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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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X Mozart and the Austrian Tradition of Church Music


“Mozart uses his models quasi as diving boards – he rises higher and gets farther.” Alfred Einstein1

It has long been recognized that Mozart’s sacred music is firmly anchored in the Austrian tradition of the late Baroque and early Classicism. To say that many of the general traits characterizing his church music can largely be traced back to the native tradition of Salzburg and Vienna would be contributing nothing new. May I nonetheless be permitted to state the matter more precisely. The earmarks that primarily distinguish Mozart’s sacred music include the following: a predominance of the stylus mixtus (that is, the application of a partly homophonic, partly polyphonic style), the unification of longer movements by means of recurring orchestral motifs, an emphasis on particular concepts through the use of musico-rhetorical figures, certain peculiarities of the instrumentation, polyphonic composition of the Cum sancto spiritu and the Et vitam in the masses, of the Pignus in the sacramental litanies, of the Laudate pueri in the Vespers; and secondarily, poly-textures (i.e., simultaneous singing of textual parts that according to liturgical rule should be sung sequentially), the thematic linking of the Dona with the Kyrie, the use of songlike themes as well as utilization of Gregorian chorale tunes.

It is also known that Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart copied several works by Johann Ernst Eberlin, Johann Georg Reutter and Michael Haydn for purposes of study. Several compositions formerly ascribed to Mozart turned out to be copies for study from Eberlin...

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