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Belated London Premiere for Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel on International Women’s Day

As part of its special day of programming for International Women’s Day, BBC Radio 3 broadcasted a live performance of the Easter Sonata, a major piano work which until recently had been attributed to Felix Mendelssohn, but is now proved to be the work of his sister Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Playing & Interpreting Mozart's piano music  (Read 19908 times)
immanueljoseph
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« on: September 08, 2006, 02:35:44 AM »

Dear all,

My name is Yusup Himawan. I'm an Indonesian. I live in Singapore now.

I'm extremely puzzled with Mozart's interpretation. It is said that most of Mozart's music compositions have a close relationship with his operas (in other word, operatic). So, playing Mozart's piano music, too, we have to pay attention to all the phrasings, melodic lines, articulations, even the pedallings. O. K., it's fine. The only thing that I need clarification is that, Mozart lived in the Classical period, thus he still used forte-piano, whose sound is rather dry and short, compared to modern (present) piano. So, regarding pedalling, what will be the correct way of Mozart's pedalling? How about the semi-quavers, how should I use pedalling for playing Mozart's semi-quavers?

Thanks to anyone who answer my question and settle my puzzle. Thank you.

Best regards,
Yusup   
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pianistimo
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2006, 08:06:00 AM »

Minimal pedalling - and yet 'flow like oil.'  using legato finger techniques you can achieve a lot and not get 'mushy' sounds.

as with voice and violin - mozart maintains a lilting melody that has to be sung - so sometimes the melody is even more connected, imo, than the accompaniment at all times. but, even with accompaniment you can be tricky.  my teacher suggested with some passages of alberti bass - to hold the start bass note over.  this gives a pedalled effect, too.

the forte-piano - as you say - was a newly developed instrument.  was lighter in dynamics. and although not as staccato sounding as the harpsichord (being plucked strings instead of hammered) - it was still a rather 'weak' sound.  now, with modern piano capabilities - imo, we play mozart too loudly sometimes.  personally i like the dynamic ranges of murray perahia.  a little bit reigned in and not obnoxious.
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pianistimo
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2006, 08:19:21 AM »

also, for further insight - mozart wrote a lot of letters that can infer how he wanted things played.  and, in 'the great pianists' by harold schoenberg (page 39) mozart 'sat quietly at the middle of the keyboard and played without making faces.  we learn (from letters - and even critiques of other's playing) that he never changed tempo in repeated sections of a piece (though probably made variation).  we learn that he did not like the arm to be raised and that he favored a light wrist with the fingers always in close contact with the keys.

....mozart's playing illustrated the classic ideal.  it did not have extreme dynamics.  rather it was temperate, regulated, and had a legato that 'flowed like oil.'  he prided himself on his tone and his technical accuracy; no 'leaving out notes' for him.  he could play fast when he wanted to.  above all, he had flawless rhythm.'

his critiques of abt vogler make it plain that he didn't like people changing his markings.  if he wrote a certain tempo - he didn't want it played faster or slower than intended.  'is that beautiful music? in rapid playing the right and left hands can be changed without anybody seeing or hearing it; but is that beautiful?  and wherein consists the art of playing prima vista? in this:  in playing the piece in the tempo in which it ought to be played, and in playing all the notes, appogiaturas and so forth, exactly as written and with the appropriate expression and taste, so that you might suppose the performer had composed it himself.'
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