Thursday, April 16, 2015

Mozart: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Mozart is one of the most recognizable names in music history.  He was a leader and an innovator in the Classical music era and he has influenced many future performers throughout the last couple of centuries.  He proved to be a child prodigy at the keyboard and the violin from an early age and he started composing at age 5.

Throughout his lifetime he composed over 600 works and is the first artist that comes to mind when one things of classical composers.  Mozart is the essence of the Classical style, but Mozart was a unique composer in the fact that he composed music in every major genre such as symphony, opera, the solo concerto, chamber music, and the piano sonata.  Although Mozart was not the inventor of these styles (some may argue he developed and popularized the Classical piano concerto) he took them to the next level. 

The central traits of each style are present in Mozart’s music, however Mozart added his own twist on each style fortifying the power behind his music.  Mozart had a unique ability of imitating the music he heard, often playing it back better than before.  With this gift he traveled a lot in his younger years, blending many influential composers together.  Traits of Bach from his London travels and the Mannheim orchestra from Italy are adamant throughout all of works.

Mozart first style was formed by playing a fast movement in one key, and countering it with slower strokes in a harmonious minor.   Mozart would then take these harmonies and leads them toward a dominant key and then finish with a classic cadence.  He later turned to more of a Barque style, which is an irregular form that contains incremental subtle and storm parts of the piece.

Mozart’s influence in classic art of music is immeasurable.  Rossini puts it best when he said “He [Mozart] is the only musician who had as much knowledge as genius, and as much genius as knowledge.”  Mozart’s legacy is unparallel to any other composer and his influence will last for many centuries to come.  Even pop music can be broken down as a 3 minute cord progression (usually in D), and can be traced back to classical music, with a more ‘jumpier’ melody working its way up and down the scale much faster than a classical piece would.

Mozart has influenced me quite a lot as well.  I have played piano since I was 8 and although lately I have drifted to more of a modern style of music, many of my favorite pieces are Mozart’s Minuets and excerpts from his sonatas.  His classical style will forever be remembered, as he is one of the most influential musicians ever to have been born.

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