittersdorf or Telemann, but even the most musically insignificant works of Beethoven and Stravinsky have been recorded (the latter's F# minor sonata is really insufferable).

Posted on Jan 15, 2013, 10:08:15 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013, 10:10:12 AM PST
<<<Stravinsky have been recorded (the latter's F# minor sonata is really insufferable). >>>

berg wrote 70 early songs for which about 2-dozen have been recorded.
and from what I've heard the seven he chose to orchestrate are the cream of the crop...
(the assumption is that musicians have looked at the whole lot and have chosen the most interesting ones to record...not an 100% given of course, but good enough)

I guess I'm still trying to justify NOT purchasing a 'complete mozart' box, though I do have 'complete' boxes of several others such as Beethoven, Mahler, brahms and Bartok.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013, 10:10:34 AM PST
I think those who come closest to Mozart's early productive years would be Schubert and Mendelssohn - but still not quite the same thing.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013, 10:21:19 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013, 10:22:21 AM PST
<<<I understand where he's coming from, but all the same, there's a certain fascination for the listener to discover how someone's technique developed over time.>>>
and I get a lot out of spending a weekend 'traversing' a mozart symphony cycle in numerical order(that method has flaws).
slowly growing from those short little insignificant trifles to those edifices of his last ones.

then I hear haydn's early symphonies and it is a WOW, he was writing like that from the get go?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013, 10:32:26 AM PST
DavidRFoss says:
your old pal Jacky says:
then I hear haydn's early symphonies and it is a WOW, he was writing like that from the get go?
---------------
Haydn's first symphony was written when he was 25.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013, 10:51:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013, 10:52:21 AM PST
Mandryka says:
Yes I think generally Haydn's achievement is more important than Mozart's in Symphonies and String Quartets and Keyboard Sonatas. So what you say isn't surprising.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013, 11:29:32 AM PST
J. Nelson says:
Mozart is definitely superior to Haydn. A notch below Beethoven though as is everyone else.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013, 1:54:44 PM PST
Dichterliebe says:
Mozart's early works are uneven, yet many are excellent. All this discussion of juvenilia and dismissal of anything he wrote prior to, say, K. 271 is much too simplistic. Anyone who loves beautiful music owes it to themselves to investigate just how well he composed as a youth. Are you familiar with Exsultate Jubilate? The catacombs scene in Lucio Silla? The second set of six quartets (an uneven set but there are some very good movements in them)? The Piano Concertos nos. 5 and 6? The violin concertos? The 'Sparrow' Mass? The 'Credo' Mass? The Symphonies nos. 20, 21...heck, even 12 and 14, let alone 25 - 30. How about the lovely Bassoon Concerto? This is wonderful music and anyone who thinks it's a shame these works were preserved is an idiot.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013, 4:10:41 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013, 4:10:57 PM PST
Mahlerian says:
"This is wonderful music and anyone who thinks it's a shame these works were preserved is an idiot."

I said I understood where Mahler was coming from. I also made it clear that, like you, I disagree with him. It doesn't make him an idiot. He just was sensitive, like Brahms, to the potential embarrassment of revealing one's training to the public. Stravinsky didn't really care for The Firebird. For the most part, it really doesn't represent his mature style, so I understand his position. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to give it up simply for that reason.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013, 5:15:26 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013, 5:23:35 PM PST
Dichterliebe says:
Mahlerian, you wrote:

"He just was sensitive, like Brahms, to the potential embarrassment of revealing one's training to the public. Stravinsky didn't really care for The Firebird. For the most part, it really doesn't represent his mature style, so I understand his position."

To think that it's a shame that Mozart's early works survived the ego of a 19th/20th century 'tastemaker' is idiotic, ignorant, and extremely presumptuous. I understand where he was coming from perfectly well and I think where he was coming from was an idiotic position.

It's one thing for a composer to destroy his own early works; it's quite another to wish the early works of one of the greatest geniuses music has ever produced (many of them quite fine) had been destroyed. It's not really a defensible position. You do see the difference, don't you? Mozart himself liked some of his early works enough that he continued to play them as an adult.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013, 6:12:03 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013, 6:24:39 PM PST
In terms of meaning and enjoyment, my most listened to composer after Mozart is Mahler, but I do not go along with Mahler's assessment of Mozart's younger efforts. It's not a shame if one is interested in the evolution of a genius who, as a sensation, starting playing before royalty at the age of six, and soon thereafter began a long concert tour that lasted 3-1/2 years. It can rather boggle the mind to contemplate such early development, especially when compared to so many of Mozart's contemporaries even in their maturity.

Little in the way of ideas seems wasted on the geniuses, with some of their early ideas, loves or inspiration developing later with great mastery in their mature works. But I do not fault Mahler who was speaking as one composer discussing another. I've rarely seen one great composer talking objectively or fairly about another, with perhaps the notable exception being Robert Schumann. It's not that the great composers seem blinded by their own ego, but rather they've perhaps been blinded by their particular genius and the uniqueness of their own creative vision. ♬

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013, 7:51:09 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013, 8:21:03 PM PST
Mahlerian says:
Mahler never had any interest in destroying Mozart's early works. He was sympathizing with Mozart having to deal with having his early work in the public eye. Mahler loved and appreciated Mozart's work, and programmed his operas regularly at the Vienna Hofopfer, including the relatively early fragment Zaide.

I'll have to find the exact quote again if it's that contentious.

EDIT: I've searched digitally through the La Grange tomes, where the quote came from, and wasn't able to find it. I know he said something to that effect at one point, but I don't remember it exactly.

EDIT 2: Mahler made lots of hyperbolic statements. Some of these are famous, like "My time will come when [Strauss's] is gone!" or "There are Beethoven and Wagner, and after them, nobody!", but many of them are not. He would contradict himself very often and exaggerate just because he happened to feel strongly about something at a given moment. It's just who he was. The problem is that it all got recorded, I suppose. You shouldn't take any of these statements as critical pronouncements. He didn't write books or editorials. They were just things he said.

Posted on Jan 16, 2013, 12:20:01 AM PST
Skaynan says:
I recommend to whoever wonders "why is Mozart such a big deal" (and everyone else for that matter) to watch this wonderful documentary:
In Search of Mozart

Posted on Jan 16, 2013, 7:58:06 AM PST
Dichterliebe says:
"You shouldn't take any of these statements as critical pronouncements. He didn't write books or editorials. They were just things he said."

Then why are you mentioning it in a forum re. why Mozart's music is 'such a big deal'? Why are you defending Mahler's statement ("...I understood where he was coming from...", "He was just sensitive") other than the fact that Mahler (your idol) supposedly said or wrote it? You mention something idiotic that Mahler said/wrote re. Mozart's early works as if it's worthy of consideration, you defend the statement, you attempt to liken Mahler's position to Brahms having destroyed many of *his own* early works (something entirely different), and now you dismiss Mahler's statement as an example of occasional hyperbole, that after all he wasn't a writer and it shouldn't be taken seriously.

1. The quality of music must be assessed on its own terms. To say that "Mozart's Symphony no. 29 isn't no. 41 -- it's a shame no. 29 survived" is a ridiculous statement. Mozart's early works were modern *in their day* and are some of the greatest examples of the early and mid-Classical style of the cosmopolitan/Italianate/London flavor. Who wrote a Classical violin concerto greater than K. 219 prior to Beethoven? Did Mahler also bemoan the existence of CPE Bach's music?

2. Once again, Mozart liked many of his earlier works well enough that he continued to play and conduct them later in life. For example, he performed the PC no. 5 many times during his short life; he must have thought it worthy of preservation. Additionally, Mozart wrote plenty of lighter, seemingly inconsequential works (if one can view things so beautifully composed as such) until his last days -- how does that square with Mahler's assessment? Thanks, but I'll take Mozart's opinion over yours or Mahler's any day. All this idle chatter about Mahler taking Mozart's reputation under his wing, protecting it from the public eye by wishing Mozart's early works had been destroyed is ridiculous. If anything, Mozart's early music enhances his reputation and the public has been delighted by many of his earliest works.

3. You mention Zaide as an example of how Mahler really did like Mozart's early works and conducted them, meaning he really didn't mean what he said. Zaide (1780) is not an early work. You'll have to find a better example than that.

4. Instead of back-pedaling, why not just admit that Mahler's assessment of Mozart's early works is really, really stupid? Oh, I know -- that's something you'll *never* do.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013, 9:39:48 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 16, 2013, 9:40:33 AM PST
Mahlerian says:
"Instead of back-pedaling, why not just admit that Mahler's assessment of Mozart's early works is really, really stupid? Oh, I know -- that's something you'll *never* do."

It was not an assessment of the value of his works. You are misreading or misunderstanding it.

He said on one single occasion that he commiserated with Mozart for having so much of his early work in the public eye (I don't know what he meant by early, and it could have gone back as far as the K. 100s range; the dividing line you set up at K. 271 is your own interpolation), understanding that it would be embarrassing for him, as a composer, to have so much of his own early work in the public eye. He never had an interest in hiding Mozart's early work, he never had an interest in destroying it, and it was not a sweeping denunciation of the continued performance of these works.

It was relevant to the conversation that we were having regarding Mozart's earlier works, particularly the operas (and while Zaide is not early by the standards of the Symphonies or the Concertos, it predates his "mature" operas that everybody is familiar with).

"Did Mahler also bemoan the existence of CPE Bach's music?"

I doubt he was very aware of it. In the days before the recent revival of interest in classical-era music other than Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven, other composers' works were mostly unknown, and without records, they were unheard as well.

"Why are you defending Mahler's statement ("...I understood where he was coming from...", "He was just sensitive") other than the fact that Mahler (your idol) supposedly said or wrote it?"

There are plenty of things Mahler said that I would never think of defending, including the other two I mentioned above. I was defending this particular statement because you are misrepresenting it and calling him an idiot for making it.

Posted on Jan 16, 2013, 10:03:53 AM PST
J. Nelson says:
So you aren't a Mahler fanboy I assume. Good to hear. Plus rep.

Posted on Jan 16, 2013, 10:11:22 AM PST
Dichterliebe says:
"It was not an assessment of the value of his works. You are misreading or misunderstanding it."

The composers we discuss weren't/aren't gods. They were/are flawed human beings who happened to do something we love very, very well. This is true for Mozart, Schumann, and believe it or not, Mahler. No, I'm not misreading his or your statements, much as you try to defend them while distancing yourself from them while blaming me for a lack of understanding because I'm challenging them. Mahler's statement (if he indeed made it, as you earlier claimed) is indefensible. Much as you try to spin our discussion as my faulty ability to understand, I believe I've responded in the manner it deserves.

I have to laugh at Zaide being categorized as an early work. (You're not the first to do so.) It was written to the extent we have it ending in 1780. He stopped writing Zaide in favor of Idomeneo, a work always categorized as a mature work. So everything prior to Idomeneo is 'early'? Nope. When you say it's "...not early by the standards of the Symphonies or the Concertos...", that's a meaningless qualifier. Its date is not early. Its style is not early. It's simply not an early work compared to any genre of works he was writing in 1780. At that point, we're years beyond his early period and in Mozart's development, a few years usually means several developmental strides.

(If we were to divide Mozart's compositional career into three developmental periods (Early, Middle, Late or Mature), I would say up to ~1775/76 is Early, ~1776 - ~1779 is Middle, and ~1780 onwards is Late. These aren't clear breaking points, obviously; there are works that are arguably borderline cases and some of Mozart's stylistic calling cards can be found in all three periods. I'm not sure I'd divide Mozart's life into three periods anyway as there are too many sub-periods.)

Posted on Jan 16, 2013, 10:18:09 AM PST
J. Nelson says:
Any Symphony that isn't long enough should be erased by Mahler's thinking.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013, 10:30:04 AM PST
Mahlerian says:
"Any Symphony that isn't long enough should be erased by Mahler's thinking."

Which was?

This is the man who cut down the already cut first published version of Bruckner's 5th (another decision I don't agree with).

"No, I'm not misreading his or your statements, much as you try to defend them while distancing yourself from them while blaming me for a lack of understanding because I'm challenging them."

I have not backed away from anything. I quote my initial statement without any change:
"Primarily because he was a child prodigy and started composing at a very early age. Most composers didn't even begin until they were in their teens, when they attended conservatory. Mahler once opined that it's a shame that Mozart's juvenilia were preserved. I'm sure he would be disappointed to discover that his own Piano Quartet movement ended up being published after his death.

I understand where he's coming from, but all the same, there's a certain fascination for the listener to discover how someone's technique developed over time."

And I stand by every word.

"They were/are flawed human beings who happened to do something we love very, very well. This is true for Mozart, Schumann, and believe it or not, Mahler."

Obviously. Mahler was temperamental, irascible, and extremely demanding. He would, no doubt, be hard to get along with. When did I ever say that he could do no wrong? I love Stravinsky's music, but I'd be even less willing to defend him as a person than Beethoven or Mahler.

"So you aren't a Mahler fanboy I assume. Good to hear. Plus rep."

I hope I am not a "fanboy" of anything. I prefer a balanced approach to appreciation.
[Add comment]
Add your own message to the discussion
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Prompts for sign-in
 


Recent discussions in the Classical Music forum

 

This discussion

Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  43
Total posts:  381
Initial post:  Jan 9, 2013
Latest post:  Mar 6, 2013

New! Receive e-mail when new posts are made.
Tracked by 5 customers