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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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XI Alban Berg and Mozart

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In an obituary on his friend Alban Berg, Soma Morgenstern named as Berg’s “lodestars” Peter Altenberg, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schönberg, Adolf Loos and Karl Kraus und spoke of stars of his world he “did not locate in a distant sky” but in whose vicinity he lived.1 Of the composers of the classical and pre-classical period, Berg principally venerated Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. Although the name of Mozart crops up relatively seldom in his letters and writings, his Mozart image acquires contours if one treats the pertinent sources to a careful comparative analysis. Mozart was one of the composers to whom he liked to appeal when it was a matter of legitimating the artistic endeavors of the Viennese School.

The young Berg’s interest in music and playing the piano was apparently awakened by his younger sister Smaragda, who was an excellent pianist. Together with her, he worked up a fairly extensive musical repertoire, which he kept book on. A three-volume, hand-written index supplies information about the piano, chamber and orchestral works he played through on the piano and at times also commented on.2 For some time he seems to have had a special predilection for Scandinavian, French, Slavic and Russian music. Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto impressed him deeply. Toward the masters of the Classical period his attitude seems initially to have been ambivalent. Haydn meant “very dear, nice, fluent music.” About Beethoven’s compositions he felt reverence. Mozart’s works – he knew the Requiem, the Magic Flute, one...

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