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Thread: Yo Winspirit over here articles on Mozart

  1. #1

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    Yo Winspirit over here articles on Mozart

    I found 2 articles on Mozart, I am not challenging or endorsing them. Just food for thought.

    First Article


    Why I'm sick of Mozart

    by Norman Lebrecht

    The moment of sufficiency struck on a balmy February evening in Fort Lauderdale. My Floridan hosts had, with reckless hospitality, put on a performance of four Mozart concertos, one after the other. By the interval, my ears begged for relief and the darker cavities of my brain ached like molars to a surfeit of marzipan balls.

    Nothing psychosomatic about the pain. Exposure to an excess of Mozart is one of the
    more refined forms of water torture: the victim knows the next blob is about to drop on his skull, then another, but he is a prisoner in Row H and cannot move until set free by applause.

    One Mozart opus, decently played, is the limit of human endurance. Four is like drowning in sherry. The artists in
    Florida were all excellent; one was the exquisite Piotr Andrszewski, who has since won the coveted Gilmore Award. But as Sinfonia Concertante (K364) gave way to
    Köchel numbers 453, 271 and the hackneyed 467, ruined for ever by its treacly role in the Swedish film Elvira Madigan, my entire cerebellum rebelled.

    No more Mozart, I swore. Not for a whole year, maybe for life. It took an emergency infusion of Boulez and bottled water to restore my moral equilibrium and musical
    appetite. I am still in recovery. When the opening of the G minor symphony (K550) seeps from some-one's mobile phone on the bus, I get the shakes and have to hum an atonal snatch of early Birtwistle. It is no surprise that Mozart tops the ring-tone pops. His music was made to tinkle.

    It is so widely assumed that Mozart must be good for you that, in Alabama, the Governor sends Amadeus's greatest hits to pregnant women in the hope of turning their
    embryos into Einsteins, and in Sweden they play K467 in labour wards to ease the pangs of parturition. The Mozart Effect is becoming a tenet of nursery education. Myself, I
    am more concerned at the risk of brain rot. So I am asking the Government to slap a health warning on next month's Mostly Mozart cycle at the Barbican Centre, four
    weekends of chocolate-box concerts. The series, predictably partnered by Classic FM, is a shameless copy of a festival that has been running at the Lincoln Center for
    some 30 years, to the horror of musical aesthetes. Night after night of Mozart, mushily rendered in the August heat,
    has driven any New Yorker who can raise the price of an air ticket to Bayreuth and Salzburg for musical relief.

    They are not the first to protest.

    "Too many notes, my dear Mozart," complained Joseph II at a rehearsal of The Abduction from the Seraglio. Posterity has put the Emperor down as a pompous Philistine, but he was closer to the mark than many a music

    There has never been so fertile a melodic mind as Mozart's. He was so full of catchy tunes that he shovelled them into his music as a kid spoons sugar into his breakfast bowl when mum's not watching. Genius that he
    was, Mozart lacked the good sense or taste to ration his originality, seldom letting the mind settle on a theme while it is amplified and developed. Like a tiger butterfly, he flits off to the next bud, then the next, leaving the avid lepidopterist seething at his fickle fertility.

    FROM the four puerile symphonies that he wrote in Chelsea, aged eight, in 1764 - "Remind me to give the horns something to play," he told his sister - to the dying
    agonies of the Requiem 27 years later, Mozart splashed inspirations with incontinent abandon. Whether out of mental enfeeblement or emotional immaturity, he seemed unable to grasp the need to keep an audience gasping for more; he always gave too much, often inappropriately.

    There are profundities in The Magic Flute but they were obscured by a plethora of trivia until Ingmar Bergman got
    a grip on the opera in the 1970s. The ambiguities in Don Giovanni, suggesting some sympathy for the rotter, are left
    flapping in musical hints. Among 27 piano concertos, only two (K466 and K491) are in the reflective minor mode. The best tune in K491 is thrown away at the end; Beethoven, on hearing it, exclaimed to a colleague:
    "Cramer, Cramer, we shall never be able to do anything like that." Fortunately for the development of music, he was dead right. A tune, like a portrait, needs to be framed.

    Beethoven knew how to provide context where Mozart merely poured forth melodies. Mozart is the dividing line -the litmus test, if you like - between music lovers and those
    who merely like a good tune. He is a gift to the jingle writer, a menace to the serious musician. A world without Beethoven would be much poorer than one without Mozart.

    These are heretical thoughts, knowingly contradicting the writings of such pensive interpreters as Artur Schnabel and Alfred Brendel, who find qualities in Mozart that are denied to non-playing analysts. That said, I don't suppose Schnabel or Brendel was ever exposed to a whole evening of assorted Nachtmusik, let alone a month of Mostly
    Mozart. To get the best out of Mozart, he must be protected from compendium festivals and the boxed-set mentality that helped wreck the classicalrecord industry with indiscriminate compilations. He is, in my experience, a definable health risk. Too much Mozart makes you short-tempered.

    The first months of my Mozart-free year have been aural bliss, eliminating sweetmeats and embracing healthy fibre. I was learning to love Haydn and respect Gluck when, last
    Thursday at a friend s birthday concert at the Wigmore Hall, they slipped in the Soave Trio from Così fan tutte and I was done for. I wanted more; I craved the crowning sextet that is probably the greatest concerted aria ever conceived.

    Talking at dinner to a mathematics professor, we could not between us fathom how, with such simple intervals, Mozart penetrated the very core of the human soul. He is, tout court, a life-force. To be taken as prescribed, not to
    exceed the stated dose.

  2. #2

    0 Not allowed!

    One more article

    Everyone from Hitler to Nasa has used him. As the Barbican mounts a festival of his music, Peter Conrad wonders what Mozart means now

    Peter Conrad
    Sunday July 7, 2002
    The Observer

    'Mozart', George Solti once asserted, 'makes you believe in God.' I'm not sure I'd go quite that far, but as the Barbican tunes up for its first Mostly Mozart festival, I suppose
    we can all agree to believe in Mozart. Certainly, our society accredits what CD marketers call 'the Mozart effect': an infusion of grace, geniality and sunny enlightenment
    that supposedly makes unborn babies more intelligent if you play his music to them while they snooze in the womb.

    Ingmar Bergman's version of The Magic Flute, to be shown as part of a film season that supplements the Barbican concerts, begins by rounding up an assortment of
    children from all over the world and watches as their faces are irradiated by joy and wonder as they listen to the opera's overture. As Arthur Miller succintly put it: 'Mozart is

    Those who knew the man himself would have been astonished by his latterday enshrinement. Mozart's contemporaries insisted on his imperfections. Everyone commented
    on the pointy preponderance of his nose; even his wife Constanze admitted that she initially ignored him because he was so small, so unimportant. His size perhaps
    announced the infant prodigy's stubborn refusal to grow up. Although the nineteenth century came to think of him as a divine child, Mozart's letters reveal a mucky and
    fractious infantilism. His humour was sniggeringly coprophiliac.

    Prudish scholars used to suppress his letters to his cousin 'Bäsle', believing that their coarse teasing disgraced him. In fact, his unhinged word play and seditious punning
    offer a privileged, intimate glimpse of the restlessly ingenious genius, who once described himself - in a letter to his mother - as a dog with fleas, agitated by creative fits
    that would not let him rest.

    The romantics, overlooking these earthy foibles, raised Mozart to the sky. Berlioz acclaimed him as 'this celestial genius, whom I worshipped'. Schubert was sure of his
    redemptive power and thought that his music allowed us to eavesdrop on 'a better world'. In 1855, in a story about Mozart's journey to Prague for the first performance of
    Don Gio vanni , Eduard Mörike presented him as a seraphic innocent, extending a Christ-like charity to all comers and thereby dooming himself to be sacrificed.

    Even Mozart's name seemed to hint at supernatural parentage. He was baptised Theophilus, which he latinised to Amadeus and sometimes wrote as Amadé. This enabled
    him to boast that he was beloved of God, if not related to him. The fantasist E.T.A. Hoffmann adopted Amadeus as his own third name, hoping to graft himself on to this
    family tree. But Wolfgang and Amadeus represented alternative identities and remained at odds. Peter Shaffer's play takes Mozart's middle name as its title, but has
    Constanze address him, familiarly and undevoutly, as 'Wolfi'. Anthony Burgess, in a study published during the 1991 bicentenary of Mozart's death, set blithe Amadeus
    against the worldly detractors - Salzburg's tyrannical archbishop, the dim-witted emperor and his rancorous courtiers - whom he calls 'the Wolf Gang'. Gustav Mahler died
    babbling affectionately of 'Mozartl', whom he addressed by using a fond Austrian diminutive. Did he imagine that he was about to meet the colleague who had predeceased
    him? In 1956, it was still possible for the evangelical Protestant theologian Karl Barthto claim that, when the angels dutifully praised God, they played Bach, whereas 'when
    they are together en famille, they play Mozart - and our dear Lord listens with pleasure'. Such cosy certainty has inevitably provoked atheistic rebuttals. Nietzsche, after
    disestablishing the Christian God, needed to dispose of Mozart, too, and called him 'at bottom frivolous'. More recently, the pianist Glenn Gould blasphemed by scoffing at
    Mozart's 'occasional flirtations with gravity' in minor keys and declared that there were only eight notable bars in the G Minor Symphony, surrounded by half an hour of
    euphonious banality.

    Having deified Mozart, the romantics were then obliged to account for the death (or possibly the murder) of God. Pushkin's Mozart and Salieri, set to music by
    Rimsky-Korsakov in 1897, blamed the envious court composer for the crime; Peter Shaffer, of course, rewrote and rhetorically inflated Pushkin's terse and startling 'little
    tragedy' in Amadeus. Here, the pious Salieri (played by F. Murray Abraham in Milos Forman's film of the play, to be shown in a lengthened director's cut at the Barbican
    during Mostly Mozart) removes the crucifix from his wall after hearing Mozart's music and spurns the God who has lavished such gifts on a sniggering, unkempt,
    foul-mouthed boy. Salieri's miserable ghost will prowl the Barbican during Mostly Mozart, since the foyer music before the concerts is to be performed by the Salieri
    Quartet. He was excluded from Heaven and they are not to be allowed into the concert hall where Mozart's music will be played.

    Inconsolably aware of his own mediocrity, Shaffer's Salieri derives no joy from Mozart's death. Pushkin's Salieri, poisoning his colleague, hopes, like the apostate libertine
    Don Giovanni, to promote himself to the status of a genius by gratuitous evildoing. As the toxin begins to work, he remembers the story about Michelangelo murdering the
    model for Christ in his crucifixion. Mozart's expiry, once more, becomes a modern equivalent to the Passion: unworthy humanity exterminates its own redeemer. Hence the
    significance, for us, of the Requiem Mozart left incomplete at the end of his life.

    In Amadeus, Salieri is the mysterious masked stranger who commissions it, setting Mozart to write an obsequy for himself. Then, shedding his disguise, Salieri volunteers
    to transcribe the music Mozart dictates and, in doing so, confirms his own damnation. The Requiem (to be performed twice at Mostly Mozart) now sounds to us like an act
    of metaphysical mourning, applicable to all cases: it is used as a means of self-purgation by Silvana Mangano when she prowls for rough trade in Pasolini's film Theorem.
    The music itself has been superseded, and it seems not to matter that a good deal of the score is the work of a posthumous collaborator, jobbed in to make Mozart's
    scribblings performable.

    After the romantic deicide dramatised by Pushkin, the twentieth century killed Mozart all over again by cacophonously drowning him out. When hostilities began in 1914,
    the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus declared: 'Mozart is silent as soon as a howitzer sings.' The truth turned out to be more disturbing. Mozart, unable to avoid ideological
    conscription, eventually learned to sing the approved Nazi anthems. At first, the racial theorists of the Third Reich, worried by his Freemasonry or by his alliance with his
    Jewish librettist da Ponte, wrote him off as a bastardised Mischling . But in 1936, a cycle of his operas was broadcast from Stuttgart as a propagandist reply to
    Bolshevism. Before the relay of Don Giovanni , an announcer solemnly quoted one of Hitler's xenophobic diatribes; no one asked exactly how the priapism of a decadent
    Spanish nobleman helped to establish the militant rectitude of the Teutonic spirit.

    Mozart himself underwent eugenic revision. In a poster for the 1938 Salzburg Festival, he poses, naked, on a pedestal below a brooding nocturnal skyline of mountains. His
    nose has been rectified, his dwarfish form elongated and bulked up with muscles. The gooey marzipan man who decorates Viennese chocolate boxes is now a cultural
    warrior, eager for battle.

    The French retaliated by inventing their own Gallic Mozart. Raoul Dufy painted his portrait, wrapped in the Tricolour. Reynaldo Hahn, Proust's lover, composed an operetta
    about his love life in 1925; the music-hall warbler Yvonne Printemps, titillating in breeches, played the androgynous adolescent composer. In 1956, Jacques Ibert was
    commissioned to compose an orchestral Homage to Mozart for the bicentenary of his birth. The piece is all rococo twiddles and flurried coquettishness: classicism
    provides an antidote to the neurotic paroxysms of romantic music.

    While the myth of Mozart goes on growing, the man himself has dwindled. In 1919, Paul Klee drew a tiny, stick-limbed Don Giovanni scaling a variety of shaky ladders that
    lead to the women he wants to bed. The prodigious seducer is tiny, with fragile limbs: how can he compete with the reputation that precedes him? The same fate has
    overtaken Mozart. Shaffer trivialises him by making him, like the rest of us, a casualty of the Freudian 'family romance'. In Amadeus, his domineering father becomes the
    censorious Commendatore who condemns Don Giovanni, and his mother-in-law's nagging is transformed into the vindictive harangue sung by the Queen of the Night in The
    Magic Flute.

    The German painter Rainer Fetting made a portrait of Mozart in 1985 which to me looks authentic, though it hardly resembles the cute, candied, white-wigged sprig on the
    wrappers of the Mozartkügeln sold to Japanese tourists in Salzburg. Fetting's Mozart has a nose of the right size, with a phallic knob; his complexion is smeared and
    feverishly overexcited, his eyes stare and his lips leer. The angel is more like a satyr.

    Despite these deconsecrations, we still think of Mozart's music as a panacea. The expressionist Oskar Kokoschka designed a tapestry illustrating The Magic Flute, on
    which Tamino's flute playing beguiles and disarms wild beasts, reconvening a peaceable kingdom where all living things can be friends. In the lobby of the Metropolitan
    Opera House in New York, murals by Marc Chagall, also derived from designs for The Magic Flute, dangle from the ceiling and do their best to persuade the raucous city to
    pause and listen to the Orphic harmony of the spheres.

    Although Hitler annexed Mozart after gobbling up Austria, enrolling him in the exclusive canon of Deutsche Kunst , during the past few decades he has become a universal
    possession, newly at home in cultures that would have been entirely alien to him. Peter Sellars has relocated his operas to Manhattan: Don Giovanni deals drugs in
    Spanish Harlem, and Figaro gets married on an upper floor of the Trump Tower. Mostly Mozart includes a film of Die Entführung aus dem Serail by Elijah Moshinsky, made
    in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Turkey for Mozart was only a distant, jangling rumour, a clatter of exotic brass instruments; now his characters can actually take up
    residence there.

    And while we may not imagine concerts of Mozartian chamber music in Heaven, we know for a fact that Mozart is present in outer space. The Voyager spacecraft, probing
    the chilly gloom beyond the solar system, carries gifts for any extraterrestrial beings it might encounter. These include a brief digest of our world's music, in which the only
    operatic excerpt is one of the Queen of the Night's arias. It is pleasant to think of her coloratura resonating in that cosmic emptiness. And if there should ever be a meeting
    of minds somewhere in the black vacuum, who better than Mozart to serve as our ambassador and make out the case for our retrograde species?

  3. #3

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    Re: Yo Winspirit over here articles on Mozart

    Eltamina, thank you very much. I've read the first one, but now I have to go, hopefully tomorrow I'll have enough time to read the next one, as well as reply to this one and your music thread (the problem with this one is that before I add something to my list, I want to listen to it one more time first... and then I find myself totally lost in the music...).

    Oh btw, that first article, I would like to respond to it in Mozart's words from his letters to his cousin , but since I don't know them in English, I'll have to comment on them in my own words. :lol:

  4. #4

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    Re: Yo Winspirit over here articles on Mozart


    Here is a quote from one of my Beethoven piano books:

    Beethoven is said to have looked with disdain upon the old Mozart style of playing, which he called "finger dancing" and "manual air-sawing." Beethoven admired Clementi's playing more than Mozarts'. He endorsed Clementi's piano method from the moment it became available (around 1803).


  5. #5

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    You are working hard today, got your 100!!!!

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