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#1042833 - 12/21/08 11:01 AM From "nothing" to genius
Akvarn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/08
Posts: 35
Loc: Norway
I have never cared much for Mozart's music - not my cup of tea. Everyone says he was a genious but I never understood - his music just wasn't "serious" enough.

A while ago I decided to give his music a try so I bought a book with 15 intermediate Mozart pieces. It is so much fun to play. Playing Mozart's music has taught me to appreciate his musicality and the qualities of his compositons. I find his short pieces perfect for aquiring good tecnique since they require great attention to details for that "Mozart sound".

Has anyone else experienced that playing a certain composer's music opened a new and unexpected musical world?

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#1042834 - 12/21/08 11:26 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Euphonatrix Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/06
Posts: 518
Loc: Hessen, Germany
Yes. I had similar experiences with Bach and Schumann and now hope to come to new terms with Chopin (whom I don't like so far).

Playing music works like a miracle ...

Just wondering whether it can happen the other way round as well - that you love a composer but start to hate his/her music as soon as you start playing it?
_________________________
"The creative process is nothing but a series of crises."
(Isaac B. Singer)


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#1042835 - 12/21/08 11:34 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
my teacher thinks Mozart and Bach are his top 2 favourites, and many serious pianists think the same.

i always find Mozart difficult to play, not about learning notes but playing well. when your techniques are not up to it, it shows. the same could be said about Scarlatti, whose music also requires that particular 'sound', which unless you can play well you're not going to produce that right sound.

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#1042836 - 12/21/08 12:50 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
BWV846 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/07
Posts: 29
Loc: New York, New York
The Other Side of the Keyboard

I have always loved classical music. It is a major part of my life--as major as could be without being a professional musician. I spend a lot of time listening to it and constantly being enriched by it.

However, in all my listening time there have been some composers that I just couldn't grab onto. Chopin, Schubert, some Mozart...some others that just didn't do it to me as a listener. I attribute that to my mostly liking a Romantic sound of a full orchestra. I could listen to orchestra music all day. The sound of a piano (admittedly on the radio or CD) would acoustically tire me out fairly soon.

Then about ten years ago I started teaching myself the keyboard. The advent of practical electronic instruments meant that I could afford to have a reasonable one with which to learn.

I plugged away for some time and got a respectable sound and technique--my handle BWV846 refers to the first prelude of Book 1 of Bach's WTC--a piece of musical wonderment that always amazes me when I play it.

I found the book that has all the sample tunes on my keyboard (Yamaha P60) I started listening to them and reading along with the sheet music. (My musical score reading abilities are quite good.) As I tried to play these pieces--still well beyond my present abilities--I could feel myself appreciating Chopin and Schubert more and more. Being on the side of the keyboard that MAKES the music is a different feeling that being on the listening side. Playing these pieces even with my usual big faults is wonderfully satisfying.

Playing the keyboard has tremendously helped my listening abilities. I used to listen to orchestra music and enjoy the changing tibre of the sound. With a keyboard I am listening more to the structure of music and appreciating it even more.
_________________________
Joseph

"If at first you succeed, try to hide your astonishment."

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#1042837 - 12/21/08 04:52 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3577
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Akvarn:
I have never cared much for Mozart's music - not my cup of tea. [/b]
There must have been some "strange brew" in your teacup :p

The piano works are, of course, simply outstanding - but if you want to hear Mozart at his very best check out his series of pieces known as "Serenades" or "Divertimenti" (usually for smaller chamber orchestra) - there is nothing more delightful or enjoyable in the entire Classical music realm! (piano transcriptions are available).

Regards, JF
_________________________
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1042838 - 12/22/08 03:59 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...
Check out the Mozart Sonatinas. They are arrangements but are at an easyish level and delightful.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1042839 - 12/22/08 06:55 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Oxfords Gal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Thanks for this post Akvarn, I'm too not crazy about Mozart but I'm going to look at the pieces in that book to see if I develop a taste for him. The "fun to play" caught my interest.

If it doesn't work out for me it's no big deal there are plenty of composers and their music which I love but good to hear that you gave it a chance.
_________________________
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster

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#1042840 - 12/22/08 07:31 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3577
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Oxfords Gal:
. . . I'm too not crazy about Mozart [/b]
That's crazy not to be too crazy about Mozart ;\) :p

Regards, JF
_________________________
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1042841 - 12/22/08 08:55 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Akvarn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/08
Posts: 35
Loc: Norway
JF and keyboardklutz: Thanks for the suggestions. The serenades seem to be out of my league at the moment but I might give the sonatinas a try. There was probably some "strange brew" called coffee in the teacup. ;\)

When I started to play the piano my goal was to be able to play Rachmaninov's music. In a sense it still is but if you can play Mozart's music you can probably play Rachmaninov's too. I am not sure it works the other way around. That's not to say I dislike or hate Rach's music now - on the contrary - but perspective has changed, I guess.

I think it is at least as much fun to play Mozart's music as to listen to it. Maybe it will be more fun to listen to Rach's music than to play it... \:\)

And now some Schumann to escape the portato for a while.

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#1042842 - 12/22/08 08:58 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Oxfords Gal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
No not necessarily JF, people have different tastes in music, books etc. It would be crazy if I forced myself to like something I don't like just for the sake of it or just to act like a sheep and follow everybody else.

I've never liked Bach either although I'm doing some of his pieces. Mozart and Bach just don't do it for me.

I do like Beethoven, Schubert, Grieg and some of Chopin. I find their music more interesting to me and I don't think any less of people who don't like them.

Different strokes for different folks I always say. \:D
_________________________
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster

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#1042843 - 12/22/08 10:10 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3577
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Oxfords Gal:

I do like Beethoven, Schubert, Grieg and some of Chopin. I find their music more interesting to me and I don't think any less of people who don't like them. [/b]
OG - I hope you understand that I was only kidding you (hence the ;\) :p in my post) - I support you fully in whatever & whomever you want to play (with the possible exception of some 20th century stuff that grates on the eardrum) and have enjoyed your recordings since you started posting them (with the harrass . . ., er, a , encouragement of me).


 Quote:
Different strokes for different folks I always say. \:D [/b]
That's what the scull crew from Whatsamatta U. said as they kept going in circles \:D

Regards, JF
_________________________
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1042844 - 12/22/08 11:26 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
melwig Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 94
Loc: California
Hey Keyboardklutz,

Do you have a specific recomendation for the Mozart Sonatinas, preferably a publication of several? If you have an ISBN, that would be great.
_________________________
Keep it fun, and stay motivated!

If you can achieve something without a struggle, it's not going to be satisfying.


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#1042845 - 12/22/08 11:27 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
melwig Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 94
Loc: California
OOPs. Double post.
_________________________
Keep it fun, and stay motivated!

If you can achieve something without a struggle, it's not going to be satisfying.


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#1042846 - 12/22/08 11:54 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Michiyo-Fir Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 172
To be honest Mozart isn't my cup of tea either. Even my teacher aid I'm not suitable to play his pieces.

When I actually have to learn them, I have mixed feelings, not sure if I actually enjoy them or not but when I stop playing, I don't ever feel like playing a new piece by Mozart.

I'm more of a romantic era person. A bit of 20th century, jazz and pop suits me fine as well.
_________________________
Bosendorfer Imperial, Yamaha U3, Yamaha P140, Yamaha CP300

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#1042847 - 12/22/08 02:27 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Oxfords Gal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Yarr JF, I know you were yanking my chain. I just go along with it for the heck of it. \:D

I'm doing a duet with my teacher by Schubert "Serenade" that piece really speaks to me. I find it absolutely beautiful.

Here's an mp3 of the recording on the cd that came with the book. This is not us playing btw

http://www.box.net/shared/34zhsci2ga
_________________________
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster

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#1042848 - 12/22/08 03:12 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...
 Quote:
Originally posted by melwig:
Hey Keyboardklutz,

Do you have a specific recomendation for the Mozart Sonatinas, preferably a publication of several? If you have an ISBN, that would be great. [/b]
I'm not by my books so can't say which my ones are. Google 'Mozart - Six "Viennese" Sonatinas' and see what's on offer.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1042849 - 12/22/08 04:56 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3577
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Oxfords Gal:
I'm doing a duet with my teacher by Schubert "Serenade" that piece really speaks to me. I find it absolutely beautiful.

[/b]
Agreed - that is a beautiful piece - it's saying alot to me too - you should realy enjoy working on that! Good luck.

Regards, JF
_________________________
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1042850 - 12/23/08 07:26 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Akvarn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/08
Posts: 35
Loc: Norway
Oxfords Gal: That Schubert piece is beautiful music. Good luck with your current project and Mozart, too. \:\)

While listening to the radio yesterday they interviewed one of Norway's well known (in Norway, anyway) composers/pianists. His name is Wolfgang Plagge, by the way. They asked him if he had always liked Mozart. "No", he said. It had taken him years to learn to appreciate Mozart's music because he initially thought it was too "light-footed".

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#1042851 - 12/23/08 08:15 AM 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 Akvarn:
While listening to the radio yesterday they interviewed one of Norway's well known (in Norway, anyway) composers/pianists. His name is Wolfgang Plagge, by the way. They asked him if he had always liked Mozart. "No", he said. It had taken him years to learn to appreciate Mozart's music because he initially thought it was too "light-footed". [/b]
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.
_________________________
Best wishes from MR
http://www.extraloudpurrs.blogspot.com

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#1042852 - 12/23/08 10:42 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 Mary-Rose:
(eg some of the sonatas have almost no dynamics) [/b]
That's because most are for the harpsichord.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1042853 - 12/23/08 11:27 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3577
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mary-Rose:
(eg some of the sonatas have almost no dynamics) [/b]
That's because most are for the harpsichord. [/b]
Thus, dynamics on a piano optional at the performer's discretion (and risk \:D ).

Regards, JF
_________________________
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1042854 - 12/23/08 12:46 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Mary-Rose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/16/06
Posts: 1428
Loc: Essex, England
OK - maybe I'm wrong about the dynamics - but I definitely think some of those sonatas were dashed off in a hurry! That's just the way Mozart was. I love him very much and, as I said, appreciate him more as time goes on.
_________________________
Best wishes from MR
http://www.extraloudpurrs.blogspot.com

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#1042855 - 12/23/08 01:46 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
davidw99 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/07
Posts: 28
Loc: Boston
 Quote:
Originally posted by Akvarn:
A while ago I decided to give his music a try so I bought a book with 15 intermediate Mozart pieces.
[/b]
So, what is the book you bought? Please post info so I can look it up.

Thanks!
_________________________
Dave

Born again piano player.

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#1042856 - 12/23/08 02:53 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Otis S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 204
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mary-Rose:
OK - maybe I'm wrong about the dynamics - but I definitely think some of those sonatas were dashed off in a hurry! That's just the way Mozart was. I love him very much and, as I said, appreciate him more as time goes on. [/b]
Mary-Rose:

You are actually correct. Mozart's music is incredible. However, he wrote many of his pieces quickly (how else could there be over 600 works in the Koechel catalog when Mozart died before he was 36?), often leaving out dynamic markings. This is in contrast to Beethoven who agonized over many of his works for long periods and especially Brahms who was so self critical that he may have withheld some real masterpieces that we will never hear from publication.

A good example is the first movement of Mozart’s A minor piano sonata, k.310 (one of his greatest piano sonatas, written around the time of the death of his mother in 1778). There are several dynamic markings in this piece (including ff and pp). However, from the p marking at the beginning of the secondary theme in the first movement to the close of the exposition (as well as the corresponding passage in the recapitulation), there are no dynamic markings whatsoever. If we follow Mozart’s directions literally, this entire section should be played piano. However, almost no good pianist would ever play the piece that way.

I am not trying to be unfairly critical of Mozart who is my favorite composer. However, no one (not even Mozart) is perfect.

By Mozart’s time, the keyboard instruments had evolved beyond the harpsichord and could produce different dynamic levels. To quote the composer and musicologist Eva Badura-Skoda, "As a born pianist, Mozart understandably wanted to own the very best concert grand available. His instrument, still extant and now exhibited in Salzburg in the house in which he was born, remains the best fortepiano of the period, an excellent concert grand, precious not only because Mozart gave his many subscription concerts on it, but also because of its quality. Anton Walter's best instruments were indeed the most expensive in Vienna ... but as concert instruments they were also apparently superior to all the others."

Here is some additional information on the keyboard instruments Mozart used and wrote for:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/mozart/piano.shtml
http://www.aam.co.uk/features/9702.htm

Here is a picture of Mozart’s forte piano and concert grand.

http://michaelsroom.co.uk/mozart_room_keyboards.htm

Otis

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#1042857 - 12/23/08 03:33 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...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Otis S:

A good example is the first movement of Mozart’s A minor piano sonata, k.310 (one of his greatest piano sonatas, written around the time of the death of his mother in 1778). [/b]
Mozart didn't even own a piano then! Besides what a silly argument - Mozart didn't write in the dynamics to save time?!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1042858 - 12/23/08 03:52 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Akvarn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/08
Posts: 35
Loc: Norway
Hi, Dave.

The book I bought is "Mozart - 15 intermediate piano pieces" by Hal Leonard Piano Library/Schirmer performance editions. It includes a CD, fingerings and useful performance notes.

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#1042859 - 12/23/08 04:32 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Otis S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 204
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Otis S:

A good example is the first movement of Mozart’s A minor piano sonata, k.310 (one of his greatest piano sonatas, written around the time of the death of his mother in 1778). [/b]
Mozart didn't even own a piano then! Besides what a silly argument - Mozart didn't write in the dynamics to save time?! [/b]
KeyboardKlutz:

Your earlier post said
"That's because most [of the Mozart piano sonatas] are for the harpsichord."
Do you really stand by the fact that most of the Mozart piano sonatas are for the harpsichord, because this is contrary to everything I have been taught (and have read) on the subject?

Regarding the lack of certain dynamic markings in Mozart's pieces such as the passage I mentioned, I don't have a definitive answer as to why this is the case. The argument that this may have been due to Mozart's carelessness was not my own but one that I got from my teacher. If you have a better explanation, please state what it is (preferably citing some sources to provide added weight to your explanation). Just dismissing someone else's explanation as "silly" without providing a plausible one of your own is not convincing.

If you listen to just about any major recording of the first movement of K. 310, it will be obvious that well known pianists almost universally agree that the first movement of the piece should not be played piano from measure 23 to the end of the exposition, a clear violation of the dynamics written by Mozart.

Otis

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#1042860 - 12/23/08 04:59 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I'm afraid I'm all out of essays on 18th century performance practice. You'll just have to accept that Mozart wrote down all that was reqiured to perform his music in his day. And yes, at least half his keyboard output would be for harsichord some perhaps composed on a clavichord. The piano had not yet gained its place as the keyboard of choice.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1042861 - 12/23/08 08:12 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
Otis S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 204
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
I'm afraid I'm all out of essays on 18th century performance practice. You'll just have to accept that Mozart wrote down all that was reqiured to perform his music in his day. And yes, at least half his keyboard output would be for harsichord some perhaps composed on a clavichord. The piano had not yet gained its place as the keyboard of choice. [/b]
Keyboardklutz:

If you still insist that Mozart wrote at least 50% of his works for harpsichord, please provide sources for this information. In addition to the sources on the Web in my previous post suggesting otherwise, here is some additional information. In Alfred Einstein’s classic biography of Mozart entitled “Mozart: His Character, His Work”, in the beginning of Chapter 14 entitled “The Clavier”, Einstein writes: “it should be noted that he [Mozart] wrote for the same instrument as Beethoven, Weber, or Chopin – not for the clavichord or the harpsichord, but for the pianoforte, although of course not for the powerful instrument we know in the products of Erard or Steinway. The only works that can have been conceived and written for harpsichord are the early concerto arrangements after Johann Christian Bach and minor ‘French’ composers (k. 107, and k. 37, 39, 40, and 41).”

Another book that I have in front of me, “The Mozart Compendium: A Guide to Mozart's Life and Music” edited by H. C. Robbins Landon, describes several of the types of pianos Mozart played on but does not anywhere suggest that a large number of his piano works were composed for harpsichord. I could go on with other works by renowned musicologists but there doesn’t seem to be much point to doing so if the evidence I have presented so far is not convincing already.

If Mozart had been writing for the harpsichord after all, why are there dynamic markings in even his early piano sonatas?

Regarding the issue of whether his music contains a sufficient number of dynamic markings as written, that is a matter of opinion. You have your opinions, others (including some very famous pianists) believe differently. We cannot resolve this issue here. However, we owe it to all of the forum readers to clear up misunderstandings of fact. Despite the respect that I have for your participation in the Piano World forums, I cannot accept your assertion that Mozart wrote the majority of his keyboard works for harpsichord given the preponderance of evidence that I have seen to the contrary.

Best Regards,
Otis

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#1042862 - 12/24/08 03:48 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:
If Mozart had been writing for the harpsichord after all, why are there dynamic markings in even his early piano sonatas? [/b]
Firstly, there is no evidence Mozart owned a piano until he moved to Vienna in the 1780's. In fact in the 1781 he was having to borrow Countess Thun's Stein for concerts. You need to understand (and maybe explore?) the world of music making in the 18th century, it is a domestic thing. Mozart's buying public would have been 95% clavichord or harpsichord owners; the piano being too expensive and new fangled. Don't look at the period with 20th eyes. My guess is Mozart would have used whichever keyboard that was at hand and best suited. We know from Constanze that he composed all his last major works on the clavichord (Magic Flute, Requiem). He needed the piano to play to larger audiences - these was a new phenomenon. Also, they all wanted 'opera-type' music requiring an instrument with a louder dynamic range. None of these things happened over night. The old Romantic notion that Mozart championed the piano is just that, a Romantic notion. Like everyone else, he worked from with the prevailing limitations of his period.

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.

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.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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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
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Registered: 05/21/07
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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
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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
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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.
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#1042867 - 12/25/08 01:08 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius
keyboardklutz Offline
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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.
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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
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Registered: 05/21/07
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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).
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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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