GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: SharpEleventh on November 23, 2016, 12:40:28 AM

Title: Early Mozart
Post by: SharpEleventh on November 23, 2016, 12:40:28 AM
What early Mozart works stand out in your opinion (however you choose to define early, I tend to think pre-K300 or something)? What is the connection between Mozart's age and the quality of his music?

Besides the obvious Piano Concerto No. 9, I was pleased to find out that his Violin Concertos (all early works) were quite fabulous (the first is my favorite), though I kind of dismissed them as uninteresting works of juvenilia at first.  Then there's the Bassoon Concerto of course and Symphony No 29.  The earliest I like is probably Symphony No 14. Few of the early works match the more complex later works in terms of... well, complexity, but simpler doesn't mean inferior to me.

Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: Jo498 on November 23, 2016, 01:55:59 AM
(not considering anything after K 271, like the K 279 ff. piano sonatas as I do not think of them as "early")

The first real piano concerto K 175 is my favorite of the ones before K 271. It seems that Mozart also liked it because he apparently composed a Rondo as substitute finale for performances much later when he had moved to Vienna. I prefer the original finale by some margin, though.
Another very good piece is the first string *quintet* K 174, probably influenced by Haydn's quartets op.20.
I would have to re-listen to the early string quartets but at least the batch numbered 8-13 is worth listening to although the gap to the quartets dedicated to Haydn is immense.
Finally, the large scale "Haffner serenade" K 250. It is not as good as the later "Posthorn" but very enjoyable (with a great rondo with concertante violin)
Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: Madiel on November 23, 2016, 02:03:44 AM
As I said at the time in the listening thread a couple of months ago, I was very pleasantly surprised by Piano Concertos 1-4.

They're not even Mozart's music in a sense, just arrangements from solo piano works, but I had expected them to be a bit dull and they were instead highly enjoyable works to listen to.

I had my first listen to the 1st String Quintet this week (K.174) and I was very happy with that as well.
Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: Turner on November 23, 2016, 02:10:19 AM
Talking of only pre-K200, & not the piano concertos, I think the Harnoncourt release of the opera "Lucio Silla" and the earliest symphonies, plus the Hagen Quartet recordings of the early string quartets, stand out in particular.

Possibly also Vegh conducting the earlier Serenades/Divertimenti, and Harnoncourt in the early sacred vocal works - I´m not familiar enough with them yet.

IMO performance is highly important in such pieces - adding more nuances and contrasts, than just an agreeable or divertimento-like playing-through of the music.

As for post-K200, I don´t have an overview yet. I´m increasingly appreciating the rich variety found in the composer.
Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on November 23, 2016, 02:23:54 AM
Mozart composed music across 31 years of his life, so I tend to think of his early works as everything written between 1761 and 1771, so between the ages of 5 (nearly six) and 15, or basically everything he wrote up until symphony no. 14 (dated 30/12/1771). During the 1770s i feel he begins to develop a much more unique voice after a decade of absorbing and imitating common styles of music he would have heard in the 1760s. Almost everything already mentioned in this thread was composed after his formative first decade of composition.

Not much really stands out as particularly original at this stage of his life, but it's interesting to see how he has absorbed the music he hears around him and learns the art of composing through imitating the styles he hears and even arranging/adapting music by others (eg symphony no. 3, the early piano concertos). With the 'Salzburg Symphonies' of 1772 i feel this is where Mozart really begins to show a unique voice that he keeps and develops further through the 70s and 80s (where his style becomes much more sophisticated) up until his death.

Some of the works i like best from this decade are his liturgical works.
Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: Madiel on November 23, 2016, 02:42:37 AM
Mozart composed music across 31 of his life, so I tend to think of his early works as everything written between 1761 and 1771, so between the ages of 5 (nearly six) and 15, or basically everything he wrote up until symphony no. 14 (dated 30/12/1771). During the 1770s i feel he begins to develop a much more unique voice after a decade of absorbing and imitating common styles of music he would have heard in the 1760s. Almost everything already mentioned in this thread was composed after his formative first decade of composition.

Not much really stands out as particularly original at this stage of his life, but it's interesting to see how he has absorbed the music he hears around him and learns the art of composing through imitating the styles he hears and even arranging/adapting music by others (eg symphony no. 3, the early piano concertos). With the 'Salzburg Symphonies' of 1772 i feel this is where Mozart really begins to show a unique voice that he keeps and develops further through the 70s and 80s (where his style becomes much more sophisticated) up until his death.

Some of the works i like best from this decade are his liturgical works.

Interesting. By that definition of "early" I don't actually have anything besides the first 4 piano concerto arrangements. After that the next works I have are all 1773/4 - some symphonies, the 1st string quintet and Piano Concerto No.5
Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: SharpEleventh on November 23, 2016, 02:53:32 AM
Mozart composed music across 31 of his life, so I tend to think of his early works as everything written between 1761 and 1771, so between the ages of 5 (nearly six) and 15, or basically everything he wrote up until symphony no. 14 (dated 30/12/1771). During the 1770s i feel he begins to develop a much more unique voice after a decade of absorbing and imitating common styles of music he would have heard in the 1760s. Almost everything already mentioned in this thread was composed after his formative first decade of composition.

Not much really stands out as particularly original at this stage of his life

How does it compare to anime songs though  (http://i.imgur.com/eM9sbaS.png)
Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: Jo498 on November 23, 2016, 02:55:31 AM
I tend to use K 271 (1777) as "cutoff" because this is undoubtedly a major masterpiece (that actually sticks out even considering somewhat later works). Among pieces before 1771 (ca. KV 114 which is the symphony Jessop mentioned) I have heard the earliest symphonies as well as string quartets and probably some church music as well but I am not sufficiently familiar to mention any piece as standing out.
Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on November 23, 2016, 03:04:41 AM
How does it compare to anime songs though  (http://i.imgur.com/eM9sbaS.png)
Anime songs are the pinnacle of all human creations.
Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: SharpEleventh on November 23, 2016, 03:10:45 AM
Anime songs are the pinnacle of all human creations.

Reported.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9f/Andrei_Zhdanov.jpg/220px-Andrei_Zhdanov.jpg)
Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on November 23, 2016, 03:44:03 AM
Reported.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9f/Andrei_Zhdanov.jpg/220px-Andrei_Zhdanov.jpg)
Two can play at this game

(http://pict.3vx.ru/120322/govorite_o_svoey_vneshnosti_neodobreniya!__dudelolcom_101.jpg)
Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: Sergeant Rock on November 23, 2016, 09:02:26 AM
The Divertimento in D major K.131, composed in 1772 when he was 16, has been a favorite for fifty years. Love the second Menuetto, featuring a quartet of horns.

Sarge
Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on November 24, 2016, 06:30:11 AM
What is the connection between Mozart's age and the quality of his music?

Strong and direct, actually... early Mozart is nowhere near the genius of late Mozart (it should be obvious, but there are indeed cases where it isn't as obvious). Because of the genius and how it sometimes shines through, and the genial style generally, early Mozart tends to be overrated (as well as weak Mozart... but that is the price one has to pay, being the most popular composer ever). Still, as you say, there are obvious ("Jeunehomme") early lodestars.

Including some symphonies, http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2014/01/best-recordings-of-2013-9.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2014/01/best-recordings-of-2013-9.html), notably for me: K.45b. One or two masses are a cut above; I can't identify them off the top of my head, though.
Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: Gurn Blanston on November 24, 2016, 06:52:48 AM
...........One or two masses are a cut above; I can't identify them off the top of my head, though.

The Waisenhaus Mass in c minor - K 47a (K1 = 139) which he wrote in Vienna in 1768, and the Dominicus Mass in C major - K 66 from 1769 could well be the two you had in mind. They are excellent no matter who wrote them or his age.

8)
Title: Re: Early Mozart
Post by: trazom on January 04, 2017, 12:16:15 AM
Since most people seem to be familiar with his early concertos and symphonies, I thought I'd recommend some early and early-ish vocal music. The litanae, my favorites being the last two, K.195(especially the agnus dei) and k.243. All four are considered major sacred music works of his early career, but those two are particularly beautiful and ones I know well enough to confidently recommend. I don't see them discussed very often, which is a shame. The recitative and aria "Ah, lo prevido" k.272 is equally beautiful.

Favorite early solo/chamber works include his first piano trio k.254, the first of his string quintets k.174, sonata for four hands in D major k.381(actually written in 1772) and the three divertiment k.136-138. All very interesting and beautiful in their own way and worth a listen if you don't know them.

And after maybe my 5th time editing,  I forgot to mention two short serenades very different in character but also very strongly recommended: k239 and 286, the first being very witty and humorous, the latter an excellent example of Mozart's ability for finding and incorporating countless varieties of pastoral expressions – allusions to sounds of nature, folk-song quotations, use of drones and horn calls, musical references to the hunt, extensive use of dance forms- into a succinct, well-crafted, and accessible work.
Title: Early Mozart
Post by: B_cereus on January 14, 2017, 11:12:15 AM
The 'little G minor' symphony k183 :) Probably made famous by its use in opening the film Amadeus