Classical Cats! Did Mozart Have "Favorite Licks"?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by iamdavea, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. iamdavea

    iamdavea Silver Supporting Member

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    So, I hardly listen to guitar music anymore. Unless it's Greg Howe. Have returned to my classical collection, and have been buying new things off Amazon. Been spending A LOT of time with Mozart's piano concertos. Favorite interpreters are Murray Perahia, Richard Goode, Susan Tomes (flawless articulation), and Maria Joao Pires (best recorded piano sound ever). I'm not at the point where I can immediately identify every concerto at the beginning, but I'm always aware that this music is marvelous, and a great gift. Question! Obviously, the concertos contain a great deal of fast & intricate passagework. Did Mozart have--like most composers/musicians--favorite lines and patterns that he returned to again and again? A guy like Yngwie gets a lot of heat for "running scales"; did Mozart also have times when he let his "fingers do the walking", so to speak? Interested to hear your thoughts!
     
  2. telelion

    telelion Member

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    Absolutely. The same trills, arpeggios, ostinatos, runs, chord inversions, turnarounds, abound in classical music and yeah they are like favorite licks. I run into them all the time playing classical guitar not to mention listening. Of course in the old days classical musicans/composers improvised freely especially on cadenzas and you know they must have gone to their well of clichés especially since it was kind of like shredders where they were out to impress the audience whether it was Paganini or Liszt.
     
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  3. vintagelove

    vintagelove Member

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    Absolutely. Particularly the chromatic enclosures ala rondo ala Turk. Also great Mozart study is his variations on "twinkle twinkle" (really the French? Lullaby, Google will get you there). It contains many of his signature elements he would go on to use throughout his lifetime.

    Also if you haven't already, start learning Bach. I've learned more from Bach than anyone, it's the reason I understand music. His stuff is relevant from baroque to bebop to yngwie. Pick up his inventions (2 part songs) and start dissecting them. IMO he is by far the greatest musician to walk the earth, and it's not even close.

    Give him a week to learn the late romantic classical works, and a week to learn jazz, and we'd all need to jump off a bridge. That is if his fugues don't already make you look for one!!!
     
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  4. xarkon

    xarkon Member

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    I would agree that there are many common elements used throughout classical music - grace notes, appoggiaturas, mordent, grupetto (turn), trills, etc.

    Telelion is correct that the style for soloists in particular was to improvise. This usually took the form of ornamentation of the melodic line with additional elements, or improvising during other parts of the music. For example, as I understand it, the things we might call a cadenza were referred to as "eingang" (an "introduction," often to elaborate on a fermata) with a strong focus on improvisation (as opposed to a written-out cadenza). (Search for "The Eingang in Early Beethoven" for info; the link is coming across oddly when I try to paste it here.)

    There has been discussion about symbolism in note choices, too; some musicologists have suggested that the extensive use of thirds in the Mozart Clarinet Concerto might be closely related to Mozart's interest in Freemasonry. Some discussion of that is on the klarinet listserv and bulletin board.

    IMHO, the really good stuff from Mozart is in the last couple years before his death.

    For more, you'll need a musicologist; what I'm saying above is from playing the clarinet and reading about aspects of performance practice.
     
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  5. iamdavea

    iamdavea Silver Supporting Member

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    Wow! Great answers so far, guys! Thanks! It's easy for the layman, like me, to think of Mozart as this great, protean genius whose mind was so brimming over with musical invention that ALL his ideas were fresh and new. I do get a sense of repetition in some of the lines in the concertos, but the lines are long and go by quickly, and my ear can't identify them as readily as, for instance, the trademark pentatonic runs that comprise a lot of EJ's soloing. To vintagelove: I've listened to Bach, but I find kind of a mathematical element to his music that I don't respond to so well. I have a CD of CPE Bach's cello concertos that I REALLY like, so maybe I need to give his dad more attention!
     
  6. xarkon

    xarkon Member

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    There are a couple of ways in which I think about this that might or might not be useful to you.

    One, Mozart was a genius. But the earlier stuff just isn't very interesting...it sounds like something written for a college comp assignment. Except - then you realize he was probably 12 at the time.

    K.271 (piano concerto no. 9) was written when he was 21.

    As you get to the later stuff - particularly the last two years, 1789 - 1791 - things get really interesting. Symphonies 39, 40, 41; Cosi fan Tutte, The Magic Flute, La clemenza di Tito; the Clarinet Concerto; the Requiem.


    Two, the transition from the Baroque to Classical to Romantic to Modern is marked by a general progression of "break more rules."
     
  7. Turi

    Turi Member

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    Yeah he bends the 4 to the 5 a lot.
     

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