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Mozart (Read 627 times)

Offline justapianoplayer123

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Mozart
« on: June 15, 2020, 11:48:17 PM »
Hi everyone!
I always hear that it is harder to play Mozart well. What do people mean by it?
My guess is that it means that it is harder to play very evenly and clearly.
Thank you in advance!

Offline dogperson

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Re: Mozart
«Reply #1 on: June 16, 2020, 12:12:23 AM »
And add to ‘evenly and ‘clearly’ :

Every missed note or rhythm error is markedly visible. There is no hiding.

Offline quantum

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Re: Mozart
«Reply #2 on: June 16, 2020, 04:17:02 AM »
As one of my teachers put it: Mozart needs to sound perfect.

The music does not need to be played perfectly, it does not need to be perfect.  One does not need to attempt in vain to find whatever "perfection" is.  One does not need to obsess that one's playing attains perfection.  However, to achieve that Mozart effect, Mozart's music needs to be perceived by the listener as a state of perfection.  The performer is delivering the illusion to the listener that they are hearing perfection, despite the inherent imperfection of that very delivery.  It is part of the characteristic of the Mozart sound.



Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline brogers70

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Re: Mozart
«Reply #3 on: June 16, 2020, 11:39:39 AM »
I agree with the problem of having to play the notes perfectly (or to create the illusion that you're playing them perfectly), because anything out of place somehow sounds worse in Mozart than in many other composers. But I don't think that's the only source of difficulty. Another problem is that Mozart is not what he seems. I mean there's sort of a popular culture cliche that his music is pretty, symmetric, well-balanced, perhaps a bit emotionally distant. The sort of thing that makes up the background of an upper class wedding reception.

But Mozart is much more dramatic than that. Everything is like an opera, a comic opera, sometimes, but always an opera with real emotions. Every little phrase is a statement and carries some emotional weight. Nothing can be treated as "just" accompaniment or filler or transition. Every time a simple phrase is repeated or sequenced you have to think about whether to treat it as question and response, or statement and restatement with emphasis. Everything has to be imagined as an interaction between characters. It is all intense and human and lively and every little articulation mark that Mozart included is there for a reason.

I'm no great shakes as a pianist, but I'll give an illustration. My teacher assigned me Mozart's Eb Major piano sonata, the one whose first movement is an adagio. The notes themselves are not difficult at all. However for weeks I could not understand what seemed to me to be sudden shifts in mood and dynamics, from sad to childish to expansive. I struggled to find a way to make emotional sense of the first movement. Then I thought of a young, new mother interacting with her newborn. There's tenderness, playfulness, the new mother trying on different maternal feelings for size, feigned, playful anxiety which gets briefly out of control and becomes real and then vanishes back into sweetness. I talked about none of this to my teacher, but when I played for her after having looked at it this way, she said that I'd finally understood how to feel that movement as one whole thing. I'm sure there are other ways to look at that movement, but it's an example of how you have to work to imagine the music.

Another deceptive thing is that because Mozart and other classical music has a sort of elite cast to it nowadays, it's easy to forget that Mozart was around in the Enlightenment, which threatened to shake up the social classes and even to attack established religion. It's easy to miss the revolutionary aspect of Mozart since we may think of his music as the soundtrack for luxury car ads or pricey mustard.

Offline cuberdrift

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Re: Mozart
«Reply #4 on: September 06, 2020, 03:53:31 AM »
I agree with the problem of having to play the notes perfectly (or to create the illusion that you're playing them perfectly), because anything out of place somehow sounds worse in Mozart than in many other composers. But I don't think that's the only source of difficulty. Another problem is that Mozart is not what he seems. I mean there's sort of a popular culture cliche that his music is pretty, symmetric, well-balanced, perhaps a bit emotionally distant. The sort of thing that makes up the background of an upper class wedding reception.

But Mozart is much more dramatic than that. Everything is like an opera, a comic opera, sometimes, but always an opera with real emotions. Every little phrase is a statement and carries some emotional weight. Nothing can be treated as "just" accompaniment or filler or transition. Every time a simple phrase is repeated or sequenced you have to think about whether to treat it as question and response, or statement and restatement with emphasis. Everything has to be imagined as an interaction between characters. It is all intense and human and lively and every little articulation mark that Mozart included is there for a reason.

I'm no great shakes as a pianist, but I'll give an illustration. My teacher assigned me Mozart's Eb Major piano sonata, the one whose first movement is an adagio. The notes themselves are not difficult at all. However for weeks I could not understand what seemed to me to be sudden shifts in mood and dynamics, from sad to childish to expansive. I struggled to find a way to make emotional sense of the first movement. Then I thought of a young, new mother interacting with her newborn. There's tenderness, playfulness, the new mother trying on different maternal feelings for size, feigned, playful anxiety which gets briefly out of control and becomes real and then vanishes back into sweetness. I talked about none of this to my teacher, but when I played for her after having looked at it this way, she said that I'd finally understood how to feel that movement as one whole thing. I'm sure there are other ways to look at that movement, but it's an example of how you have to work to imagine the music.

Another deceptive thing is that because Mozart and other classical music has a sort of elite cast to it nowadays, it's easy to forget that Mozart was around in the Enlightenment, which threatened to shake up the social classes and even to attack established religion. It's easy to miss the revolutionary aspect of Mozart since we may think of his music as the soundtrack for luxury car ads or pricey mustard.

I agree with this! I'm usually unsatisfied with the available recordings on Youtube of the piano sonatas. However, I came across a certain "Ludwig Semerjian" who made several on an Anton Walter period instrument.

Highly recommend it. Not only does it sound "authentic" - but there are real emotions and characters in there, quite unlike the typical aloof treatment he gets from other performances.