Mozart plus and minus

Opera on DVD last night with friends, Marriage of Figaro (Mozart), one of the best recordings of all time from the Royal Opera House with Pappano and a great cast. Singing blissful, much enhanced by sublime acting and seriously good direction. Only problem is I always forget how long this opera is. I love Mozart at any one minute white listening, but… the music always seems to live within some kind of constraint that, for me, makes it less fulfilling than, say, Verdi, or Mahler. I am well aware that Mozart is sacrosanct and that stylistically he is of his period (and a great innovator within it), still, the fact remains, that I can admire, even feel faint at the beauty of it, but don’t have the same feel of new horizons found, or enlargement of mind and senses as I do with, say, Verdi.

Not the most coherent analysis – and I am not a musician – just trying to put inchoate feelings into words. I guess that’s what writers try to do.

One thought on “Mozart plus and minus

  1. I read an article about Dvorak in the Guardian many years ago.The author claimed that Dvorak had done nothing to advance the composition of music. This is obviously true, but why would it be a complaint? Both in words and music we tend to work within agreed conventions. If we go too far beyond them the audience, if there is one, won’t be able to follow us. Who wants to listen to a piece of music they can only hope to understand after reading an explanatory essay by the composer? And even where we understand it, we will lose the feeling for it.

    (To take an obvious case in words, I have yet to meet a reader who enjoyed Finnegan’s Wake.)

    The author of the article suggested that all Dvorak was able to do was write good tunes. An amazing gift. I can only assume he’d never tried it himself.

    I have often thought about pinning down my thoughts on Mozart, but have never got round to it.
    The most recent goad was a CD review on Radio 3 where both the speakers were totally wide of the mark on a point of fact – despite having the evidence staring them in the face. They were discussing Piano Concerto No 9. They had not taken the time to think it out, ‘it’ being the name usually, and wrongly, attached to this concerto and Mozart’s ability to pronounce French.

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