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Wolfgang Amadé Mozart

Undeserved Gift to Humanity

Constantin Floros

Mozart’s ambivalent personality offers a key to a deeper understanding of his music. He could be merry, even boisterous, but from many of his works speaks a deep seriousness. Both mirth and melancholy stamp his being. His operatic music includes both the comic and the tragic. The present study treats the special character of his musical language and the relations between his personality and his multiform oeuvre. Its mission is to grasp the peculiarities of his operatic work, his opere serie, opere buffe and singspiels. The chapter "The Program in the Master Overtures" initiates the series of semantic analyses the author has pursued in other books. In the 19th century, it was fashionable to compare Mozart to Raffael. But the comparison is askew, as the graceful is only one side of his personality.

About the German edition

Chapter II "presents new and even surprising insights into the ‘program’ in Mozart’s master overtures. The connection between overture and drama is viewed from both compositional and semantic points of view. The studies, written with great stylistic and literary knowledge, enter deep into Mozart’s way of working. For both amateurs and cognoscenti, Floros achieves ad better understanding, above all, of the musical interconnections." (Rudolf Angermüller, Mitteilungen des Mozarteums)

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I Basic Theses

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The lasting fascination Wolfgang Amadé Mozart exerted on the world of the educated already a few decades after his early death is indescribable. In trying to fix his extraordinary artistic rank, commentators often had to resort to unusual formulations. Time and again they stressed his genius and originality, his inconceivable creativity and universality. Much about him is indeed unusual: his unparalleled precocity (if that term may be applied to a person of genius); his comprehensive training under the guidance of the experienced, enlightened and always strategically proceeding father; the brilliant but also onerous progress of the wunderkind, pubescent boy and young man through all the most renowned musical metropolises of Europe; and finally his last, at times greatly poverty-stricken years. Unique for his phenomenal musical endowment and his memory, he was astounding for the wealth of his ideas, his gift of improvisation and his ability to conceive a composition almost in its entirety in his head before writing it down. He mastered all musical genres without exception, was expert not only in German and Italian but also in French music, quickly established his own unmistakable style, and, according to Joseph Haydn, had both “taste” and, beyond that, “the greatest knowledge of the art of composition.” Equally unique is the world-wide popularity of his music. According to various statistics he ranks at the top of the ten most performed composers, ahead of both Beethoven and Brahms. Wolfgang Hildesheimer aptly called him “an inconceivably great spirit” and “an undeserved gift...

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