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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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VIII Levels of Style and Stylistic Synthesis in Mozart’s Operas


“And in this art [of music], our nation has brought forth greater men, it seems to me, than in the pictorial arts. The names Gluck, Mozart, Bach will always remain venerable. Nevertheless, the character of German music is one of dignity more than of grace. Mozart was perhaps the only one who could be as great in comedy as in tragedy.” Körner to Schiller, March 28, 17941

1. The Problem

In considering Mozart’s position in the history of opera and his impact on the development of the genre, one must not forget to indicate whether one means Mozart’s German or his Italian master operas. Scholars who are viewing Die Entführung aus dem Serail or Die Zauberflöte, see in Mozart probably the most important co-founder of German opera, downright the pioneer of Beethoven, Weber and Spohr.2 For critics, however, who are more interested in Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte, Mozart is the creator of an inimitable and incommensurable music theater that cannot easily be classified within the tradition of the Italian opera. After Otto Jahn, Heinrich Bulthaupt and Ernst Lert, Hermann Abert3 was probably the most definite in maintaining that with the last-mentioned operas Mozart overcame the typifying and stereotyping manner of he opera buffa. He, and he alone, succeeded in musically depicting true, individual, full-blooded and at the same time contrasting characters in place of the marionette-like figures of the Italian comic music theater.

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