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Topic: Mozart - Great?  (Read 2967 times)

Offline zhiliang

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Mozart - Great?
on: May 14, 2004, 04:51:45 AM
To many musicians or pianists, Mozart is the greatest composer. Pianists like Horowitz and Schnabel have spoken with such reverence and awe of Mozart's profundity. Yet many others have remarked that Mozart's music is just sweet, lovely and graceful. The depth of Mozart's compositions also contradicts the known fact that most children are able to play Mozart very well. So where and what is the unfathomable, transcendental qualities of Mozart's music? Where does the greatness lies in? How can one be a better Mozart player?

Zhiliang
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Offline donjuan

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #1 on: May 14, 2004, 08:42:32 AM
Mozart was the Liszt of the 18th century.  The only thing that separated him from Liszt was the socially awkwardness of Mozart.  Liszt, of course was the smooth operator with the ladies.

I love Mozart's music, but I tend to enjoy the symphonic pieces more than piano music.  The piano wasn't very well developed in Mozart's time.  Anyone who knows what they are talking about will agree that Mozart's works are among the most difficult.  I can sightread Debussy, some Liszt, maybe even Rachmaninoff, but never Mozart.  I found it so difficult to play the Sonata in C, for example.  I would probably stand a better chance with Liszt's B minor Sonata!!

And I dont think children can play Mozart very well.  Children can do many miraculous things simply because they dont understand just how difficult some things are.  TO bring out the emotion, the sincerity, the overall substance in Mozarts music- that is something only a handful in the world can do.
donjuan

Offline Allan

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #2 on: May 14, 2004, 10:42:19 AM
Mozart, of course, is fantastic.  But his music has never gripped me personally.   I am reminded about a quote of Liszt who said, after hearing much of Handel's music, that he longed for the "precious dissonances of Bach."

Offline Tash

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #3 on: May 14, 2004, 02:15:31 PM
i think mozart is a great composer and composed a freak of a lot of music. but i find it interesting that he isn't necessarily a lot of people's favourite composer, like i heard more people say they love beethoven more- why is that? i prefer playing beethoven over mozart, dunno why.
but i find it kind of hard to compare composers of a different era to him because you don't know what mozart could have created compared to them if he had lived in that time. like if mozart was a 20th century composer what would it be like compared to that of other composers?
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline edouard

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #4 on: May 14, 2004, 08:44:03 PM
I recall Richter saying that he forgot Mozart ('s music)easily and that you could conclude what you liked about that. Personally I think my mozart is bad, i find him very difficult actually. not my cup of tea. I definitely prefer Haydn.
But i also remember seeing a documentary on german tv on brendel and he said that children play mozart better than most adults, and i can see what he's getting at.
anyway, just a thought!
e-

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #5 on: May 15, 2004, 01:28:06 AM
Mozart is the greatest composer?  I think not.  That word is reserved for Beethoven.  As a pianist, he was crap.  Beethoven said he played too "choppy" and probably because of this is why Luddy stressed the legato so much.  But before, he admired Mozart very much.  It was probably a let down when he heard him play the piano.

Anyway, Mozart wrote a lot of crap.  Beethoven did not.  Mozart's philosophy on composition: he just writes without second thought.  If he makes a mistake, he'll "just write another one".  Beethoven was completely the opposite.  Why this comparison?  Because Mozart wrote many symphonies, piano pieces, and others but on a select few of them are ever heard regularly.  Why is that?  As I said before: he wrote a lot of crap.

Horowits, Uchida, de la Rocha, they all played Mozart better than Mozart could play Mozart.  To say he was a virtuoso is to say that musicians really really sucked during the 18th century.  Children usually play by strict tempo.  Mozart played this way.  The best interpreter of the way Mozart played, himself, is not Horowits, Uchida, or de la Rocha, but children.  I may be exagerating just a little.

About his composing method:  it seems very clear to me that he composed with only the range of his modern day piano in mind.  Only 5 octaves so all notes would fit onto that keyboard.  So what you do not get is BASS...  the low frequency vibrations that "moves" more than high frequency vibrations.  Beethoven knew the effect of the bass notes.  Mozart did not - he kept in the middle of the piano and did not venture too far away from home key.  But should you blame him for the piano technology of his day?  Perhaps not.  BUT!  That does not excuse him for his symphonies, which were written in the same minute range of manner.

Mozart's music lacks depth.  It is by chance that he was able to pluck out a few memorable tunes out of the thousands of works he wrote.  His methodoly can be characterized as random where once in a while, that "nice tune" and development of that tune stick with us and gives us a sense that he was "great".  Even dogs can say "mommy" if it groans long enough.

One of his popular tunes is the Ronda turkish march.  I hate this.  I have attempted to play it with more range and it sounds so much better the way I have re-written him.  The rondo could have been further extended beyond the simple rondo format - he left many ideas un-explored in this piece.  Beethoven would not have done this.

So in conclusion:  Mozart wrote a lot of crap, not just for the piano but for almost all of his works, and only once in a long while did he ever pluck out memorable, yet simplistic, tunes.  Am I being too harsh?  Beethoven wouldn't think so.

Offline belvoce

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #6 on: May 15, 2004, 02:01:03 AM
It is hard to compare composers in different musical periods. Pianos changed a lot from the time of Mozart to Beethoven.

faulty_Damper:

To say Mozart's music is junk is unfounded. As a singer, I am irked by your post. Mozart's vocal music isn't junk. It's a pity that you don't understand his music, or the stylistic customs of his time.

Offline zhiliang

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #7 on: May 15, 2004, 06:30:55 AM
His acute sense of structure, his melodic inventiveness, his sense of drama, he MAY not be the greatest, but how could he be crap?

Zhiliang
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Offline DarkWind

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #8 on: May 15, 2004, 06:26:22 PM
Quote
Mozart is the greatest composer?  I think not.  That word is reserved for Beethoven.  As a pianist, he was crap.  Beethoven said he played too "choppy" and probably because of this is why Luddy stressed the legato so much.  But before, he admired Mozart very much.  It was probably a let down when he heard him play the piano.

Anyway, Mozart wrote a lot of crap.  Beethoven did not.  Mozart's philosophy on composition: he just writes without second thought.  If he makes a mistake, he'll "just write another one".  Beethoven was completely the opposite.  Why this comparison?  Because Mozart wrote many symphonies, piano pieces, and others but on a select few of them are ever heard regularly.  Why is that?  As I said before: he wrote a lot of crap.

Horowits, Uchida, de la Rocha, they all played Mozart better than Mozart could play Mozart.  To say he was a virtuoso is to say that musicians really really sucked during the 18th century.  Children usually play by strict tempo.  Mozart played this way.  The best interpreter of the way Mozart played, himself, is not Horowits, Uchida, or de la Rocha, but children.  I may be exagerating just a little.

About his composing method:  it seems very clear to me that he composed with only the range of his modern day piano in mind.  Only 5 octaves so all notes would fit onto that keyboard.  So what you do not get is BASS...  the low frequency vibrations that "moves" more than high frequency vibrations.  Beethoven knew the effect of the bass notes.  Mozart did not - he kept in the middle of the piano and did not venture too far away from home key.  But should you blame him for the piano technology of his day?  Perhaps not.  BUT!  That does not excuse him for his symphonies, which were written in the same minute range of manner.

Mozart's music lacks depth.  It is by chance that he was able to pluck out a few memorable tunes out of the thousands of works he wrote.  His methodoly can be characterized as random where once in a while, that "nice tune" and development of that tune stick with us and gives us a sense that he was "great".  Even dogs can say "mommy" if it groans long enough.

One of his popular tunes is the Ronda turkish march.  I hate this.  I have attempted to play it with more range and it sounds so much better the way I have re-written him.  The rondo could have been further extended beyond the simple rondo format - he left many ideas un-explored in this piece.  Beethoven would not have done this.

So in conclusion:  Mozart wrote a lot of crap, not just for the piano but for almost all of his works, and only once in a long while did he ever pluck out memorable, yet simplistic, tunes.  Am I being too harsh?  Beethoven wouldn't think so.


I thought I was the only one who believed Mozart was terrible. His piano music isn't very inventive, lacking an interesting form, and he uses the same cadence in just about everything he wrote. It's usually the one which goes like this : C, BE, D, C, or other variations of this. Fantasia in D Minor and his all too famous Sonata in C Major are testament to this. I don't think it's a great idea to repetitively us an idea to such an extent. Mozart is ok only in small doses. I've never liked his music. I guess I'm more for the modern composers.

Offline Alp635

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #9 on: May 15, 2004, 07:32:56 PM
I agree that Mozart can sound a bit generic--that typical garden variety sound but then again, his music always has a graceful, elegant, flowing ease that Beethoven definitely lacks.  Often I find that Beethoven is a bit overblown.  When I think of a piano sonata to play, Mozart somehow seems more appealing, more graceful.  Beethoven sits like a heavy piece of wheat bread with some exceptions.  And there is this textbook quality of Beethoven that has been recently boring me...quite frankly.

Offline Antnee

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #10 on: May 15, 2004, 08:09:53 PM
I think one of the most admirable qualities of mozart is his appeal. Anyone (even those who really can't stand classical music) can hear mozart and like it. It doesn't take any 'training' to comprehend his music as it's being played. It is pleasant to the ears and sometimes almost hypnotic, but not profound and deep. I enjoy Mozart on occassion but I'm not in love with him like others. I really don't play any Mozart (yet) and as for now I have no desire to.

-Tony-
"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." -  Stravinsky

Offline namui

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #11 on: May 15, 2004, 08:20:52 PM
I have only one true experience in exploring into Mozart's composition. Twenty three years ago, I played "Overture from the Marriage of Figaro" arranged specially for organ competition. Then, some experience about K545 and Twelve variations (Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star) on piano. Then, there are a lot of experiences as listener, mostly orchestral works.

I agree that Mozart wrote a lot of crap. Many are really just notes manipulation. But I think his good ones are really brilliant. Although many of his good pieces sound simple, they are something no one can really immiate. It's like the works of Bach or, as example of a comtemporary ones, the productions of The Carpenters i.e. it's as if they stamped those works with sonic signature. One may know right from the first few phrases who produces the work. I've seen a few attempts to "Mozartize" some tunes as improvisation, but they can only reflects some framework of his arranging style, but not of his compositional characteristics.

Great ? to me, yes. This is not based on comparison with other composers, however.

By the way, there is a story about piano duel between Clementi and Mozart. So probably Beethoven's comment about Mozart piano playing is subjective.
Just a piano parent

Offline Sketchee

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #12 on: May 15, 2004, 09:21:21 PM
I don't think Mozart was the LISZT of his time. Mozart's strength lied in his orchestral and ensemble compositions. His keyboard composition was a good start for the piano, but compared to what the piano evolved for Mozart isn't that appealing.  I think if most Mozart fans were to name their favorite compositions, they'd choose one of the fantastic symphonies or ensemble pieces.  For us as pianists, it's no suprise that he doesn't appeal to us much.  We focus on piano music.  If you look at his music outside of the piano, you may see what people like.
Sketchee
https://www.sketchee.com [Paintings. Music.]

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #13 on: May 16, 2004, 01:01:44 AM
Namui:
Quote
Great ? to me, yes. This is not based on comparison with other composers, however.


Whenever a statement is made of a quality of something, it is ALWAYS a comparison to something else.  "Great" is a comparison to something whether or not you realize it.  Just as "beautiful" is a comparison to the degree of ugliness of other things.

Belvoce:
Quote
To say Mozart's music is junk is unfounded.


But I provided evidence for my claim that he wrote in that manner.  Argue against my evidence, not from opinion disguised as a refutation.

ZhiLang:
Quote
he MAY not be the greatest, but how could he be crap?


I did not say he was crap.  I said he wrote a lot of crap.
Even if a quater of all his were not crap, that still leaves 75% of his works to be crap.  But this is obviously not the case.  He wrote much more than 95% crap.  

Offline donjuan

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #14 on: May 16, 2004, 08:38:03 AM
Quote
I did not say he was crap.  I said he wrote a lot of crap.
Even if a quater of all his were not crap, that still leaves 75% of his works to be crap.  But this is obviously not the case.  He wrote much more than 95% crap.

hahaha!lol I find your wording and use of the word "crap" hilarious! ;D ;D
donjuan

Shagdac

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #15 on: May 16, 2004, 11:37:44 AM
I think it's great that there are so many different composers....how boring if they were all the same! Fortunately there's "something for everyone". The particular way that a composer writes can usually be generalized and "backed up with evidence", however if one enjoys that type of music, then they are not going to think it's crap.  If most of you were to hear 3 different pieces...one by Mozart, one by Bach, and one by Rach...most likely you would be able to tell which one is by Mozart, which one is by Bach and which one by Rach. It's their "style", though yes, there are variations, for the most part, (MOST not ALL) most composers have a certain signature style where the listener often (NOT ALWAYS) can identify the composer simply by listening to the piece...because of certain characteristics known to their music.

Every composer contributed...maybe one doesn't enjoy this type over that type, but nonetheless, it does not take away from their contribution to music, or the fact that they were a great composer.

It boils down to simply being a matter of taste.
This is just my opinion though, and I humbly respect all of the above.

S :)

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #16 on: May 16, 2004, 11:58:06 AM
John Field vs. Wolfgang Mozart.

Dead tie, except the latter just wrote a lot more of it. ;)

Shagdac

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #17 on: May 16, 2004, 12:01:30 PM
Please excuse my ignorance....but who is John
Field?

thx
S :)

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #18 on: May 16, 2004, 12:29:46 PM
Just some composer who invented the Nocturne style of music and composed in the very same manner as the topic of this thread.  Seriously difficult to discern a difference between the two.  Methodologically, I can compose in the same manner as Mozart et Field.  It isn't very difficult.  Just pluck out some notes withing an arpegio and then supplement it with some left hand work and voila!  I speak French, but more importantly, I just pulled a Mozart out of my ass.

Offline davy10tunes

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #19 on: May 16, 2004, 05:10:22 PM
faulty-damper: "Am I being too harsh?Beethoven wouldn't think so." Yes he would! Beethoven was a fan of Mozart and played many of his works.Mozart is great and was the most controversial composer of his time, maybe you should explore his work in more depth before you write him off.Many of the qualities you love so much in Beethoven can be found in Mozart.Listen to the piano concerto in D minor(with Beethoven's cadenza if you like ;D) The sonatas K310 and K576 might be of more appeal to you, also the sonata for 2 pianos and the Requiem.Maybe this will chnge your mind.

David
DAVROS

Offline namui

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #20 on: May 16, 2004, 08:26:40 PM
Quote
Namui:

Whenever a statement is made of a quality of something, it is ALWAYS a comparison to something else.  "Great" is a comparison to something whether or not you realize it.  Just as "beautiful" is a comparison to the degree of ugliness of other things.


OK. I was not be precise. As you take my word literally, I think that I probably compare Mozart's works to all music compositions I've heard in my life, ranging from Classical to Country to Rock to Jazz to Fusion to New-age, to Rap, Hip-hop, etc. And I don't really know who are those composers. Just as "beautiful" is used by many people in an absolute term simply because it's based on each individual standard that was developed through life time experience.

However, I'm certain that I didn't think of a specific name that I compared Mozart with in my post. It's like when someone says "delicious", "nice", "cool", etc. And I believe that "great" in the context of this post is really a kind of opinion too.
Just a piano parent

Offline shatteringpulse

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #21 on: May 16, 2004, 08:50:40 PM
"Princes will come and go, but there is only one Beethoven." --Beethoven, allegedly

I think, since human existence is very short and the piano repertoire very broad, that one should concentrate on the greatest examples of art. And certainly, in a contest between Beethoven and Mozart, with respect to their piano compositions, how could Beethoven possibly lose? Take any Mozart sonata and throw it against Appassionata, Waldstein, or any of the late sonatas and tell me that Beethoven is not superior and why I should believe you, in spite of what my ears, heart, and mind tell me.

They are all objectively greater. Certainly Mozart started the ball rolling for Beethoven, along with the other classicists, and Beethoven ultimately experiments so far with classical methods that he authors a doctrine of Romanticism. But Mozart is a basic lifeform compared to Beethoven. Mozart is a tadpole and Beethoven is a frog--and countless other natural examples, I'm sure, will surface. Comparison, I think, is ultimately futile, in the end--since one is musically mortal, and the other musically immortal. It would be unfair to Mozart!  ;)
--Shattering Pulse

JK

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #22 on: May 16, 2004, 09:09:50 PM
Although I must admit that Mozart isn't my favourite composer, I will accept that he was undoubtedly "great". After all there are some absolutely incredible moments in Mozart, for example the slow movement of the piano concerto #23 in A in which he seems to reach into the depths of human emotion, especially at the end when the piano only has single notes. But I do rather feel that we all tend to over look another "great" composer, by which I mean Haydn. Haydn averaged during his lifetime one major work every few days, his music is beautiful, profound, witty and a great enjoyment to play. I always feel more comfortable when playing Haydn than when playing Mozart and even Beethoven as I feel that I have more freedom in what I chose to do with the piece. On top of this Haydn always seems to make the audience chuckle! ;)

From James.

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #23 on: May 16, 2004, 11:41:20 PM
Quote


OK. I was not be precise. As you take my word literally, I think that I probably compare Mozart's works to all music compositions I've heard in my life, ranging from Classical to Country to Rock to Jazz to Fusion to New-age, to Rap, Hip-hop, etc. And I don't really know who are those composers. Just as "beautiful" is used by many people in an absolute term simply because it's based on each individual standard that was developed through life time experience.

However, I'm certain that I didn't think of a specific name that I compared Mozart with in my post. It's like when someone says "delicious", "nice", "cool", etc. And I believe that "great" in the context of this post is really a kind of opinion too.


No, you just didn't realize that by any word that is said of somethings quality, you are comparing it to something else not of that quality.  I know what you meant the first time but I thought it would be rhetorical (something that provokes thought) to mention it.

If it were truly not a comparison, then whatever it is, is.  It just is.  You cannot say anymore than that.  For example:  Existence.  Existence is.  There is nothing beyond that.  It would be a contradiction, oxymoronic, to say that existence is great.  What do you have to compare existence to?  Non-existence?  But non-existence doesn't exist!  If you were non-existent, you wouldn't be able to say anything because you are non-existent. :o

Quote
Certainly Mozart started the ball rolling for Beethoven, along with the other classicists, and Beethoven ultimately experiments so far with classical methods that he authors a doctrine of Romanticism. But Mozart is a basic lifeform compared to Beethoven. Mozart is a tadpole and Beethoven is a frog--and countless other natural examples, I'm sure, will surface. Comparison, I think, is ultimately futile, in the end--since one is musically mortal, and the other musically immortal. It would be unfair to Mozart!


Yeah, just like Newton was on the "shoulder of giants".  But he didn't have to write so much crap?  Or did he so that others would not have written that kind of crap?

I don't believe in subjectivity to such an absolute degree.  Our perceptions may be subjective but they are all subjective uniformly.

Many don't like Mozart's music because he is a minute composer who did not know or understand the range we are able to percieve.  Beethoven did.  If you re-wrote Mozart, which I encourage everyone to do, and re-wrote him in a manner that 'grounds' his work (using more bass tones) he will be a much more appreciated composer.  Bass - this is the most important aspect of music beyond the easier to hear higher pitched sounds.  

Shagdac

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #24 on: May 17, 2004, 07:38:56 AM
I still think asking who is better between Beethoven and Mozart is subjective to the tast of the person your asking. It depends what you like. If you were asking who is better, Beethoven or Joe Blow down the street, of course it would be no contest. But there is no disputing that both composers were great, contributed greatly, and are thought of highly. For every 20 people you bring saying Beethoven is greater, I can find 20 people saying the same thing about Mozart.

It's like having an apple and an orange....you're not asking which is the better orange....you're asking which is the better fruit! There's no answer, it depends what you like, completely subjective to the one your asking.

And you're not asking which composer used the greatest range of keyboard, or which composer had the greatest variety in a "rondo"........

...actually, the question was not even WHO was the greatest between whom and whom, but "Where does Mozart's greatness lie?" and "How can one be a better Mozart player?". To say one is better than another is purely personal preference. It all depends on what YOU the player/listener is looking for.
Just my thoughts.

S :)

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #25 on: May 17, 2004, 10:39:58 AM
Even the question, "Where does Mozart's greatness lie?" is making a comparison.  Greatness is a quality and all qualities are comparative.  I just used Beethoven to compare Mozart to.

But the statement "Mozart is the greatest composer" to many musicians is simply false. ;) ;D

Shagdac

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #26 on: May 17, 2004, 11:04:48 AM
Yes, I do totally agree with that!  ;)

Offline Beet9

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Re: Mozart - Great?
Reply #27 on: May 18, 2004, 02:17:26 AM
You know, i actually disliked Mozart's music until recently.  I listened to the sonata in a minor and now i am just fascinated by his music.  The thing is, i think most of his great music is the stuff in minor keys.  I tend to not like his major key music, because it is just too perky.  
"what's with all the dumb quotes?"
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