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4. Mozart – Wrap-up and further listening

February 21, 2011

Mozart was truly a genius on the scale of once-in-a-century. He’s one of the primary names people associate with classical music, and for good reason. He had a rare melodic gift, an impeccable craftsmanship and technique, and a “perfect” sense of balance and aesthetic. His music is accessible and popular with the masses (i.e., in those kinds of “101 Classical Favorites” compilations), but also hailed up in the ivory towers as being profound, and having layers and layers of genius to study and appreciate.

One measure of greatness in classical music is versatility – how many different forms the composer has masterpieces in (The list goes something like, symphony, concerto, string quartet, piano sonata, opera, sacred music.. not exactly sure what’s in and what’s not). Of this measure, Mozart is perhaps supreme in all classical music… although Beethoven, who we’ll look at later, could be that “Magic Johnson” who could possibly have been better than “Michael Jordan” (sports tangent).

Mozart died at the young age of 35, just when his music was really becoming unbelievable – he’s one of those guys that you wonder, how much more could he have accomplished had he lived a full life? Of his 41st symphony, Woody Allen said it “proves the existence of God.” The British music writer Sir George Grove said of the symphony, “It is the greatest orchestral work of the world which preceded the French Revolution.”

Below is some more of Mozart. The list got pretty long, but his versatility made it hard to trim it down:

Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K.550 – I. Molto Allegro

The second-to-last symphony Mozart wrote; one of the greatest.

Symphony No. 41 in C major (“Jupiter”) K.551 – IV. Molto Allegro

Factoid- Mozart composed these last two symphonies (4 movements each) in a matter of 6 weeks. Other composers have spent years on a single symphony that wasn’t even half as good as these.

Requiem Mass, K.626 – “Dies Irae”

This piece, among other Mozart works, was used in the Pixar short “Jack-Jack Attack”, of “The Incredibles.” It comes at the part when Jack-Jack’s superpower comes out and he’s running around on fire.

Requiem Mass, K.626 – “Lacrimosa”

One of the very last pieces of music Mozart completed – this one is out of this world.

Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K.219

Mozart’s 5th (and last) violin concerto; written in the middle of his career.

Clarinet Concerto in A, K.622 – III. Rondo – Allegro

Apparently, one movement of this piece (but might not be this one) was used in the movie “The King’s Speech” – though I didn’t see it so i’m not sure where it comes up.

Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K.467 – II. Andante

One of the most serenely beautiful pieces Mozart composed. Consistently makes “classical music for relaxation” compilations.

Opera “Don Giovanni,” K.527 – Duet “La Ci Darem La Mano

One of Mozart’s most famous opera excerpts – a duet of a guy romancing a girl… though unfortunately, he’s a VERY bad guy

Opera “The Magic Flute,” K.620 – Overture

From Mozart’s final opera, written very late in his life.

Piano Sonata in A major, K.331 – I. Andante Grazioso

The lesser-known first movement which precedes the below. It was used in the Jet Li movie “Unleashed”… if anybody saw that one.

Piano Sonata in A major K. 331 – III. Alla Turca: Allegretto

More popularly goes by the name “Rondo alla turca.” You definitely know this one.

Next: Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35 – III. Finale: Allegro vivacissimo, and introduction to the Romantic Era

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