Monday, October 27, 2008

Getting Back to Mozart

On Friday I'm heading to Salzburg, Austria where I will teach a seminar next week. I've been to Salzburg two or three times before, the first time in the late 1980's during my "heavy Mozart" phase. The 1984 movie Amadeus sparked my initial interest in Mozart (I first saw it in Japan in 1985), and Mozart's music was nearly an obsession for a while. I was lucky to be able to feed that obsession by visiting the Mozart Gerburtshaus (birthplace) in Salzburg and even attending a chamber music concert in the concert hall of the Residenz (the archbishop's palace, where young Mozart had performed many times). I also collected many Mozart CD's (but not quite the complete works).

So now I'm doing a little Mozart re-immersion in preparation for the trip, ripping a few more of my Mozart CD's so I can listen to my own Mozart soundtrack on my iPod as I wander the city next weekend. While doing this, I rediscovered my special affinity for Mozart pieces in the key of G minor. He didn't often compose in that key, and when he did, the music tended to be energetic and defiant more than sad or moody as many minor key musical works can seem. I especially like Symphony No. 25 (K.183, the "little" G minor, whose first movement is used in the opening scene of Amadeus), the Piano Quartet in G minor (K.478), the String Quintet in G minor (K.516), and Symphony No. 40 (K.550), the second of his final three symphonies, all amazingly composed in 1788.

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