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Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
JoelW #2852945 05/27/19 11:58 PM
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There is no real way to compare composers, of course. Everything is subjective. These three are more difficult because their lives don’t really overlap. Only Felix and Camille we’re alive at the same time and only for a few years. They almost certainly did not know one another. It is easier to say that these men stood on each other’s shoulders.

If Saint-Saëns is easily the best keyboard player of the three, one could also say that he had more of a foundation to build on, coming after Liszt and Chopin changed the world. If Felix is the best composer at a young age, one could argue that Mozart was on the road for almost all of his young life and Mendelssohn was considerably more comfortable and able to think. The above might seem to make a case for Mozart but one cannot ignore that so few did what any of these people did that it is extraordinary that it happened at all.

So I’d say none is greater. They had different strengths and weaknesses like everyone else.

Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
JoelW #2852999 05/28/19 04:53 AM
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I can’t believe we’re on page 3 and nobody has mentioned my name yet.

laugh


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Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
Carey #2853033 05/28/19 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by Hatchestron
From what perspective? Maybe Sans Saens was the most remarkable as a keyboard player. But Mendelssohn at 16 wrote a work (the Octet) which Saints Saens never came close to equaling (and in truth, nor did Mendelssohn), Mozart excelled in a wider range of musical skills as a child and assimilated more styles which combined with a much greater originality led to a vastly superior adult career as a composer.

Sorry - but I don't share the opinion that Mendelsson was a "one hit wonder" (two, if you count the Overture to Midsummer's Night Dream). Yes, the Octet is an amazing accomplishment for a 16 year old, but many of Mendelssohn's later achievements, including the Variations Serieuses, Piano Trio Opus 49, Violin Concerto, and Symphonies No. 3 and 4 have become staples of the classical repertoire - and rightfully so. I agree, however, that Mozart was the greatest composer of the three. smile



+1. Of these 3, Mozart was the greatest composer. But Liszt and Paganini should be listed as "prodigies" as well.



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Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
JoelW #2853063 05/28/19 09:33 AM
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I certainly didn't mean to imply that I regard Mendelssohn as a "one hit wonder". But I do feel that if he had died after writing the Octet, we would have supposed a far greater career awaited him than he actually produced. By the same token, Beethoven's works from his early 20s give no hint that he was going to produce opus 109, 110, 111 etc!

As for Alma Deutscher, mentioned by several posters earlier, she is certainly a fascinating phenomenon but her compositions are glib pastiches. Remarkable for someone her age but no one will be listening to them in 10 years time, let alone 200. Compare her music to Messiaen's La Dame de Shallot, written when he was 8, if you want an example of musical originality in a young mind.

Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
Hatchestron #2853077 05/28/19 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Hatchestron
I certainly didn't mean to imply that I regard Mendelssohn as a "one hit wonder". But I do feel that if he had died after writing the Octet, we would have supposed a far greater career awaited him than he actually produced. By the same token, Beethoven's works from his early 20s give no hint that he was going to produce opus 109, 110, 111 etc!

Felix's problem - like Korngold's - was that his style never changed from his precocious teenage years to adult maturity. (BTW, among composers, Korngold is right up there for pure prodigious gifts as a prodigious prodigy - his first piano sonata composed at 13 was performed often by Schnabel; Mahler called him a genius, as did R.Strauss).

Whereas Mozart's changed (as did Beethoven's - much more so). Compare his Die Entführung aus dem Serail to Le nozze di Figaro, then to La clemenza di Tito, or his Little G minor to the Big G minor, or his first non-derived piano concertos to his K595. His notes were pared down, his harmonies simplified down to basics yet more profound, his tunes became ever more vocal (& less note-y) in their inflexion. Whereas the Felix of 16 was the same as the Mendelssohn of the Violin Concerto, which was why his teenage MSND overture could so easily be expanded into a full-blown hour-long incidental music with no anachronisms a few years before his death. Musical perfection, either way, with full command of intellectual and emotional Romantic resources.

Try substituting a movement from Wolfie's K183 for one from his K550, or an aria from Die Entführung for one from Die Zauberflöte, and you get a jolt........


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Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
JoelW #2853088 05/28/19 10:51 AM
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Saint-Saens has to be up there.

Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
Orange Soda King #2853095 05/28/19 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Saint-Saens has to be up there.


On what grounds?

Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
Hatchestron #2853099 05/28/19 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Hatchestron
Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Saint-Saens has to be up there.


On what grounds?

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"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
JoelW #2853119 05/28/19 12:02 PM
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Interesting thread. It had me looking up the likes of Anton Rubinstein , but here https://musicwithvision.medici.tv/playlists/classical-music-precocious-young-composers/
they have Mozart, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninov and Deutscher.

I'm ashamed to say I'd never heard of Deutscher before!


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Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
Hatchestron #2853131 05/28/19 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Hatchestron
I certainly didn't mean to imply that I regard Mendelssohn as a "one hit wonder". But I do feel that if he had died after writing the Octet, we would have supposed a far greater career awaited him than he actually produced. By the same token, Beethoven's works from his early 20s give no hint that he was going to produce opus 109, 110, 111 etc!

As for Alma Deutscher, mentioned by several posters earlier, she is certainly a fascinating phenomenon but her compositions are glib pastiches. Remarkable for someone her age but no one will be listening to them in 10 years time, let alone 200. Compare her music to Messiaen's La Dame de Shallot, written when he was 8, if you want an example of musical originality in a young mind.


We shall see. I think I will if still alive, and looking forward to more.


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Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
JoelW #2853133 05/28/19 12:54 PM
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Quote
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt, Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910


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Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
Tyrone Slothrop #2853466 05/29/19 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Quote
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt, Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910


+1. Teddy was quite the interesting guy.



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Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
JoelW #2853928 05/30/19 03:09 PM
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This is Liszt's Diabelli Variation written when he was 11.


Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
johnstaf #2854062 05/30/19 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
This is Liszt's Diabelli Variation written when he was 11.


The kid certainly showed potential. Whatever happened to him? crazy


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Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
JoelW #2854097 05/31/19 03:39 AM
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I don't know, but his daughter married some dude who wrote show tunes.

I think this is a real prodigy.

Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
JoelW #2854182 05/31/19 10:52 AM
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Anna Maria Mozart?Mozart's Sister


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Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
JoelW #2854506 06/01/19 08:03 AM
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Another modern day prodigy besides Alma Deutscher would be Ariel Lanyi from Israel. When he was born, his parents (non-musical) played classical recordings at home and he would listen to music constantly for hours.

At a young age he not only play concertos with orchestras, he also composed his own music. 1 time the family was traveling by car. The father said the car stereo is playing a concerto by Beethoven. Young Lanyi said "in...". The father couldn't answer so the son said "in B-flat major". The father checked the recording cover at home and the son was right.

We are talking about someone who has a rare gift and proficient at it beyond his years.

Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
JoelW #2854851 06/02/19 08:46 AM
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William Crotch, playing the organ for visitors at the age of 2, is right up there in any list of musical prodigies, and surely at the top of the list of "completely failed to fulfill his promise". laugh

Of the three originally listed, Mozart was undoubtedly the greater prodigy, composer and overall musician in my view, and unquestionably had the greater influence on subsequent generations. He also retained and fulfilled his promise into adulthood in a more convincing way than the other two.


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Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
JoelW #2854867 06/02/19 09:57 AM
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I don't think Mozart was necessarily the greatest child prodigy among the three, but he did become the greatest composer. I don't think Mozart became one of the great composers before he was an adult.

I don't get the fascination with child prodigies, as their music is nearly always uninspired and derivative. Amazing music for an 11 year old, is not necessarily amazing music. Liszt, I think, is fascinating because he foreshadowed his mature style while still a child.

Re: Who was the most gifted prodigy?
JoelW #2854875 06/02/19 10:34 AM
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That's not to say that I don't think prodigies are amazingly talented, but amazing musical talent (compared to us mere mortals) isn't freakishly rare.

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