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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart volledig overzicht van leven en muziek (edition 1999)

by H.C. Robbins Landon (Author), M.M.C. Mengelberg (Translator)

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Member:melomaan
Title:Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart volledig overzicht van leven en muziek
Authors:H.C. Robbins Landon (Author)
Other authors:M.M.C. Mengelberg (Translator)
Info:Baarn Tirion cop. 1999
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:engeland, non-fictie, muziek, klassiek, mozart, h.c. robbins landon, pb, 1e druk, naslagwerk, componisten, foto

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The Mozart Compendium: A Guide to Mozart's Life and Music by H.C. Robbins Landon

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The Mozart Compendium
A Guide to Mozart's Life and Music

Edited by H. C. Robbins Landon.

Schirmer Books, Hardback, 1990.

4to. 452 pp.

First published in 1990.

Contents

Reader's Guide

Section 1
CALENDAR OF MOZART'S LIFE, WORKS AND RELATED EVENTS

(Else Radant)

Section 2
A MOZART-WEBER FAMILY TREE
(Malcolm Boyd)

Section 3
WHO'S WHO
(Malcolm Boyd)

Section 4
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Church and State (Otto Biba)
Currency
Economics
Enlightenment and revolution
Patronage and the place of the musician in society
(Andrew Steptoe)

Section 5
MUSICAL BACKGROUND


The origins of Mozart's style:
Opera (Michael F. Robinson)
Instrumental (David Wyn Jones)
Sacred (David Humphreys)

Musical life in Europe:
Salzburg (1756-83) (Clemens Höslinger)
France (1764-6 and 1778) (Julian Rushton)
England and the Netherlands (1764-6) (Julian Rushton)
Germany (1763-81) (Otto Biba)
Italy (1770-74) (Julian Rushton)
Vienna and the Habsburg Domains (1762-91) (Otto Biba)

Mozart's patrons (Malcolm Boyd)

Section 6
MOZART AS AN INDIVIDUAL


Map of Europe in Mozart's Time

Family background
Mozart's appearance and character
Marriage and Constanze
Mozart social world
(Andrew Steptoe)

THE PORTRAITS (plates 1-15)
(incorporating essay by Albi Rosenthal)

Mozart's income and finances
Mozart as a performer
(Andrew Steptoe)

Freemasonry (Philippe A. Autexier)
Mozart's journeys (Amanda Holden)
Mozart's illnesses and death (John Stone)

Section 7
MOZART'S OPINIONS AND OUTLOOK

Religion and politics
Sexual morality
Ultimate beliefs
Reading matter
Attitude to environment
Composers and composition
Opera
(John Stone)

Section 8
SOURCES FOR MOZART'S LIFE AND WORKS

Family letters
Documents
Autographs
Manuscript copies
First and early editions
Dissemination of Mozart's music
(Cliff Eisen)

MOZART'S HAND (plates 16-30)

Section 9
A CONSPECTUS OF MOZART'S MUSIC

1762-74: apprenticeship and assimilation
1775-80: compositional refinement
1781-88: productivity and popularity
1789-91: the path to a new style
(Esther Cavett-Dunsby)

Section 10
THE MUSIC


Operas:
Mozart's contribution to the genre (John Stone)
List of works (Amanda Holden)

Symphonies (Cliff Eisen)
Concertos (Robert Levin)
Miscellaneous instrumental (David Wyn Jones)
Dance and ballet (David Wyn Jones)

Chamber music:
Harmoniemusik and other music for multiple wind instruments (Roger Hellyer)
Piano and strings (Derek Carew)
Strings alone (Alec Hyatt King & John Arthur)

Piano: sonatas and other works
Mechanical organ and harmonica

(Patrick Gale)

Sacred music:
Masses
Requiem
Miscellaneous sacred music
(David Humphreys)

Oratorios, sacred dramas and cantatas:
Voice and orchestra
Songs, vocal ensembles and canons
Arrangements and additions; transcriptions of works of other composers
(David Humphreys)

Miscellaneous:
Fragments and sketches (John Arthur)
Doubtful and spurious (H. C. Robbins Landon)
Lost (H. C. Robbins Landon)

Section 11
MOZART AND THE THEATRE OF HIS TIME

(Peter Branscombe)

Section 12
PERFORMANCE PRACTICE

(Robin Stowell)

Section 13
RECEPTION

Contemporary assessments
Posthumous assessments
Myths and legends
The Mozartian topic in literature
Mozart's influence on later composers and on the history of music
(John Stone)

MOZART LITERATURE
Biography and biographers
Analytical and critical studies
Other Mozart studies
Bibliography
(Alec Hyatt King)

Select Bibliography
List of Illustrations
The Contributors
Index


===========================================

2011 marks 220 years since the death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the most gifted human beings who ever lived. Telling proof of his genius is the simple fact that even today, more than two centuries later, an astonishing proportion of his enormous output is firmly in the standard repertoire and constantly performed worldwide; not to mention that virtually all his works that have survived are available on record, often in various interpretations. If one wants to get closer to the man behind the great composer, or learn more about the facts of his life, there are several important - though fictional - accounts, most notably Milos Forman's magnificent movie Amadeus (1984) and David Weiss' novel Sacred and Profane (1968), certainly one of the finest novelised biographies ever written. Naturally, these works should be explored with great caution - mostly for pleasure, rather than for information - but to dismiss them as irrelevant will not do. But what does one do when one wants expert scholarship and as much historical accuracy as possible, yet is baffled by the enormous literature about Mozart out there? Answer: one picks The Mozart Compendium.

The layout is pretty much same as that in the companion volumes in this series of compendia, if I may put it in so confused a way. The only slight difference is the large number of contributors to The Mozart Compendium, full two dozens excluding the general editor, and the fact that the contribution of the latter is very limited indeed, quite unlike the cases of Beethoven or Wagner where Barry Copper and Barry Millington, respectively, are among the major writers in the volumes. But since Mr Landon is a well-known, and renowned indeed, in the field of Mozartian scholarship, we needn't worry about his editorial competence. The contents of the compendium are generally, if not uniformly, excellent, combining in the usual manner high informative content, rigorous scholarship and pleasant readability. As usual, and as explained by Mr Landon in the short Reader's Guide, references are kept to minimum for the sake of clarity, and sources are indicated only in cases of more controversial opinions; there is no need, however, to doubt the integrity of the contributors and those who are hungry for more may start with the jaw-dropping bibliography in the end of the book.

There are few mild disappointments, mostly concerned with the part about the music where the treatment is somewhat superficial and rather perfunctory. One may try to understand. Mozart's productivity was astoundingly stupendous - his versatility even more so. Not only did he compose in more or less every possible genre that existed at the time, but he did create at least several masterpieces in it: symphonies, operas, piano sonatas and concerti, violin sonatas and concerti, string quartets and quintets, piano trios, concerti for flute, oboe or clarinet, serenades and divertimenti, enormous amount of masses and church music - the diversity is mind-boggling. So, indeed, is the quality. Many of Mozart's works, of course, are juvenilia of purely historical interest only, but even among his early creations there sometimes are astonishingly mature and powerful pieces. My personal favourites are the three Divertimenti K. 136-138; it simply defies belief that Mozart was sixteen when he composed these gems for strings, full of passion, joy, longing and sadness that many a great composer never reached even in their maturity.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Mozart - I am indebted to Alfred Einstein for pointing out that to me - is that his genius reached the greatest heights both in the instrumental music as well as in the opera. This is something rare, not to say unique, in the history of Western classical music.

How many operas did Beethoven compose? Only one on which he worked for years, and he never really was at home with writing for voices anyway, heretical as this may sound. What did Wagner, Verdi or Puccini compose besides their masterpieces for the stage? Very little indeed; though the quality is usually very high, such compositions were almost purely incidental (or, in the case of Wagner, insignificant juvenilia) and they never had the success of their operas; even Verdi's Requiem, which is one of the most popular in its genre (and certainly the most operatic!), never was half as famous as Rigoletto or La Traviata. The situation is no different with composers renowned for their instrumental music, or at best vocal music that extends to the song or oratorio but certainly not to the opera. How many operas did Brahms compose? Not even one. Does anybody remember today the operas of Schubert and Schumann? Hardly. How many operas did Liszt compose? But one - a charming childhood's attempt but nothing more. Needless to say, the instrumental music of all those composers is firmly in the standard repertoire and has long since been recognised to be among the greatest ever composed; so, in many cases, are their songs or choral works.

But Mozart's case is radically different. In addition to the enormous amount of symphonies, concerti, serenades etc., there are at least four operas by him that are performed almost everywhere in the world: Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782), Le nozze di Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787) and Die Zauberflöte (1791). Only slightly less well-known are Cosi fan tutte (1789), Idomeneo (1781) and La clemenza di Tito (1791), although the last two have been largely rediscovered fairly recently. So it is hardly surprising that a treatment of Mozart's music that aims at comprehensiveness in a single volume should be unsatisfactory.

I can't think of a single composer who is so abundantly present both in the concert hall and in the opera house as Mozart is. The only remote candidate is Tchaikovsky, but few would dispute that his symphonic music has always been far more popular than his operas (his ballets, of course, are another story).

The treatment of Mozart's operas is Section 10 is perhaps the greatest disappointment in the book. This is especially true of the turgid and all but incomprehensible prose of Mr Stone whose profound psychological analyses the reader is well-advised to skip. Amanda Holden's List of Works could - and should - have been more detailed in terms of plot details or any other details peculiar for given work. The sections of other works fair better and are packed with information for the specialist and the layman alike: years of composition, publication and premieres; tonalities, parts, instrumentation, and so on and so forth. The previous part dedicated to the music - Section 9 - suffers rather badly, though predictably, from severely technical exposition. Also, it is rather unfortunate that the whole Section 13 should have been written by Mr Stone - it is dead dull, not to mention his appallingly flippant treatment of the otherwise promising section Myths and Legends. It is grossly unfair, too, that Mr Stone should also have been the author of the whole (and very important) Section 7. Literally, I have to struggle in order to profit from this man's writing. The good news is that he is something of an exception among the contributors - the others are way finer writers indeed.

There is at least one part about the music where the treatment of the subject is downright excellent. Since it is concerned with one of Mozart's greatest masterpieces which also happens to have a very complicated history, I should like to devote few words to it. I am talking about the Requiem of course. It is well-known that it was left unfinished at Mozart's death and was later completed several different times by several different people; the most often performed version is that of Süssmayr who was Mozart's pupil at the time.

There have been numerous hot debates how much of the music was completed by the composer himself, how much (if any) was entirely composed by Süssmayr, whether he used any sketches of Mozart or his verbal instructions, etc. Now, the only part of the work entirely completed and orchestrated by Mozart's hand was the opening Requiem aeternam, but all of the next nine parts - that is Kyrie, the six parts of Sequentia and the two parts of Offertorium - were almost completed by Mozart as well; before death takes him away from this world, he composed all of the vocal parts (by far the most important) together with the bass line and several important cues for the orchestration (like the solo trombone in the beginning of Tuba mirum); the only exception is Lacrimosa, the last part of Sequentia, which breaks off after only nine bars. So Süssmayr's work on these parts, the scholars agree, was more or less routine drudgery of no artistic merit. The case of the next three parts - Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei - is more complicated than that. Süssmayr claimed that they were entirely his compositions, a statement slightly supported by the fact that nothing in Mozart's hand has survived.

Now it seems, however, that the scholars are mostly of opinion that the perfectly mediocre Süssmayr could not have composed that music entirely on his own. It still is a speculation, but it appears more likely that he used either Mozart's sketches that were later lost or some verbal instructions which the great composer gave him before his death. As for the last two parts - Lux aeterna and Cum sanctis tuis - Süssmayr simply used the first two parts with few very slight modifications. All in all, it is gratifying to know that Mozatr's Requiem was most of all Mozart's. For it certainly is one of the most amazing musical works ever composed.

On the positive side are the wonderful parts about the historical and musical background of Mozart's times as well as about his fascinating personality, opinions and beliefs, family members and relationships with friends or patrons. The complicated personality of the famous Salzburger comes to life with astonishing vividness for non-fiction writing of immaculate scholarship. Mozart's two most important personal relationships - with his father and with his wife - are discussed with rare subtlety and considerable insight. After all, nothing is as plain as it seems at first glance.

Leopold might have been an appallingly possessive father, but his shrewd understanding of how the world works was essential for Wolfgang's success as Wunderkind. And if this is of somewhat questionable value, in his mature years when he was living in the expensive Vienna as a freelance musician, so to say, Mozart would surely have profited a great deal had he possessed something of his father's social cunning. As for Frau Mozart (nee Weber), she has often been dismissed as flirtatious and frivolous creature, the marriage with whom did more harm to Mozart than brought him any benefit. But this does not seem to be the case. For one thing, Mozart apparently retained warm feelings for his wife until the end of his life and, for another, after his death Constanze showed herself as a most skilful businesswoman. It's unlikely that she did not during Mozart's life as well.

Last but not least, The Mozart Compendium manages to destroy the myth about Mozart's poverty and his dying in misery. It's true that in the late 1780s his popularity in Vienna started to wane and his impractical way of living didn't help the matter, but Mozart neither died in poverty, nor were his debts after his death considerable. Disappointingly, though, I couldn't find anything in the book about Mozart's notoriously cheap funeral and the common grave he was laid in which remains unknown to the present day.

On the negative side in the non-musical chapters is occasional prejudice as well. Rather a gross one that struck me was the mentioning of ''Shaffer's notorious, irrelevant movie'' in the section Biography and biographers. Fortunately - for the quality of the compendium - it is a single sentence, but it calls for some comment here.

To begin with, there is no such thing as ''Shaffer's movie''. Peter Shaffer wrote a play which was successful enough to be turned into movie a few years later (together with Milos Forman, outstanding cast, brilliant soundtrack and much more); not to mention that it is frankly inane to talk about a movie or a play at all in a section that's supposed to be dealing with scholarly sources. Both the movie and the play are works of art; they needn't have anything to do with historical accuracy or scholarship. That said, it is foolish to deem them ''irrelevant'' because of that. Indeed, it is vastly ironic to do so in this particular case, because Mozart's character in the movie Amadeus matches to a surprisingly high degree the description in Section 6 of The Mozart Compendium: scatological humour and foul language, infantile flippancy and inane jokes, bohemian lifestyle and lots of drinking, it's all there. Most astonishingly of all, Mozart's stupendous self-assurance in his own superiority over everyone else, especially composers, also seems to have been quite true, as amply testified by his letters. Remember those memorable lines from Amadeus:

'Mozart, you are not the only composer in Vienna.'
'No. But I'm the
best.'

The strangest thing is that he not only claimed it. He really was.

Additional bonuses in The Mozart Compendium include a fine Calendar in Section 1, separated into four parallel sections and thus giving, except the major events of Mozart's life, also a great number of cross references with other composers, arts and history in general, and an excellent collection of portraits, all of them in black-and-white but reproduced in high quality. One peculiar statement in the latter section is that the famous portrait of Mozart painted by Barbara Krafft in 1819 - that is 28 years after his death (today you can see it even on the package of those delicious chocolate candies Mozartkugeln) - is probably one of the most accurate since it was based on earlier (and now lost) engraving by Joseph Lange (whose unfinished portrait from 1790, incidentally, is one of the finest as well); it's worth noting that here another, rather rare, engraving of Lange is also reproduced.

As it seems, the portraits of Mozart that are regarded as most faithful today have a great deal in common and one can picture the great composer very accurately. His physical appearance was as incongruous with his magnificent music as his character was: far from handsome, with pail and sickly complexion, rather protruding eyes, insolent twinkles in them, and an obstinately twitched mouth. One funny detail of his appearance is that he seldom wore a wig, but had his fair and abundant hair done according to the latest fashion.

Finally, by way of tradition, the book also contains a stupendous bibliography and a nice discussion of the numerous original documents, biographies and critical studies concerned with Mozart. It's a bit dated, of course, but the important point is that everybody who wishes to know the man behind all that glorious music must read his letters first (together with Leopold's perhaps). For once, all scholars in the field of Mozartology agree completely.

Now, what shall we listen to? Don Giovanni or the G minor Symphony? ( )
2 vote Waldstein | Jan 31, 2011 |
A revised survey of the life and music of Mozart which includes a calendar of his life, works and related events, a Mozart-Weber family tree, a who's who of acquaintances and contemporaries, details of historical and musical background, a complete list of works with commentaries, and fresh insights on 'lost works'. First published in 1990.
  antimuzak | Nov 21, 2005 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0028713214, Hardcover)

Mozart authority H.C. Robbins Landon leads a team of more than 20 of the world's greatest Mozart scholars in an exploration that touches virtually every facet of the composers life--from the profound influence of his father, to his emotional attachment to his wife, even to his personal attitudes toward death. Two 8-page photograph inserts.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:37 -0400)

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