Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mozart's Genius Is In His Complex Simplicity

Yesterday while driving I became aware that I was listening within to the opening of the C Major Rondo from Mozart's 7th Piano Sonata (the one he wrote for Rosa Cannabich while he and his Mother were on the road to Paris seeking some sort of post to which a living wage would be attached) - While this Rondo opens with a tender, expressive theme I also, in an analytic moment, became aware that it's nothing more (nor less) than a five finger exercize from dominant to tonic (sol-fa-mi-re-do) - How does a composer do that? How does a composer take a simple thing and make it into a moment of transcendental magic? Simple - the composer must be Mozart.
All my life I have heard the hollow echoings of the traditional wisdom that Mozart Piano Sonatas are somehow lesser members of the family...I could list dozens of insipid quotes from those in positions of "influence" that I have been stunned to hear over the course of decades-This one stands out somehow (from a piano teacher who had amassed a flock of students all of whom she told-"Don't bother with the Mozart Piano Sonatas. There is SO much more music in his concertos.) I had the good fortune to fall in love with the Sonatas in 1942 so my love affair has been a long one. In 1949 I began studying them with Nadia Reisenberg, whose broadcast performances of the complete Mozart Concerti are still legendary) - Her emphasis was that in every single note, in every turn of phrase, Mozart's genius is to reveal his full genius.

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