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 Post subject: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 2:42 am 
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Interesting 12 page article here:

http://bayes.wustl.edu/etj/music/m7h.pdf

Sorry I can't do any quotes as it's a pdf.

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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:01 am 
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AeolianHarp wrote:
Interesting 12 page article here:

http://bayes.wustl.edu/etj/music/m7h.pdf

Sorry I can't do any quotes as it's a pdf.


Here's a quote (the pdf text is copy and pasteable)..

"Above all else, I wish people would have the courage to say what they really think about music, and not be so eternally worried over what somebody else may think and say." - - - Sigmund Spaeth (1933)"

That's what CMM is all about!

I've had a quick scan of the article and it looks really interesting. I'll report back later after I've read it properly.

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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:47 am 
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My laptop won't let me cut and paste this pdf for some reason..

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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:12 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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AeolianHarp wrote:
My laptop won't let me cut and paste this pdf for some reason..

I used Adobe Reader and had no problem accessing the text.

I suspect a lot of the article will make uncomfortable reading for Mozartians, at the beginning it alludes to the 'Mozart cult' I mentioned a while back. I've tackled the Beethoven vs Mozart argument before on largely the same basis, namely that Mozart works are de facto perfect, beyond criticism and typically regarded as better in relation to Beethoven's more "crude" works of a similar nature (as I mentioned before, there is no Beethoven cult that I have discerned, B has always been fair game for criticism from the music 'intelligencia', whereas not so is the case for Mozart, J.S. Bach and Schubert in particular). Simply daring to challenge this status quo I rose total hell at certain popular CM forums (before CMM existed). The reality is that even 'first period' Beethoven is not second-fiddle to Mozart's best, and even if B had lived only as long as M we would have still have the Kreutzer, the Waldstein, the Appassionata, the Eroica etc. Mozart produced nothing to compete with these works to my mind, and yet I did raise total outrage and anger and even got barred from the few forums as a result.

He then goes on to discuss the manner of execution with M's piano music, which interested me less. I diverge from the author when he shows his contempt for period instruments, which in a similarly cult-like fashion is a perspective that could never come from sound, rational judgement. For example...

"What is the purpose of playing Mozart today? Is it to recreate the same physical acoustics that Mozart's listeners heard in the 1780's from a piano incapable of real expressiveness? Or is it to present his music in the best possible light that only the modern piano is capable of?"

On the third page another comment that relates to things I've written here. Namely Beethoven's broader more economic use of material in relation to most of his 'peers', who (especially in concertos) could pad out a movement with countless themes that are scarcely related, though the lecturer referred to seems to think that is a positive thing(!)...

"In 1991 the writer heard a lecture by a pianist specializing in Mozart, in which he enthused over the variety of thematic material, claiming that with Mozart the listener always knows \where he is" in a movement because Mozart might use seven or eight different themes in it. He said that you get no such sense of position in Beethoven, because there would be only two or three themes in a movement."

I have in the past been deeply critical of Mozart's operas, in particular the rather bland (from a melodic perspective at least) nature of the vocal writing, and yet they are presented to us in the modern era as the supreme examples of the art form. It seems he agrees...

"Passing on to Mozart's operas, they are always represented to us as perfect program music, each aria beautifully and uniquely adapted to its occasion. But not being able to perceive any difference in the nature of the music whatever the occasion - and again being afraid to say it out loud because of the reactions of those who are intent on putting us down with their gamesmanship - leaves one in a frustrated state hardly conducive to appreciation of Mozart."

After that we stray into Robert Newman territory, namely the apparent huge abundance of music from such a relatively brief life. But the writer's solution is not that he stole the music from Luchesi, but rather Mozart recycled much of his own material.

This takes us to mid-way though page 4 of the pdf. Time for a tea-break I think!

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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 8:16 am 
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Rod Corkin wrote:
I've tackled the Beethoven vs Mozart argument before on largely the same basis, namely that Mozart works are de facto perfect, beyond criticism and typically regarded as better in relation to Beethoven's more "crude" works of a similar nature...

A classic example of this is the comparison the piano/winds quintet Op.16 (Beethoven) and K452 (Mozart). M's effort is almost always portrayed as a mature masterwork whereas B's is the crude copy from a younger composer. However upon hearing both my ears came to the opposite conclusion in terms of the quality of the music, I found Beethoven's the far more impressive. But the interesting that although you can't find a singe article about Op.16 that does not contain a reference to K452 somewhere within, there is not a single contemporary mention of K452 from Beethoven or anyone else associated with him in the countless Beethoven books and articles I've read over the years.

We looked at these works together a long time ago at CMM...

mozart-beethoven-quintets-for-piano-and-winds-t6.html

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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:22 pm 
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Some points to your points Rod:

Quote:
I suspect a lot of the article will make uncomfortable reading for Mozartians, at the beginning it alludes to the 'Mozart cult' I mentioned a while back. I've tackled the Beethoven vs Mozart argument before on largely the same basis, namely that Mozart works are de facto perfect, beyond criticism and typically regarded as better in relation to Beethoven's more "crude" works of a similar nature (as I mentioned before, there is no Beethoven cult that I have discerned, B has always been fair game for criticism from the music 'intelligencia', whereas not so is the case for Mozart, J.S. Bach and Schubert in particular).


I'm still rather perplexed about a so called Mozart cult. If you look online there are by far more websites, blogs etc devoted to Beethoven and detailed articles about his music, even ones that are solely devoted to his late string quartets. There is not that much about Mozart in comparison. I have also noticed when attending concerts, that Beethoven performances are often sold out. I don't notice much criticism of his work online either- the number of Beethoven websites and webpages show his popularity. In fact he gets very high praise, often with reverence- his works being described as transcendent, spiritual and innovative etc. My observation is that he is more popular a composer than Mozart overall.
Myself, I like Mozart's music a lot, but as you know Beethoven is my ultimate favourite. I find him more daring, exciting, spiritual and innovative.


Quote:
Simply daring to challenge this status quo I rose total hell at certain popular CM forums (before CMM existed). The reality is that even 'first period' Beethoven is not second-fiddle to Mozart's best, and even if B had lived only as long as M we would have still have the Kreutzer, the Waldstein, the Appassionata, the Eroica etc.


Indeed we would.


Quote:
Mozart produced nothing to compete with these works to my mind, and yet I did raise total outrage and anger and even got barred from the few forums as a result.


Perhaps the word compete isn't the best one to use- after all Mozart was gone when Beethoven was taking Vienna by storm with his exciting new works, so the two men were never in competition. I would put it like this- Mozart didn't write anything like the Appassionata, Waldstein, Eroica etc. His style was different.

Quote:
He then goes on to discuss the manner of execution with M's piano music, which interested me less. I diverge from the author when he shows his contempt for period instruments, which in a similarly cult-like fashion is a perspective that could never come from sound, rational judgement. For example...

"What is the purpose of playing Mozart today? Is it to recreate the same physical acoustics that Mozart's listeners heard in the 1780's from a piano incapable of real expressiveness? Or is it to present his music in the best possible light that only the modern piano is capable of?"


That was just plain ignorance- he can't know much about fortepianos to write that. Kristian Bezeidenhout specialises in playing Mozart on FPs and has spoken at length just why FPs allow the truer interpretation that modern pianos cannot allow.
Modern pianos are less expressive!

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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 7:05 pm 
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AeolianHarp wrote:
That was just plain ignorance- he can't know much about fortepianos to write that. Kristian Bezeidenhout specialises in playing Mozart on FPs and has spoken at length just why FPs allow the truer interpretation that modern pianos cannot allow.
Modern pianos are less expressive!

Bezeidenhout should stick to Mozart and avoid Beethoven, because he massacres the Beethoven scores with his own 'improvements', as is the fashion these days with fortepianists. As for the 'cult', it's nothing to do with the number of websites, but I'm not prepared to discuss it further because it is the equivalent of deliberating on the existence of the Sun - some things are so obvious they require no contemplation. But for your education there is a reference to it in this Oxford Journal extract (along with that of JSB)...

http://em.oxfordjournals.org/content/37/3/475.extract

Google 'Mozart cult" and you'll find all kind of things. I'll comment on the remainder of the pdf when I have the time (presuming it is similarly stimulating!).

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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:18 pm 
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A "Beethoven cult" vs. "Mozart cult" frankly I never thought about it. You could say when I was young and starting to be interested in our music I was a was a Beethoven guy. Mozart was an acquired taste that improved with my age. To me it is not the operas that lead me to the greatness of Mozart but his symphonies and especially his piano concertos. Some of the slow movements of his piano concertos are absolutely sublime and are nearly vocal or operatic. Beethoven will forever be my number ONE but Mozart shares a place in my heart.

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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:37 pm 
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If it seems that I have "jumped on today's bandwagon", that is not the case, for I have been scribbling the odd jotted note whenever something strikes me, since first reading the above attached article, last Saturday.

Some of it interested me, and made valid (to me), points----and a great d bored me as it harped on cults and so on---please excuse my yawns! I felt that the author had a somewhat blinkered view of the whole Mozart/Beethoven issue and his "assumed" competition for supremacy.

Infact to sum it all up ,in my estimation, I felt that there was "Much Ado"about Nothing"!!!

I loved the simile about "The Emperor's new Clothes" which ably brought home the point being made! This was one of my favourite stories, both as a child, and now as an adult because of its farcical nature and implied humour!

I felt very much in agreement with Digiti's posting, although I didn't need to "age" before I liked Mozart. I was always aware of him peripherally but it is now that I am appreciating him even more. I just like his music---and especially some of his symphonies, piano concertos and all of his horn compositions!

Beethoven is of much more recent appeal as for too long I felt that his music was beyond my limited understanding. Gradually I have whittled away at that and am revelling in the symphonies, as well as enjoying his lieder.

My status quo is that I like the music of both composers for my different moods and I am not about to compare their work---or join any cult!

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:45 pm 
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Digiti wrote:
A "Beethoven cult" vs. "Mozart cult" frankly I never thought about it. You could say when I was young and starting to be interested in our music I was a was a Beethoven guy. Mozart was an acquired taste that improved with my age. To me it is not the operas that lead me to the greatness of Mozart but his symphonies and especially his piano concertos. Some of the slow movements of his piano concertos are absolutely sublime and are nearly vocal or operatic. Beethoven will forever be my number ONE but Mozart shares a place in my heart.

The original article is not comparing cults, in fact the only cult like behaviour mentioned in both articles relates to the elevation of Mozart's music. I too prefer M's orchestral music, but I see him above all as an opera composer. My Mozart loving friend Gerald agrees with me in this respect (M being above all an opera composer).

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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:51 pm 
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Rod Corkin wrote:
As for the 'cult', it's nothing to do with the number of websites, but I'm not prepared to discuss it further because it is the equivalent of deliberating on the existence of the Sun - some things are so obvious they require no contemplation. But for your education there is a reference to it in this Oxford Journal extract (along with that of JSB)...

http://em.oxfordjournals.org/content/37/3/475.extract

Google 'Mozart cult" and you'll find all kind of things. I'll comment on the remainder of the pdf when I have the time (presuming it is similarly stimulating!).


The link isn't saying that much to me, only that Mozart got more popular after WWII. I have googled Mozart cult a few times and nothing much is turning up.

I'm still not seeing it. There is no forum for Mozart. One blog that I can see, more websites and pages devoted to Beethoven. If there is cult for Mozart one would expect to see evidence of it online.

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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:55 pm 
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Quote:
In fact to sum it all up ,in my estimation, I felt that there was "Much Ado"about Nothing"!!!


Yeahhh lol..why pit one composer against another? Mozart and Beethoven are above that, and I doubt would have been "adversaries" if Mozart had lived to his 50s like Beethoven did.


Quote:
Beethoven is of much more recent appeal as for too long I felt that his music was beyond my limited understanding. Gradually I have whittled away at that and am revelling in the symphonies, as well as enjoying his lieder.
:D


Quote:
My status quo is that I like the music of both composers for my different moods and I am not about to compare their work---or join any cult!


Same here. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:58 pm 
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AeolianHarp wrote:

I'm still not seeing it. There is no forum for Mozart. One blog that I can see, more websites and pages devoted to Beethoven. If there is cult for Mozart one would expect to see evidence of it online.

You are not seeing because you are not reading what has actually been written, both by myself and the two articles. I'm wasting no more time on the issue, time for bed.

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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:36 am 
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Music changed fast then. Mozart died pretty much as Beethoven was getting into his stride aged 21.
Both composers are important to me, I would not care to have either taken from me.

Despite Mozart's prolixity, his piano sonatas have never really captured my imagination the way Beethoven's have. I hadn't percieved the greater number of themes in WAM's sonatas. I shall have to revisit.
On the matter of piano concertos, Mozart wins on quantity but both composers wrote works of depth and enjoyment. (I knew Mrs P was the right one when after being lured into my living room, she looked at my CDs and said encouraging words about the number of recordings of WAM PCs.)

Mozart's greatest symphonies stand rank with the finest examples of the form and are rightly played all over the world. Some of the earlier ones are of more specialist interest - I love to hear the way the young Wolfgang took a bare boned musical form and evolved it so great sublety and power could be found.
I disagree with the author's notion that WAM bolted themes together - yes he did use formulae, but the reason we listen to Mozart more than (say) Dittersdorf or dear old Kirnberger (I do have one of his symphonies somewhere in my collection!) is that he wrote works that use (possibly formulaic) ideas, but his use of formulae changed and evolved from the young Salzburger to cosmopolitan man of operas.

Beethoven of course was more independent, and changed musical forms more. We are more conscious of him bashing at themes until he had exactly what he wanted. We are more conscious of him thinking about the work of other musicians and letting them influence him.

I used to have occasional fun arguing with an uncle (who lived too far away for frequent contact) who was very much a devotee of WAM - everything else fell short, and Mozart was very much Cosi, Le Nozze, Giovanni and Zauberflote. He was always keen to encourage my love of music, several books in my library, including one on Schoenberg come from him.
Thanks for sharing the article.


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 Post subject: Re: Mozart and Beethoven compared- composition and piano
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:01 pm 
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Phlogiston wrote:
I used to have occasional fun arguing with an uncle (who lived too far away for frequent contact) who was very much a devotee of WAM - everything else fell short, and Mozart was very much Cosi, Le Nozze, Giovanni and Zauberflote. He was always keen to encourage my love of music, several books in my library, including one on Schoenberg come from him.

I remember long ago reading on more than one occasion to the effect that Handel was the greatest opera composer before Mozart, as if the arrival of M ended that supremacy. Back then I was not really familiar with anything of Handel other than one or two bad recordings of Messiah and so I thought nothing of it. Now of course things are different and although for a while I considered Mozart as another potential source to boost my opera collection of 1, what I heard from him didn't meet the expectations I'd been lead to.. er.. expect, and when circumstance eventually led me to seriously look into Handel's music I quickly came to the conclusion that Handel was the Master and Mozart quickly forgotten about.

Mentioning this at forums some time later had many people scratching their heads, I just pointed them to the first act of Giulio Cesare and said that alone contains more memorable arias than one could extract from Mozart's entire vocal output. Of course not having heard Mozart's entire vocal output I was still confident the remark would remain uncontested - I'm still waiting well over a decade later for someone to provide even one 'hit' aria from Mozart of the standard that is found almost commonplace in Handel.

That is an example of the myth of the word being contradicted by the reality of the ear.

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