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Topic: Music News: Researchers Unveil Mozart Piano Pieces in Austria

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Orcas Island

    Post Music News: Researchers Unveil Mozart Piano Pieces in Austria

    Associated Press Reports
    "...two newly identified Mozart works unveiled Sunday are helping scholars complete their assessment of the maestro's very early achievements.

    The childhood creations — an extensive concerto movement and a fragmentary prelude — provide yet more proof the Salzburg native was a true prodigy. And maybe a bit of a showoff.

    "We have here the first orchestral movement by the young Mozart — even though the orchestral parts are missing — and therefore it's an extremely important missing link in our understanding of Mozart's development as a young composer," said Ulrich Leisinger, head of research at the International Mozarteum Foundation after a presentation of the pieces in Mozart's native Salzburg.

    ...Leisinger said Mozart likely wrote the two newly attributed pieces when he was 7 or 8 years old, with his father, Leopold, transcribing the notes as his son played them at the keyboard.

    ...The latest finds add "important details" to what we know about the young Mozart's work, said Christoph Wolff, professor of music history at Harvard University, who is also director of the Bach Archive in Leipzig, Germany.

    "The Salzburg discovery offers significant insight into the earliest accomplishments of Mozart," Wolff said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

    The Salzburg-based foundation, established in 1880 and a prime source for Mozart-related matters, seeks to preserve the composer's heritage and find new approaches for analyzing him.

  2. #2

    Re: Music News: Researchers Unveil Mozart Piano Pieces in Austria

    Sean will enjoy it for sure...

  3. #3

    Re: Music News: Researchers Unveil Mozart Piano Pieces in Austria

    I've always been leery of any of those reports of just how much of a genius the child Mozart was, particularly when we know that his father "transcribed" his music for him.

    There are far too many myths about Mozart's genius that were more part of the showmanship side of the massive promotion his father engaged in than actual evidence of his "genius".

    I don't mean to say by this that Mozart was not a musical genius, but rather that we really need to toss in a few grains of salt when deling with just HOW MUCH of a genius he was.

    One example is the myth that Mozart never sketched out works but wrote them fresh, springing from his brow, complete and masterful. This is patently false. There are extensive Mozart sketchbooks. This single myth has been the bane of young composers for the last 200 years, making every one feel somehow inferior and "lesser" because of their inability to repeat this same feat.

    Whether Mozart was able to improvise complex pieces at the keyboard or not, there have always been composers able to improvise at the keyboard. That Mozart supposedly then transcribed the music and wrote it down... just how much proof do we have that this post-written music is the same music as what was improvised? Sure, we have a copy of what he wrote on paper. But is it EXACTLY the same music as what he had previously improvised? Is only the theme similar? How much development did he put into the written version?

    Let's just say that I, for one, am one of the skeptical ones when it comes to these issues pertaining to Mozart's particular musical abilities.

    The reason I am skeptical is that I've seen some modern child prodigies, and read the extensive praise heaped on them, but been sorely disappointed when I've finally been able to hear what these children produced. The praise was overblown and exaggerated.

    I really believe the same is true of Mozart.

    (p.s. I DO think he was a musical genius. I think his greatest works ARE masterpieces. I just don't buy into the period hype.)

  4. #4

    Re: Music News: Researchers Unveil Mozart Piano Pieces in Austria

    I'm right with you qccowboy. Not that I don't think there could be such prodigious talent as the legends suggest - after all, there are autistic children who come into the world seemingly with a fully formed ability to do something. I saw one on tv a few months ago who performed mental calculations that were simply incredible, in fractions of a second. But all the evidence sems to suggest that Mozart's talent was over-egged. I have some of his sketchbooks, and there are some distinctly unconvincing harmonic progressions amongst them.

    In fact I think the 'genius' of some past composers is totally over-rated - not just the prodigiousness of it. We almost revere Bach, Mozart and Beethoven as though they never put a note wrong, and every work they wrote is equally worthy of deep study. Quite frankly I think they all wrote their share of uninspired rubbish. Beethoven's 'Wellington's Victory' is utter crap, unworthy of a first year student. Mozart's 'Ave Verum Corpus' is one of the ugliest sounds a choir can make.

    And, quite apart from the outright mistakes, they all wrote a lot of B-sides. Mozart's piano concertos have a few stand out moments, but more where they all sound the same - same old scales, arpeggios and trills going through the same old modulations. It's not his fault. He was a jobbing musician, and had to keep the public's interest. So he was hardly 'digging down' for mighty inspiration with each and every work - sometimes it was just a case of doing what he knew he could do...again. There's no doubt that there is genius there, but I think the 'veneration' that music history has given him is massively overplayed.

    We don't mind being more honest about the musicians who live amongst us. I can say that Karajan conducted some sublime Beethoven, but couldn't do Stravinsky to save his life. I'm allowed to say that the White Album is a moment of genius, but, in the same breath, declare that 'Ebony and Ivory' shouldn't ever have seen the light of day. So why does it seem almost like blasphemy to suggest that Mozart wrote some pretty ordinary stuff?

  5. #5

    Re: Music News: Researchers Unveil Mozart Piano Pieces in Austria

    Ah yes, all so true, qccowboy and Pingu. But, remember, Mozart didn't have TV and Wii to keep him busy...

    I agree with you both. I believe he was a genius (at least in the musical world) but how much of his early childhood genius was, as qccowboy describes, the controling talent of his father? We'll never know.

    Best Regards,

    P.S. Is someone going to transfer the notation Garritan posted into the Aria Engine?
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  6. #6

    Re: Music News: Researchers Unveil Mozart Piano Pieces in Austria

    I do not mind the myths about my genius abilities. But if any man with commen sense reads my genuine letters (which were meant to be private) he can see the falseness of the myths.

    Apropos, I'm glad I'm finally getting the recognition I deserve for these pieces. Papa didn't help me, I did it all by myself!

    Your obedient servant,

    W. A. Mozart

  7. #7

    Re: Music News: Researchers Unveil Mozart Piano Pieces in Austria

    We all know the myths about Mozart are true; they are proven in the film Amadeus! Displace one note and there will be diminishment. Displace one phrase and the structure will fall!

    Anyway, this is very interesting... although it seems they weren't really "discovered" but rather just now "confirmed" as being written by the young Mozart ... I wonder what was keeping them from being "confirmed" before? Just lack of interest in analyzing them? And I also wonder what specifically about the style led whoever it was that analyzed these pieces to confirm that it was young Mozart's style?

    Anyway, it seems you can listen and view the scores to these pieces here: http://mozarteum.at/00_META/00_News_...14254&ID=15287

    Interesting stuff
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Wilton, NH

    Re: Music News: Researchers Unveil Mozart Piano Pieces in Austria

    I'm a little under half way finished with Maynard Solomon's book on Mozart. It's an interesting read. From what I've read here and elsewhere, I also tend to pretty much take Michel's view point on this.

    As far as David/Pingu's statements - has anybody ever read late 19th century writings on Beethoven? He was a god made of marble that was perfect in every way. He only had one or two very noble emotions - everything else is below him. For instance, if you hear humor in his work, it is just your lack of understanding. etc., etc. Some of the old books on Mozart and Beethoven are good only for a laugh...
    Trent P. McDonald

  9. #9

    Re: Music News: Researchers Unveil Mozart Piano Pieces in Austria

    To be honest I don't think it's a big mystery:

    - Mozart was for sure a very strong musician, with uncommon creativity and formal view: that was certainly visible even during the young "enfant prodige" time of his life.

    - Part of his musical strenght is for sure a result of the massive and early training, frequently cruel and unnaturally intense and severe, done by his father Leopold with the questionable target of producing a "money maker monkey" to show in the royal courts tour he did. But everybody can understand that a father considering him self a good musician, and recognizing in the son some talent, had to be excited and did some training for pride and love also, doing everything he was able to do for creating a master.

    - As all of us experienced studying composition, the first manuscript of our music is quite far from the last version filtered by the Teacher. I had some teacher totally "rewriting" my work to a final "at least musical, formally correct, and error free version". It was more or less the didactic of arts in the baroque age, were the masters of music or handcraft were teaching pupils during real work, producing finished and acceptable goods, where day by day the intervent of the master was less, and the creation of the pupil more, up to the total independence.

    - looking to the average skills of actual young genious, and looking to the kind of works made by the child Mozart, you may suppose with a very high probability of being right:

    1) the style is poor, childish and close to "galante Italian style": it's compatible with the time of travels to Italy, and first training in composition, and it's compatible with the process of elaboration by imitation of patterns and formulas of a young composition student. he was studying clavicord and so composing he was replicating lot of the pattern he was playing every day during study of Father's and other master easy clavicord pieces. I did more or less the same when I was 6 to 9 year old, (of course not so early nor so good as Mozart, I know...LOL..)

    2) the form is so clean that is obvious the help, for didactic purpose, of the father: the child is usually more open to creative and formally unbalanced solutions, and the teacher had to keep the ideas, but to reconduct it to more formal style: if you do it with any child probably something similar is the result.

    Then if you know about what's "human" and what's not, and about the style and love for "mirabilia" of Mozart's time, I think that everything is clear and quite out from mystery and miracles.

    A very important consideration has always been to me:
    - the best masters of all time had professional musicians parents, and were trained to composition very young. (just few names for all: Bach, Mozart, Behetoven...but many many others)

    I think it's a mixture of genetics and education: they were for sure genetically proven (because the parents had already success in music) but probably the main think is they had music around all day long for the full youth.

    It should suggest that underestimating the importance of early training of children is a real crime.

    my 2cents ...and one half.

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