Sign in to follow this  
Jimthesecond

"Beginner" Mozart

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

I'm a beginner/intermediate level player but I focus mainly on trad Irish music. I have a classical violin teacher that I've been working with since I started nearly 6 years ago who I've managed to convince to let me try my hand at a Mozart violin concerto (No. 3 in Germany major).

It's my understanding that Mozart is far from easy so I was wondering if anyone here can provide any tips or advice to better my chances at not butchering the music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I strongly recommend that you proceed.  Mozart as well as Haydn, Stamitz, Beethoven, and other classical composers of the time wrote music that on the surface does not always seem that difficult, notewise.   But the difficutly is in the control and finesse needed to pull it off well, and thus is the wonderful learning opportunity to study a work that has notes you can technically manage but will stretch your musical and bow control abilities to beyond your limits.  It is very cerebral music and requires such a touch to make it dance and soar as it should.  Go for it, but be a watchmaker, not a blacksmith.   My orchestral skills were honed in college by a brilliant conductor who used Mozart extensively for the same reasons to train his orchestras in dynamcis, instant response, clean notes, and to think, move, and breath as a single organism. 

 

Find recordings of Jose Luis Garcia and the English Chamber Orchestra.  In my opinion he/they were among the best authorities in these works. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting that for many years (and maybe still today) auditions for 99% of all orchestras asked for a movement from a Mozart concerto.  I'd say that tells something about the considered difficulty of Mozart.  However, Dr. S is right that on the surface it doesn't seem all that difficult.  It isn't Paganini or even Mendelssohn.  But it shows a player's weaknesses very quickly, if he has any, at least IMO.

 

Congratulations, Jimmy, for tackling the G Major.  When you get to the last movement you'll find a passage that strikes fear in even soloist's hearts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A bit off topic, but what the heck...Since you also play fiddle, take a look at the first violin part in the 4th movement finale of Mozart's Sinfonia #12 in G.  If you are willing to mess with his architecture (and the kid was only 15 at that point, so what did he know), the first violin part makes a fine set of two reels (one in G major, and the other in G minor).  It needs ornamentation (I put a long roll on D instead of the octave D in m4, for example), and I mostly disregard his bowings to make it danceable, but it's a blast to play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the orchestral parts the first quarter note of the first theme is marked forte and the second quarter is marked piano.  There are no specific dynamics to that effect in the solo entrance, but there's no reason to suspect that Mozart wanted something different there.  Leopold Mozart devotes an entire, very pedantic, chapter to avoiding accents on weak beats.  I think the upbow beginning defeats Mozart's intent,  I used to play it that way, but changed my mind.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting that for many years (and maybe still today) auditions for 99% of all orchestras asked for a movement from a Mozart concerto.  I'd say that tells something about the considered difficulty of Mozart.  However, Dr. S is right that on the surface it doesn't seem all that difficult.  It isn't Paganini or even Mendelssohn.  But it shows a player's weaknesses very quickly, if he has any, at least IMO.

 

Congratulations, Jimmy, for tackling the G Major.  When you get to the last movement you'll find a passage that strikes fear in even soloist's hearts.

 

I saw very interesting programme about the soprano voice, and one of the singers said exactly that about singing too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the orchestral parts the first quarter note of the first theme is marked forte and the second quarter is marked piano.  There are no specific dynamics to that effect in the solo entrance, but there's no reason to suspect that Mozart wanted something different there.  Leopold Mozart devotes an entire, very pedantic, chapter to avoiding accents on weak beats.  I think the upbow beginning defeats Mozart's intent,  I used to play it that way, but changed my mind.  

 

Well, if you're going to criticize her performance on the basis of Leopold's treatise, I'd start with the vibrato.  I think she's a wonderful player, but to my ears, I think that kind of vibrato is problematic in this music, as did Leopold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the upbow beginning defeats Mozart's intent,  I used to play it that way, but changed my mind.  

 

Do you do double (triple) down?  Or do you play the p second beat on an upbow?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder why Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 2 (D Major) is not the one people start with and why it is not at all well know. It is more accessible and absolutely delightful, and relatively easy to attach an "emotional scenario" to when seeking an interpretation.

 

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Andy's observation leads to a question, which is: why aren't the first two concerti played more?  After all these years I don't even own copies of them, and I couldn't hum their themes to save my life.  I have heard recordings but they didn't register.  

 

But maybe that's the answer:  Maybe there's nothing so memorable in them as the remarkable openings of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th concerti. Nothing we can grab onto in them (perhaps).  Now I'm going to listen to see, so thanks for bringing up the subject.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like this one better.  As much due to the very good accompaniment as the style of the performance.  Sparkles more.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX4cYb3fw1Y

 

Not dissing the Hahn performance at all.  Just love this one. Many traditionalists may not think it is stylistically valid, but I like Mozart with lots of energy and sparkle.  And the use of modern style with older music is a topic all of it's own.  Personally whle I find 'period' performances interesting, after a while they get boring and stale.   I can live without hearing another Mozart or Beethoven piano concert on a period instrument which frankly sounds exactly like it is being played on someone's grandmother's spinnet.

 

I think Mozart or Beethoven, if they heard a modern Steinway, would absolutely think you were crazy to use their instruments. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I listened to Mozart no. 2 just to listen.  Sounds fine but the beginning is sort of cut-up.  Cut- up means let's do this, then this and then this.  It doesn't flow very well at first but turns out very well for a listener like myself. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder why Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 2 (D Major) is not the one people start with and why it is not at all well know. It is more accessible and absolutely delightful, and relatively easy to attach an "emotional scenario" to when seeking an interpretation.

 

Andy

 

Don't people usually start with #2 or #3?  I guess most people start with #3 or with (Casadesus' fake) "Adélaïde".

 

Andy's observation leads to a question, which is: why aren't the first two concerti played more?  After all these years I don't even own copies of them, and I couldn't hum their themes to save my life.  I have heard recordings but they didn't register.  

 

But maybe that's the answer:  Maybe there's nothing so memorable in them as the remarkable openings of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th concerti. Nothing we can grab onto in them (perhaps).  Now I'm going to listen to see, so thanks for bringing up the subject.

 

I can't hum #1, but #2 is wonderful.

 

Because the D Major is much more technically demanding and virtuosic than the G.

 

I think you're thinking about #4 in D instead of #2 (also) in D.

 

 

----

 

I was thinking (for some reason, erroneously) that Mozart wrote 3, 4, & 5 years after he wrote 1 & 2, but I was mistaken.  They are all from 1775 (some scholars say #1 is from 1773).  Still though, it makes sense that 3, 4, & 5 would be better than his first two.  He was constantly improving as a composer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're right, I was referring to #4, the one in Suzuki book 10. Aside from the five, aren't there two which are "uncertain?"

 

There's the Adélaïde I mentioned earlier, by Casadesus (early 20th century) and the (supposed) Violin Concerto No. 6 in E-flat k. 268.  But it's now thought by scholars to have been composed by the very fine violinist and composer Friedrich Eck (a younger contemporary of Mozart from Mannheim).  I'd have to read up on it, maybe someone knows more... it's possible Eck heard some of the material from Mozart and reworked it.

 

PS-  There are also the 134 bars of the incomplete Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola, and Cello.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.