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#1042833 - 12/21/08 11:01 AM From "nothing" to genius  
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I have never cared much for Mozart's music - not my cup of tea. Everyone says he was a genious but I never understood - his music just wasn't "serious" enough.

A while ago I decided to give his music a try so I bought a book with 15 intermediate Mozart pieces. wow It is so much fun to play. Playing Mozart's music has taught me to appreciate his musicality and the qualities of his compositons. I find his short pieces perfect for aquiring good tecnique since they require great attention to details for that "Mozart sound".

Has anyone else experienced that playing a certain composer's music opened a new and unexpected musical world?

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#1042834 - 12/21/08 11:26 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Yes. I had similar experiences with Bach and Schumann and now hope to come to new terms with Chopin (whom I don't like so far).

Playing music works like a miracle ...

Just wondering whether it can happen the other way round as well - that you love a composer but start to hate his/her music as soon as you start playing it?


"The creative process is nothing but a series of crises."
(Isaac B. Singer)

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#1042835 - 12/21/08 11:34 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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my teacher thinks Mozart and Bach are his top 2 favourites, and many serious pianists think the same.

i always find Mozart difficult to play, not about learning notes but playing well. when your techniques are not up to it, it shows. the same could be said about Scarlatti, whose music also requires that particular 'sound', which unless you can play well you're not going to produce that right sound.

#1042836 - 12/21/08 12:50 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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The Other Side of the Keyboard

I have always loved classical music. It is a major part of my life--as major as could be without being a professional musician. I spend a lot of time listening to it and constantly being enriched by it.

However, in all my listening time there have been some composers that I just couldn't grab onto. Chopin, Schubert, some Mozart...some others that just didn't do it to me as a listener. I attribute that to my mostly liking a Romantic sound of a full orchestra. I could listen to orchestra music all day. The sound of a piano (admittedly on the radio or CD) would acoustically tire me out fairly soon.

Then about ten years ago I started teaching myself the keyboard. The advent of practical electronic instruments meant that I could afford to have a reasonable one with which to learn.

I plugged away for some time and got a respectable sound and technique--my handle BWV846 refers to the first prelude of Book 1 of Bach's WTC--a piece of musical wonderment that always amazes me when I play it.

I found the book that has all the sample tunes on my keyboard (Yamaha P60) I started listening to them and reading along with the sheet music. (My musical score reading abilities are quite good.) As I tried to play these pieces--still well beyond my present abilities--I could feel myself appreciating Chopin and Schubert more and more. Being on the side of the keyboard that MAKES the music is a different feeling that being on the listening side. Playing these pieces even with my usual big faults is wonderfully satisfying.

Playing the keyboard has tremendously helped my listening abilities. I used to listen to orchestra music and enjoy the changing tibre of the sound. With a keyboard I am listening more to the structure of music and appreciating it even more.


Joseph

"If at first you succeed, try to hide your astonishment."
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#1042837 - 12/21/08 04:52 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by Akvarn:
I have never cared much for Mozart's music - not my cup of tea.
There must have been some "strange brew" in your teacup :p

The piano works are, of course, simply outstanding - but if you want to hear Mozart at his very best check out his series of pieces known as "Serenades" or "Divertimenti" (usually for smaller chamber orchestra) - there is nothing more delightful or enjoyable in the entire Classical music realm! thumb (piano transcriptions are available).

Regards, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
#1042838 - 12/22/08 03:59 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Check out the Mozart Sonatinas. They are arrangements but are at an easyish level and delightful.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1042839 - 12/22/08 06:55 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Thanks for this post Akvarn, I'm too not crazy about Mozart but I'm going to look at the pieces in that book to see if I develop a taste for him. The "fun to play" caught my interest.

If it doesn't work out for me it's no big deal there are plenty of composers and their music which I love but good to hear that you gave it a chance.


Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster
#1042840 - 12/22/08 07:31 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by Oxfords Gal:
. . . I'm too not crazy about Mozart
That's crazy not to be too crazy about Mozart wink :p

Regards, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
#1042841 - 12/22/08 08:55 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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JF and keyboardklutz: Thanks for the suggestions. The serenades seem to be out of my league at the moment but I might give the sonatinas a try. There was probably some "strange brew" called coffee in the teacup. wink

When I started to play the piano my goal was to be able to play Rachmaninov's music. In a sense it still is but if you can play Mozart's music you can probably play Rachmaninov's too. I am not sure it works the other way around. That's not to say I dislike or hate Rach's music now - on the contrary - but perspective has changed, I guess.

I think it is at least as much fun to play Mozart's music as to listen to it. Maybe it will be more fun to listen to Rach's music than to play it... smile

And now some Schumann to escape the portato for a while.

#1042842 - 12/22/08 08:58 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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No not necessarily JF, people have different tastes in music, books etc. It would be crazy if I forced myself to like something I don't like just for the sake of it or just to act like a sheep and follow everybody else.

I've never liked Bach either although I'm doing some of his pieces. Mozart and Bach just don't do it for me.

I do like Beethoven, Schubert, Grieg and some of Chopin. I find their music more interesting to me and I don't think any less of people who don't like them.

Different strokes for different folks I always say. laugh


Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster
#1042843 - 12/22/08 10:10 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by Oxfords Gal:

I do like Beethoven, Schubert, Grieg and some of Chopin. I find their music more interesting to me and I don't think any less of people who don't like them.
OG - I hope you understand that I was only kidding you (hence the wink :p in my post) - I support you fully in whatever & whomever you want to play (with the possible exception of some 20th century stuff that grates on the eardrum) and have enjoyed your recordings since you started posting them (with the harrass . . ., er, a , encouragement of me).


Quote
Different strokes for different folks I always say. laugh
That's what the scull crew from Whatsamatta U. said as they kept going in circles laugh

Regards, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
#1042844 - 12/22/08 11:26 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Hey Keyboardklutz,

Do you have a specific recomendation for the Mozart Sonatinas, preferably a publication of several? If you have an ISBN, that would be great.


Keep it fun, and stay motivated!

If you can achieve something without a struggle, it's not going to be satisfying.

#1042845 - 12/22/08 11:27 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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OOPs. Double post.


Keep it fun, and stay motivated!

If you can achieve something without a struggle, it's not going to be satisfying.

#1042846 - 12/22/08 11:54 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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To be honest Mozart isn't my cup of tea either. Even my teacher aid I'm not suitable to play his pieces.

When I actually have to learn them, I have mixed feelings, not sure if I actually enjoy them or not but when I stop playing, I don't ever feel like playing a new piece by Mozart.

I'm more of a romantic era person. A bit of 20th century, jazz and pop suits me fine as well.


Yamaha C3, Yamaha Avant Grand N1 (sold), Steingraeber 170 (family's)
#1042847 - 12/22/08 02:27 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Yarr JF, I know you were yanking my chain. I just go along with it for the heck of it. laugh

I'm doing a duet with my teacher by Schubert "Serenade" that piece really speaks to me. I find it absolutely beautiful.

Here's an mp3 of the recording on the cd that came with the book. This is not us playing btw

http://www.box.net/shared/34zhsci2ga


Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster
#1042848 - 12/22/08 03:12 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by melwig:
Hey Keyboardklutz,

Do you have a specific recomendation for the Mozart Sonatinas, preferably a publication of several? If you have an ISBN, that would be great.
I'm not by my books so can't say which my ones are. Google 'Mozart - Six "Viennese" Sonatinas' and see what's on offer.


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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1042849 - 12/22/08 04:56 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by Oxfords Gal:
I'm doing a duet with my teacher by Schubert "Serenade" that piece really speaks to me. I find it absolutely beautiful.

Agreed - that is a beautiful piece - it's saying alot to me too - you should realy enjoy working on that! Good luck.

Regards, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
#1042850 - 12/23/08 07:26 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Oxfords Gal: That Schubert piece is beautiful music. Good luck with your current project and Mozart, too. smile

While listening to the radio yesterday they interviewed one of Norway's well known (in Norway, anyway) composers/pianists. His name is Wolfgang Plagge, by the way. They asked him if he had always liked Mozart. "No", he said. It had taken him years to learn to appreciate Mozart's music because he initially thought it was too "light-footed".

#1042851 - 12/23/08 08:15 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by Akvarn:
While listening to the radio yesterday they interviewed one of Norway's well known (in Norway, anyway) composers/pianists. His name is Wolfgang Plagge, by the way. They asked him if he had always liked Mozart. "No", he said. It had taken him years to learn to appreciate Mozart's music because he initially thought it was too "light-footed".
That's how I have felt when I was younger. Originally I thought Mozart's music was a delightful confection but not very 'deep'. There is no doubt that he did dash off some of his keyboard works without too much care and effort (eg some of the sonatas have almost no dynamics) but others are like precious gems. As I get older I appreciate Mozart more and more - that subtle yearning and sadness beneath the laughter.

#1042852 - 12/23/08 10:42 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by Mary-Rose:
(eg some of the sonatas have almost no dynamics)
That's because most are for the harpsichord.


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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1042853 - 12/23/08 11:27 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Quote
Originally posted by Mary-Rose:
[b] (eg some of the sonatas have almost no dynamics)
That's because most are for the harpsichord. [/b]
Thus, dynamics on a piano optional at the performer's discretion (and risk laugh ).

Regards, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
#1042854 - 12/23/08 12:46 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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OK - maybe I'm wrong about the dynamics - but I definitely think some of those sonatas were dashed off in a hurry! That's just the way Mozart was. I love him very much and, as I said, appreciate him more as time goes on.

#1042855 - 12/23/08 01:46 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by Akvarn:
A while ago I decided to give his music a try so I bought a book with 15 intermediate Mozart pieces.
So, what is the book you bought? Please post info so I can look it up.

Thanks!


Dave

Born again piano player.
#1042856 - 12/23/08 02:53 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by Mary-Rose:
OK - maybe I'm wrong about the dynamics - but I definitely think some of those sonatas were dashed off in a hurry! That's just the way Mozart was. I love him very much and, as I said, appreciate him more as time goes on.
Mary-Rose:

You are actually correct. Mozart's music is incredible. However, he wrote many of his pieces quickly (how else could there be over 600 works in the Koechel catalog when Mozart died before he was 36?), often leaving out dynamic markings. This is in contrast to Beethoven who agonized over many of his works for long periods and especially Brahms who was so self critical that he may have withheld some real masterpieces that we will never hear from publication.

A good example is the first movement of Mozart’s A minor piano sonata, k.310 (one of his greatest piano sonatas, written around the time of the death of his mother in 1778). There are several dynamic markings in this piece (including ff and pp). However, from the p marking at the beginning of the secondary theme in the first movement to the close of the exposition (as well as the corresponding passage in the recapitulation), there are no dynamic markings whatsoever. If we follow Mozart’s directions literally, this entire section should be played piano. However, almost no good pianist would ever play the piece that way.

I am not trying to be unfairly critical of Mozart who is my favorite composer. However, no one (not even Mozart) is perfect.

By Mozart’s time, the keyboard instruments had evolved beyond the harpsichord and could produce different dynamic levels. To quote the composer and musicologist Eva Badura-Skoda, "As a born pianist, Mozart understandably wanted to own the very best concert grand available. His instrument, still extant and now exhibited in Salzburg in the house in which he was born, remains the best fortepiano of the period, an excellent concert grand, precious not only because Mozart gave his many subscription concerts on it, but also because of its quality. Anton Walter's best instruments were indeed the most expensive in Vienna ... but as concert instruments they were also apparently superior to all the others."

Here is some additional information on the keyboard instruments Mozart used and wrote for:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/mozart/piano.shtml
http://www.aam.co.uk/features/9702.htm

Here is a picture of Mozart’s forte piano and concert grand.

http://michaelsroom.co.uk/mozart_room_keyboards.htm

Otis

#1042857 - 12/23/08 03:33 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by Otis S:

A good example is the first movement of Mozart’s A minor piano sonata, k.310 (one of his greatest piano sonatas, written around the time of the death of his mother in 1778).
Mozart didn't even own a piano then! Besides what a silly argument - Mozart didn't write in the dynamics to save time?!


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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1042858 - 12/23/08 03:52 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Hi, Dave.

The book I bought is "Mozart - 15 intermediate piano pieces" by Hal Leonard Piano Library/Schirmer performance editions. It includes a CD, fingerings and useful performance notes.

#1042859 - 12/23/08 04:32 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Quote
Originally posted by Otis S:
[b]
A good example is the first movement of Mozart’s A minor piano sonata, k.310 (one of his greatest piano sonatas, written around the time of the death of his mother in 1778).
Mozart didn't even own a piano then! Besides what a silly argument - Mozart didn't write in the dynamics to save time?! [/b]
KeyboardKlutz:

Your earlier post said
"That's because most [of the Mozart piano sonatas] are for the harpsichord."
Do you really stand by the fact that most of the Mozart piano sonatas are for the harpsichord, because this is contrary to everything I have been taught (and have read) on the subject?

Regarding the lack of certain dynamic markings in Mozart's pieces such as the passage I mentioned, I don't have a definitive answer as to why this is the case. The argument that this may have been due to Mozart's carelessness was not my own but one that I got from my teacher. If you have a better explanation, please state what it is (preferably citing some sources to provide added weight to your explanation). Just dismissing someone else's explanation as "silly" without providing a plausible one of your own is not convincing.

If you listen to just about any major recording of the first movement of K. 310, it will be obvious that well known pianists almost universally agree that the first movement of the piece should not be played piano from measure 23 to the end of the exposition, a clear violation of the dynamics written by Mozart.

Otis

#1042860 - 12/23/08 04:59 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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I'm afraid I'm all out of essays on 18th century performance practice. You'll just have to accept that Mozart wrote down all that was reqiured to perform his music in his day. And yes, at least half his keyboard output would be for harsichord some perhaps composed on a clavichord. The piano had not yet gained its place as the keyboard of choice.


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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1042861 - 12/23/08 08:12 PM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
I'm afraid I'm all out of essays on 18th century performance practice. You'll just have to accept that Mozart wrote down all that was reqiured to perform his music in his day. And yes, at least half his keyboard output would be for harsichord some perhaps composed on a clavichord. The piano had not yet gained its place as the keyboard of choice.
Keyboardklutz:

If you still insist that Mozart wrote at least 50% of his works for harpsichord, please provide sources for this information. In addition to the sources on the Web in my previous post suggesting otherwise, here is some additional information. In Alfred Einstein’s classic biography of Mozart entitled “Mozart: His Character, His Work”, in the beginning of Chapter 14 entitled “The Clavier”, Einstein writes: “it should be noted that he [Mozart] wrote for the same instrument as Beethoven, Weber, or Chopin – not for the clavichord or the harpsichord, but for the pianoforte, although of course not for the powerful instrument we know in the products of Erard or Steinway. The only works that can have been conceived and written for harpsichord are the early concerto arrangements after Johann Christian Bach and minor ‘French’ composers (k. 107, and k. 37, 39, 40, and 41).”

Another book that I have in front of me, “The Mozart Compendium: A Guide to Mozart's Life and Music” edited by H. C. Robbins Landon, describes several of the types of pianos Mozart played on but does not anywhere suggest that a large number of his piano works were composed for harpsichord. I could go on with other works by renowned musicologists but there doesn’t seem to be much point to doing so if the evidence I have presented so far is not convincing already.

If Mozart had been writing for the harpsichord after all, why are there dynamic markings in even his early piano sonatas?

Regarding the issue of whether his music contains a sufficient number of dynamic markings as written, that is a matter of opinion. You have your opinions, others (including some very famous pianists) believe differently. We cannot resolve this issue here. However, we owe it to all of the forum readers to clear up misunderstandings of fact. Despite the respect that I have for your participation in the Piano World forums, I cannot accept your assertion that Mozart wrote the majority of his keyboard works for harpsichord given the preponderance of evidence that I have seen to the contrary.

Best Regards,
Otis

#1042862 - 12/24/08 03:48 AM Re: From "nothing" to genius  
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Quote
Originally posted by Otis S:
If Mozart had been writing for the harpsichord after all, why are there dynamic markings in even his early piano sonatas?
Firstly, there is no evidence Mozart owned a piano until he moved to Vienna in the 1780's. In fact in the 1781 he was having to borrow Countess Thun's Stein for concerts. You need to understand (and maybe explore?) the world of music making in the 18th century, it is a domestic thing. Mozart's buying public would have been 95% clavichord or harpsichord owners; the piano being too expensive and new fangled. Don't look at the period with 20th eyes. My guess is Mozart would have used whichever keyboard that was at hand and best suited. We know from Constanze that he composed all his last major works on the clavichord (Magic Flute, Requiem). He needed the piano to play to larger audiences - these was a new phenomenon. Also, they all wanted 'opera-type' music requiring an instrument with a louder dynamic range. None of these things happened over night. The old Romantic notion that Mozart championed the piano is just that, a Romantic notion. Like everyone else, he worked from with the prevailing limitations of his period.

To understand the dynamics in his work you need a considerable knowledge of practice from the composers of the 1740's, 50's, 60's and 70's - as Mozart had. I can highly recommend it.

A further thought - Have you ever noticed how when children read aloud they are often drone-like using limited dynamic/pitch variations? Ask them about their favorite holiday and you'll get something totally different - and alive.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

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