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Mozart and Beethoven: the Baton Passes - Essay Example

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To hear their names in conversation, you'd think that no other composers exist at all in modern public life. People say flippantly: “Ooh I like Mozart's music”, only to never really delve into the joy, gaity, passion, and musical genius. …
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Mozart and Beethoven: the Baton Passes
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Download file to see previous pages The two composers are some of classical musics best and yet the comparisons and contrasts between them are stark and distinct. Mozart brought a playfulness to his themes which were immediately recognizable to his audience and even to be carried home after a performance they were so memorable. Beethoven brought a continued development of the thematic elements yet in his first, he stays to form and doesn't take risks staying within some unwritten guidelines it seems. In Mozart's 41st Symphony, called “Jupiter”, Mozart was at a time in his life where he was debt ridden and at the bottom of his popularity. Other composers had taken over as concert favorites, yet the piece is one of his richest and most dynamic. Beethoven First Symphony, on the other hand, occurs at the beginning of his tenure as a developing composer and his reverence for Mozart is clear in his writing and thematic elements. While the comparisons are real and will be highlighted here, the contrasts of Beethoven's further development are also noted as musical styles and critical evolution of the audience help to bring Beethoven's work to the precipice of the romantic era. It was however forward tonal development of Mozart which assists Beethoven's later works as we shall see. 1. Mozart and Symphony 40 At the end of his life, Mozart began many works, the three Great Symphonies among them. The penultimate final symphony is a grand work full of new material and an even more daring tonal experiment, atoniality. It is this subtle experiment which takes the symphony to levels far beyond works that were being written at the time. Mozart feels out the experiment is ways many listeners and musicians might never quite associate but it is there and announces what might have been had Mozart survived longer than his late 30's and what music might have become had he done so. The 40th Symphony is a work in 4 movements and the work overall stays true to Mozart's sonata form (exposition, development, and recapitulation). Oddly, he starts with no introduction stating the theme from the first notes. Further, he continues to use brass and percussion in militaristic form, emphasizing the tonic and tonal bases while playfully working around the edges in the movements with woodwinds and strings. It is around the development of the first and fourth movements that Mozart takes musical development far deeper than Beethoven's first symphonic work with maintains tonal emphasis while still yielding a work which is broad and rich. In the fourth, Mozart makes a daring move into atonality with his developmental elements displaying a chromaticism which wouldn't really be developed until Schoenberg in the 20th Century. The opening of the development is dynamic in that it ignores convention of tonal bases and its escape from tonal gravity allows it to set up a genuine tone row. The remainder of the fourth movement gradually returns to the tonal base and its mood is a return to one of uplifting sentiments and thematic restatements in the recapitulation (Einstein 1962). It is in this vein that the G Minor 40th set a standard of musical development that wouldn't be matched, in reality until Beethoven's later symphonic works and even his Concerto's. Mozart delves into tonal elements in the 40th which were dark and foreboding, yet in the ending deeply gratifying musically and emotionally (Einstein 1962). 2. Beethoven's First Symphony Far from being a first ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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