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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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VI “As if I were the greatest violinist in Europe”: Mozart and the Violin


If one did not know that Mozart was an outstanding piano virtuoso, one could infer it from his 27 piano concertos, which constitute an immensely important branch of his instrumental output and make great demands on the interpreter. Mozart, however, was not only a celebrated pianist but also an excellent organist, and above all, during his years in Salzburg, also an esteemed violin virtuoso, who at diverse concerts played his own or others’ concertos. Leopold Mozart, one of the eminent violin pedagogues of the 18th century, had not neglected to instruct his universally gifted son also in the violin. From the correspondence we learn that on the many journeys he embarked on with his father he nearly always took his violin along.

The correspondence conveys important insights into Mozart’s versatility as an instrumentalist. In October of 1777, Wolfgang spent two weeks in Augsburg. On October 19, he visited the convent of Heiligenkreuz and enjoyed happy hours there, distinguishing himself as an organist, pianist and violinist. After a symphony of his had been performed, he played two violin concertos, one by Johann Baptist Vanhal and his own D-major concerto KV 218. He seems to have been satisfied himself with his recital, for he wrote to his father: “It went like oil, everyone praised the beautiful, pure tone.” After that he preluded on a small clavichord and recited a piano sonata and his Fischer Variations KV 179. Not yet exhausted, he improvised, at the request of the dean,...

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