Author Topic: Mozart  (Read 186595 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline amw

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4908
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1320 on: December 04, 2021, 12:10:41 PM »
I can understand a lot of criticism of Mozart (perfection sacrifices spontaneity, being bound by formal conventions, everything happens twice, etc) but have never understood the "his music is too happy" claim. Mozart's major-key music in particular invariably has undercurrents of melancholy or outright tragedy, with only the finales providing the obligatory lieto fine as a way of ensuring emotional balance (or sometimes not; the finale of K503 for example remains melancholic, nostalgic and "dissociated" throughout with its few outright happy or virtuosic moments presenting as "smiling through tears".

There are a few completely happy pieces in his output with no true "contrast" or melancholy—two pieces in B-flat major, the sonata K281 and the concerto K450, come to mind—and they in turn are remarkable for their freshness and strength of character, such that one does not feel the lack of minor-key episodes or lovesick sighs or so on. But that's just a personal opinion on my part obviously.

For the Mozart piano sonatas I have yet to be convinced anyone equals the recordings by Paul Badura-Skoda although there are individual performances of various sonatas that I like as well.

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22748
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1321 on: December 04, 2021, 12:11:50 PM »
the eccentricity of preferring the Mozart Sonatas to those of Beethoven.

I'd be eternally grateful to you, dear Karl, if you could explain me in no uncertain terms what is really so eccentric in preferring Mozart's sonatas to those of Beethoven's. One or two (or as many as you wish) objectively verifiable and falsifiable criteria would be most helpful.
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22748
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1322 on: December 04, 2021, 12:15:59 PM »
I can understand a lot of criticism of Mozart (perfection sacrifices spontaneity, being bound by formal conventions, everything happens twice, etc) but have never understood the "his music is too happy" claim. Mozart's major-key music in particular invariably has undercurrents of melancholy or outright tragedy, with only the finales providing the obligatory lieto fine as a way of ensuring emotional balance (or sometimes not; the finale of K503 for example remains melancholic, nostalgic and "dissociated" throughout with its few outright happy or virtuosic moments presenting as "smiling through tears".

There are a few completely happy pieces in his output with no true "contrast" or melancholy—two pieces in B-flat major, the sonata K281 and the concerto K450, come to mind—and they in turn are remarkable for their freshness and strength of character, such that one does not feel the lack of minor-key episodes or lovesick sighs or so on. But that's just a personal opinion on my part obviously.

Amen, sister!
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 17861
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1323 on: December 04, 2021, 12:28:28 PM »
Ladies and gentlemen, the music in question is K330/i -- and there the music seems happy -- maybe not too happy, but happy nonetheless. If there are undercurrents of melancholy, or worse, outright tragedy, in that morsel, even in the minor key sections  -- well they're lost on me when Paul Badura Skoda plays them on his fortepiano.  The minor sections are happily minor.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2021, 12:56:22 PM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8250
  • Location: USA
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1324 on: December 04, 2021, 12:51:21 PM »
Any fans here of Alicia de Larrocha's recordings of his sonatas?  I've like the ones that I've heard of hers.

PD

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 62568
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1325 on: December 04, 2021, 01:48:54 PM »
Any fans here of Alicia de Larrocha's recordings of his sonatas?  I've like the ones that I've heard of hers.

PD

I've not heard her Mozart, I'm a fan generally.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline VonStupp

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 882
    • Amazon Public Profile
  • Location: Breadbasket, USA
  • Currently Listening to:
    Backtracking through my catalog
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1326 on: December 04, 2021, 02:20:17 PM »
For the Mozart piano sonatas I have yet to be convinced anyone equals the recordings by Paul Badura-Skoda although there are individual performances of various sonatas that I like as well.

For me, it is Ingrid Haebler.

VS
“All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.”

Offline amw

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4908
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1327 on: December 04, 2021, 02:47:09 PM »
Ladies and gentlemen, the music in question is K330/i -- and there the music seems happy -- maybe not too happy, but happy nonetheless. If there are undercurrents of melancholy, or worse, outright tragedy, in that morsel, even in the minor key sections  -- well they're lost on me when Paul Badura Skoda plays them on his fortepiano.  The minor sections are happily minor.
That's fair. 330/i joins 281/i and 545/i as among the most serene and untroubled Mozart first movements. My remarks were significantly more appropriate to K330/ii (in any performance).

The Mozart piano sonatas are also obviously written as teaching pieces for students; even the more difficult later ones, which are difficult mostly because Mozart's increasing compositional sophistication also made him incapable of writing truly easy music. The lightness of character is therefore intentional and doesn't characterise the pieces he intended for professional performance.

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 10422
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1328 on: December 04, 2021, 04:14:29 PM »
The Schnabel quote is of interest. It does not prop up the eccentricity of preferring the Mozart Sonatas to those of Beethoven. Obviously.

From the performers view the Beethoven sonatas are just difficult. From the listeners view the Beethoven sonatas are generally more difficult than most of the Mozart sonatas which (with a few exceptions)  aren't but easy listening for children as well as for grown up's..
As soon as a word has left the lips, not even the fastest horse can catch up with it.

Offline hvbias

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 834
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1329 on: December 04, 2021, 06:13:18 PM »
For me, it is Ingrid Haebler.

VS

I made a blind buy on this cycle several years ago when someone with similar tastes in piano repertoire recommended it, an expensive Denon reissue from Japan. I find her interpretations are too precious and dainty, like she is treating the music with 'kid gloves'. My two desert island cycles are Paul Badura-Skoda on period instruments (Astree/Naive) and Maria Joao Pires' Denon cycle, now on Brilliant Classics.
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Online JBS

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5436
  • If music be the food of love, play on!
  • Location: USA
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1330 on: December 04, 2021, 07:48:52 PM »
I'd be eternally grateful to you, dear Karl, if you could explain me in no uncertain terms what is really so eccentric in preferring Mozart's sonatas to those of Beethoven's. One or two (or as many as you wish) objectively verifiable and falsifiable criteria would be most helpful.

I have to admit that Mozart's piano sonatas are for me his least interesting works. Their emotional and compositional range seem limited compared to most of his other output. Certainly limited compared to Beethoven.

That hasn't kept me from accumulating several sets, of which van Oort is my favorite overall.   I don't have anything from PBS outside of a couple of CDs he recorded for Gramola

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8250
  • Location: USA
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1331 on: December 04, 2021, 08:08:35 PM »
Any fans here of Alicia de Larrocha's recordings of his sonatas?  I've like the ones that I've heard of hers.

PD
Sorry, my goof, I had meant to ask about the concertos; I do have some of her recordings of them and enjoy them.

PD

Offline Symphonic Addict

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4572
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1332 on: December 04, 2021, 09:15:06 PM »
madman

+ 1. Beyond mere eccentricity.

I can't disagree with them.  ;D

But that doesn't mean anything wrong, it's a matter of mere personal tastes. I'm certainly delighted to make this discussion interesting and respecting the approaches of others to the aforementioned works and composer.

I remain thinking that the combination of too much genius and a sense of tender joy cannot be benefit the whole concept as an interesting composer for each of us as independent listeners. What I like from Mozart the most is his distinctive quirkiness and "innocence" in his compositional voice. His sense of humour is nothing short of a real personality. I like those qualities, certainly so.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2021, 09:17:58 PM by Symphonic Addict »
Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven's sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

Carl Nielsen

Offline Que

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 19906
  • Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1333 on: December 05, 2021, 12:55:12 AM »
I can't disagree with them.  ;D

But that doesn't mean anything wrong, it's a matter of mere personal tastes. I'm certainly delighted to make this discussion interesting and respecting the approaches of others to the aforementioned works and composer.

I remain thinking that the combination of too much genius and a sense of tender joy cannot be benefit the whole concept as an interesting composer for each of us as independent listeners. What I like from Mozart the most is his distinctive quirkiness and "innocence" in his compositional voice. His sense of humour is nothing short of a real personality. I like those qualities, certainly so.

Mozart becomes much more interesting on period instruments!  :) And HIP tends to bring out the qualities you appreciate in Mozart much more.

In piano sonatas Pires' Denon recording is an exception to the rule. My overall favourite is Van Oort as well, but I haven't heard Badura-Skoda (OOP for years now) or Bezuidenhout.


BTW I really don't see the point in comparing Mozart with Van Beethoven...
« Last Edit: December 05, 2021, 01:28:03 AM by Que »

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22748
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1334 on: December 05, 2021, 01:46:41 AM »
it's a matter of mere personal tastes.

Of course --- and thank you.
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22748
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1335 on: December 05, 2021, 02:15:39 AM »
What I like from Mozart the most is his distinctive quirkiness and "innocence" in his compositional voice. His sense of humour is nothing short of a real personality. I like those qualities, certainly so.

Very good.  8)
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline MusicTurner

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3152
  • Location: Cph
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1336 on: December 05, 2021, 07:21:03 AM »
Mozart becomes much more interesting on period instruments!  :) And HIP tends to bring out the qualities you appreciate in Mozart much more.
(...)


BTW I really don't see the point in comparing Mozart with Van Beethoven...

I disagree, finding cases of a ~romantic colouring in recordings interesting, or a hyper-romantic one like Yudina's much more fascinating than HIP.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2021, 07:22:44 AM by MusicTurner »

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22748
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1337 on: December 05, 2021, 08:47:05 AM »
Some of you might find Fazil Say's liner notes of interest: https://file.io/slS7bHV1hCKP



This is an excellent set, if you can put up with Say's moaning and groaning.
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

Offline VonStupp

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 882
    • Amazon Public Profile
  • Location: Breadbasket, USA
  • Currently Listening to:
    Backtracking through my catalog
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1338 on: December 05, 2021, 08:54:00 AM »
I made a blind buy on this cycle several years ago when someone with similar tastes in piano repertoire recommended it, an expensive Denon reissue from Japan. I find her interpretations are too precious and dainty, like she is treating the music with 'kid gloves'. My two desert island cycles are Paul Badura-Skoda on period instruments (Astree/Naive) and Maria Joao Pires' Denon cycle, now on Brilliant Classics.

If I recommend Haebler, it comes with the caveat that they are subtle performances. There is no grandstanding or barnstorming, but there are others I find much more precious than Haebler.

VS
« Last Edit: December 05, 2021, 09:01:47 AM by VonStupp »
“All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.”

Offline Florestan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22748
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania
Re: Mozart
« Reply #1339 on: December 05, 2021, 09:14:35 AM »
If I recommend Haebler, it comes with the caveat that they are subtle performances. There is no grandstanding or barnstorming,

Agreed. Haebler's is a fantastic set, subtle and intimate --- and has the advantage of being supercomplete.



Actually, women pianists are particularly successful with these sonatas: Lili Kraus, Maria Joao Pires, Mitsuko Uchida, Alicia de Larrocha, Klara Wurtz...
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo