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#1042863 - 12/24/08 11:25 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Otis S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 204
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Firstly, there is no evidence Mozart owned a piano until he moved to Vienna in the 1780's.
But Mozart grew up un a household with pianofortes. Einstein writes shortly after the passage that I quoted previously, “In the Mozart household there were one or more pianofortes constructed by the Regensburg clavier-builder, Franz Jacob Spaith, but when Mozart made the acquaintance of the instruments of J.A.S. Stein of Augsburg, the latter became his favorites.” There follows a passage in which Mozart describes Stein’s pianofortes (they are clearly not harpsichords). Einstein concludes the paragraph “It was for such an instrument that Mozart wrote his sonatas, variations, and concertos”. The Landon reference from my previous post re-affirms this.

 Quote:

To understand the dynamics in his work you need a considerable knowledge of practice from the composers of the 1740's, 50's, 60's and 70's - as Mozart had. I can highly recommend it.
I agree with you here. For works like k. 310, however, Mozart was really pushing things beyond what keyboards of the early 1700s could interpret. Measure 58 is actually marked ff (which is totally appropriate given the almost Beethovenian intensity of this passage), and meaures 62 pp. This piece sounds much better on a modern instrument than on earlier keyboard instruments. This is the earliest example of keyboard writing of this intensity that I am aware of and anticipates some of Beethoven’s minor key works. Do you know of any earlier works for the keyboard in a similar vein by any composer?

 Quote:

A further thought - Have you ever noticed how when children read aloud they are often drone-like using limited dynamic/pitch variations? Ask them about their favorite holiday and you'll get something totally different - and alive.
This may certainly occur. How is this relevant to our discussion?

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#1042864 - 12/24/08 04:44 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Mozart did not grow up in a household with pianos - they would have had a harpsichord and a clavichord. The word 'clavier' was often translated as piano by writers in the 19th and 20th century. The real translation is 'clavichord' from the mid 18th century. Try some book googling.

I can't comment on the FF's I'm not near my scores.

As for reading aloud, do you honestly need all the dynamics given you?

Here's an interesting chart from Authenticity in Performance by Peter le Huray
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1042865 - 12/24/08 10:24 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
adhg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/08
Posts: 21
Loc: New York
Ha, ha ha...this is amazing, I disliked Mozart for so long, always used to listen to Bach, Vivaldi, Handel and the other good guys and constantly pushed the 'skip' button when it came to Mozart.... until one day.... I heard his 23rd... I LOVED IT.

This is why I decided to take some lessons in Piano... and play Mozart :-)

enjoy the holidays!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgdxwXRD6M8

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#1042866 - 12/25/08 12:48 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Mary-Rose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/16/06
Posts: 1428
Loc: Essex, England
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Mozart did not grow up in a household with pianos - they would have had a harpsichord and a clavichord. The word 'clavier' was often translated as piano by writers in the 19th and 20th century. The real translation is 'clavichord' from the mid 18th century. Try some book googling.

[/b]
Orignally you said lack of dynamics was due to Mozart's music being for harpsichord. I had my doubts about this as the books I have read suggest he wrote most of his keyboard works for the piano, but I didn't want to argue. You now say they were for clavichord. Big difference - dynamics would be appropriate for the clavichord which responds to touch. So you have shot down your own argument, keyboardklutz.
_________________________
Best wishes from MR
http://www.extraloudpurrs.blogspot.com

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#1042867 - 12/25/08 01:08 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Mozart wrote no music for the clavichord - that was a North German thing. In Austria the clavichord was a composing or practice tool.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1042868 - 12/25/08 06:40 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Otis S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 204
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Mozart did not grow up in a household with pianos
Are you sure of this, and if so, based on what evidence? Einstein noted that the Mozart household had one or more pianos but does not specify the dates the pianos were acquired. Mozart was also exposed to pianos via his travels as a child prodigy.
 Quote:

As for reading aloud, do you honestly need all the dynamics given you?
In many cases, the answer is yes. Without sufficient instructions for dynamic levels, the performer can easily misinterpret the intentions of the composer. For example, in k. 310, the fact that Mozart has no dynamic markings for the last 33 measures of the first movement is problematic. If we literally follow his dynamic markings, then the entire section should be piano as the last dynamic marking is a piano at measure 103. However, almost no one plays the piece this way. There are too many ways this section can be varied dynamically, and since the performer has to make all of the decisions, some of them are bound to be incorrect. For example, suppose that I choose to play measure 126 forte (as many others do). This may be an entirely incorrect choice. Maybe Mozart really did want this measure to be played piano. In fact, we cannot dismiss the possibility that Mozart actually wanted the last 33 measures of this movement to be played piano just as he wrote in the score. If this is the case, then every recording and performance of this piece that I have heard interprets the end of this movement incorrectly.

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#1042869 - 12/25/08 07:02 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Otis S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 204
 Quote:
Originally posted by adhg:
Ha, ha ha...this is amazing, I disliked Mozart for so long, always used to listen to Bach, Vivaldi, Handel and the other good guys and constantly pushed the 'skip' button when it came to Mozart.... until one day.... I heard his 23rd... I LOVED IT.

This is why I decided to take some lessons in Piano... and play Mozart :-)

enjoy the holidays!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgdxwXRD6M8 [/b]
This post is right on target. Mozart's piano concerto #23 in A Major, K. 488 is a great work to listen to in order to become familiar with Mozart's piano music. The work is in 3 movements. The 2nd movement is much gloomier than the 1st and 3rd movements. The link in adhg's message is to the 3rd movement.

Adhg, if you like this work, I recommend listening to other Mozart piano concerti including 9, 14-27, and the concerto for 2 pianos (k. 365) (which is actually piano concerto #10).

Otis

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#1042870 - 12/26/08 04:00 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Otis S:
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Mozart did not grow up in a household with pianos
Are you sure of this, and if so, based on what evidence?[/b]
If you look at the chart I posted you'll see Archbishop Coloredo didn't aquire one till 1779. Do you honestly think the Mozarts, who were not very well off, would have aquired one before one of the most powerful men in Austria? There is no mention of a piano at home in any Mozart letter but in On October 3rd 1778 he writes to his father “I should also like to have beside my writing desk the clavierl [little clavichord] which Fishietti and Rust had as it suits me better than Stein’s small one.” He undoubtably encounted pianos on his travels and took an interest in the various makers/mechanisms.

Mostly you need to understand the mindset. Mozart was composing to sell (he no doubt lived by JC Bach's maxim 'My brother lives to compose, I compose to live' - in fact he took it to extremes). By the 1780's the piano allowed him to better sell himself, but the harpsichord (or clavichord) his publications. You cannot narrow his keyboard works, or his work, down to the tiny field of the forte-piano. That's to misinterpret the exigencies of financial success in the European keyboard world at the time.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Otis S:
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:

As for reading aloud, do you honestly need all the dynamics given you?
In many cases, the answer is yes. Without sufficient instructions for dynamic levels, the performer can easily misinterpret the intentions of the composer. [/b]
It was not until Beethoven that composer's began to be more specific. Mozart mostly only indicates 'this is a loud passage' 'this is a soft passage'. There is a sense that in a good performer the finer details will be filled in by the fingers rather as the voice fills it in during a speech or in conversation - mostly bypassing consciousness (but also using their knowledge of convention). To be really accurate you need to be aquainted with the genre. I suggest anyone interested in 18th keyboard music to get a copy of CPE'S Versuch - it was Mozart's bible (and Haydn's and Beethoven's and Czerny's).
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1042871 - 12/27/08 01:25 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Akvarn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/08
Posts: 35
Loc: Norway
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mary-Rose:
That's how I have felt when I was younger. Originally I thought Mozart's music was a delightful confection but not very 'deep'. There is no doubt that he did dash off some of his keyboard works without too much care and effort (eg some of the sonatas have almost no dynamics) but others are like precious gems. As I get older I appreciate Mozart more and more - that subtle yearning and sadness beneath the laughter. [/b]
I've been listening to and to some extent played intermediate pieces by Schumann the last few days. Nothing wrong with his music but Mozart seems more able to convey deep feelings with fewer notes. His music doesn't leave much to hide behind, either. Shumann, on the other hand, doesn't expose the pianist's mistakes so clearly. This clarity is probably what I have learned to appreciate about Mozart lately.

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