Mozart's Splendid Dramatic Dialogue!

© Katie Morgan


If you wish to reproduce any notes or articles (or part of) from this website, please contact me before doing so. To commission new articles or programme notes, please contact katie @ katiemorgan. com (no spaces)

It is common for the piano concertos composed by the “Prince of Concerto writers” - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - to be metaphorically described as “voiceless dramas”, and as Simon P. Keefe has observed, Christoph Koch, among many theorists, has situated instrumental dialogue in a dramatic context. There is no doubt that eighteenth-century arias and concerto movements were similar in both style and form, since both were based on the contrast between a protagonist and an accompanying orchestra. However, Koch believed that ‘the accompanying voices are not merely there to sound this or that or that missing interval of the chord between the concerto player and the accompanying orchestra’ but rather to engage in a ‘passionate dialogue’.[1] But what are the dramatic similarities between Mozart’s piano concertos and his operas? First, one must clarify what is meant by the term “dramatic”. From a dictionary definition one could interpret “dramatic” as:


1: relating to the drama

2a: suitable to or characteristic of the drama

2b: striking in appearance or effect

3: of an opera singer: having a powerful voice and a declamatory style


The definition also suggests that dramatic applies to situations in life and literature that stir the imagination and emotions deeply.[2] Therefore “dramatic” can be perceived to be a term that revolves around human affairs, and move to some sort of crisis or peripeteia, as James Webster suggests. Webster also states that this anthropomorphism, should be acknowledged, which confirms J. M. Levy’s definition that the dramatic is “a governing metaphor because it is rooted in primordial aspects of human experience.”[3] However, as it would lead too far a field to extensively evaluate all the dramatic similarities and differences in this concise investigation of a somewhat copious subject, one must remain comparatively concise.



How do Mozart’s concerto movements from the 1780s resemble his arias? As Keefe states, broad generic links between interaction in Mozart's concerto movements and operatic arias and ensembles have never been in question. One superlative example to answer this question is to examine the dialogue of the K.467 Andante. Albert says that it “consists of nothing but a continuous song for the piano”; whilst Einstein calls it “an idea aria freed of all the limitations of the human voice”.”[4] Rosen calls it:


'An aria … a series of long-breathed cantilenas of the greatest poignance; the only hint of virtuosity is exclusively vocal, an imitation of the long expressive leaps from one register to another in the operatic cavatina. …' [5]



The consistency of texture and the repeated single basic idea in the second movement of K.467 makes this movement aria-like, and quite uncharacteristic of concertos. However, it resembles the traditional opera seria[6], since the movement it is an Andante in common time, with melodic leaps in dotted rhythms, and a slow melody over a continually pulsing accompaniment.


The opening ritornello from K467 is one of the most obvious examples in any of Mozart slow movement, and as Webster suggests, has two groups:

Group 1, concedes a singing theme:

mozartex1.jpg

(Ex.1)

And the “wide leap” sequence moving from tonic to dominant:

mozartex2.jpg

(Ex.2)

Group 2, has a minor-mode over a dominant pedal:

mozartex3.jpg

(Ex.3)

And the cadence returns back to the tonic[7]:

mozartex4.jpg

(Ex.4)

Regardless of its style, this movement is constructed not like a typical Mozart aria, but is instead, like a Mozart concerto movement. For instance, if one were to examine the opening orchestral tuttis in Mozart’s Viennese opera arias, one would discover that they differ both from his earlier aria introductions and his Viennese concerto ritornellos in two fundamental, complementary respects. They are much shorter and therefore less elaborate, and they also play no comparable role in the larger form. However, in the ritornellos of the piano concertos, parts of the opening theme and its final cadence in particular, return at various later points, which is essential to the form. The ritornellos that occur later reinforce the structural cadences that end each major solo section. Therefore, the opening ritornello is as Webster has aptly declared, 'almost a microcosm of the movement, nested within it at the beginning: complete in itself, beginning with the main theme and cadencing in the tonic.' Following the cadenza, the final cadence of the opening ritornello is mirrored by the final structural cadence of the movement as a whole. In contrast, an introduction used in arias, may be of any length. It may remain independent from the solo part, never being taken up or entering into dialogue with it. It may also only present one idea; and its ideas may indeed be abandoned once the soloist has entered. The introduction might or might not return, either in the middle or as a conclusion. In short, unlike a ritornello, an aria introduction is not part of the form.

Conversely, the ritornello of K.467 governs the form as a whole, although Webster declares it has two complicating factors. The recapitulation bears resemblance to a type of rounded-binary movement, rather than the accustomed sonata-form recapitulation. The main theme returns at bar 73 but is displaced to the flat mediant, A-flat[8]. F is not regained until theme (3) at bar 83, and remains in the home dominant minor. There is no resolution to the major until theme (4) at bar 88, and no root position tonic until the structural cadence at the end of the sonata-recapitulation (bar 93-94). Therefore, the key aspects of the form generally combine sonata and rounded-binary principles.

mozartex5.jpg

(Ex. 5)

The second complicating factor is that the initial piano section at bars 24-34 also concludes with a very strong tonic cadence at (5) with a trill. The cadence fundamentally differs with that of the ritornello’s cadence at (4), being prepared by the wide-leap (2) rather than the chromatic-minor (3). This cadence rounds off the movement as a whole at bars 97-99 and is followed by a brief coda. This confirms the primacy of ritornello function as formally secure music that cadences in the tonic. Both structural cadences from the beginning reappear at the end, in the same order, and each in its original framework.

mozartex6.jpg

(Ex.6)

However, in some respects Webster has noted that this movement does resemble one Mozart buffa aria[9], from Cherubino’s “Voi che sapete.” (Figaro)


To compare it with the thematic recapitulation in the Andante of K.467, bar 71, K.467 is structurally identical to Cherubino’s move, with F minor in first inversion (bar 69) moves through the flattened sixth – D-flat, to its dominant, as a structural half-cadence. Here the main theme enters in A-flat after, the winds join in, both ostinatos stop and the piano appears to meditate. As Webster suggests, in this context, in the middle of a movement that is on one level a continuous pouring forth of immediately expressive melody, this unexpected modulation “suggests nothing so much as Cherubino’s lovesickness.”[10]

mozartex7a.jpg

(Ex.7a)

Le nozze di Figaro, “Voi che sapete”, bars 31-40

mozartex7b.jpg

(Ex.7b)

Piano Concerto in C major, K.467, Andante, bars 66-75

One should note similarities between the voice/orchestra in 'Deh vieni' and 'Voi che sapete' (Figaro) and the piano/orchestra in the reinforced collaboration within the movements of Mozart's piano concertos. Keefe has revealed that just as the most complex piano/orchestra dialogue in movements such as K. 414, 449, 453, 456, 459, 488, 491 is set aside until the recapitulation, which proves a “teleological quality to the development of solo/orchestra relations”, the reservation of these increased amalgamations of segues into the melodic structure of 'Voi che sapete' and the addition of semiquaver dialogue in 'Deh vieni', “lend a teleological quality to the development of solo/orchestra relations in these arias”. Therefore the collaboration between piano and orchestra is reinforced, whilst the orchestra's perceptive support in the arias is increasingly strengthened.


Webster suggests that the claim for general similarity of late-eighteenth-century aria and concerto can also be traced in musicologists’ analyses of their common feature of not being based on sonata form[11], which was the prototypical form of the Classical period. Therefore one could agree with Webster that both genres sometimes exhibit a multivalient form[12].

In all of Mozart’s concerto first movements, and the majority of the others, the opening tutti is a ritornello, and not just a simple introduction. The distinction affects size, content, and formal function. A ritornello is not only scored for the orchestra alone, but in Mozart is long and elaborate, presenting most or all of the primary thematic material. It usually remains in the tonic throughout, and always closes strongly there. The soloist may or may not have an independent solo part; in any case, during the course of the movement, complex thematic and textural relations usually arise between soloist and orchestra. Conversely, out of the forty-one arias in the three Da Ponte operas, significant opening tuttis are marginal, occurring in just fifteen arias, with only two of them being ritornellos. Webster has observed that more than half either have no independent orchestral music whatsoever preceding the vocal entry, or merely a measure or so of “vamping”.[13] He also remarks that more than one-fourth of the eleven arias, begin without any independent orchestral music whatsoever, and some follow directly on a conventional simplice ending, for example, Zerlina’s “Batti-batti” (Don Giovanni, No.12). Others follow an accompanied recitative which acts as a manner of an introduction.[14]

Ritornellos in Mozart’s concertos not only appear in opening movements, but also in the majority of the slow movements and most of the finales, although they are usually less complicated than in the opening movements. Therefore, these ritornellos, in contrast to the arias, play a similar role in the form as a whole. As Allanbrook has noted, Mozart tends to begin these movements, especially the finales, with a solo presentation of the main theme. However, a true ritornello usually follows. If one were to look at the finale of the A major concerto, K.488, the opening piano theme of eight fast bars, is followed by a complete, highly differentiated ritornello, conceding at least five themes. This begins at bars 9, 17, 32, 40, and again at bar 52. It is then repeated at the end (bars 441, 449, 457, 472, 496, 508), before it is interrupted by the piano’s subdominant closing theme (bar. 481).

Although ritornellos are very rare in Mozart’s Viennese operas, “Porgi, amor” (Le nozze di Figaro) (Ex.8) is the exception, since it is the only aria in Mozart’s Da Ponte operas that is clearly based on a long ritornello. However, its form still differs from a concerto movement since the ritornello is never used to confirm other structural points, or to punctuate the flow of the music. With this one partial exception, every other orchestral introduction fails to be sufficient in length and in influencing the entire form.

mozartex8a.jpg

(Ex.8a)

Le nozze di Figaro “Porgi, amor” opening ritornello

mozartex8acont.jpg

(Ex. 8a continued)

mozartex8b.jpg

(Ex.8b)

Concluding sections

Another slow concerto movement that bears a similarity to certain arias is the F# minor Adagio of K. 488. The main theme in the solo piano is a combination of stability and expressive development, leading to a tonally stable, passionate, imitative orchestral theme. Subsequently, the piano modifies the main theme, to the dominant of the relative A major, with widespread minor-mode mixtures, before the movement is eventually resolved onto the second theme. The form encompasses an exposition and a recapitulation of the first group – a form which Webster suggests can be equally understood as ABA Coda, “with an elaborate bipartite A section, and an independent B section, which is never recapitulated.” Interestingly, this is one of Mozart’s most common aria forms. It is especially used for creating expression in a slow or moderate tempo, such as Don Ottavio’s “Il mio tesoro” (Don Giovanni) and Ferrando’s “Un’aura amoroa” (Così fan tutti). Webster states that such a form used in this movement of K.488, is “inherently ambigious” – As Webster has questioned, is this a sonata without development, or is it an ABA form? Such vagueness in the form of a concerto movement during the Classical period – a period with principles of “just proportion” and natural balance - could consequently be deemed as “dramatic”.

It is interesting to compare dialogic confrontation and co-operation between arias and concertos, as examined by the musicologist, Simon Keefe. As Keefe has observed, most of the characteristics of piano/orchestra confrontation in Mozart's Viennese Piano Concertos (1782-6) are pre-empted by characteristics of character confrontation in Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782), the opera that immediately precedes them. Mozart uses tonal devices, such as modulatory sequences and major/minor shifts for example, to heighten dialogic confrontations in his operas, and Keefe notes that this establishes stylistic and procedural precedents for piano concerto movements such as K. 450 and 482.


The Lied and Duet No.2 from Entführung illustrates how tonal procedures play a crucial role in emphasizing confrontation between characters. Keefe has rightly noted that the duet establishes an example for the tonal impasse between the piano and the orchestra in the solo expositions of K. 482 and 450. Interestingly, where Osmin snubs Belmonte in bars 1-53 and the key remains obstinately set in G minor, the piano in the solo exposition of K. 450 also recoils its dialogue with the orchestra almost completely, which initially creates a harmonic standstill to the music. The outburst in bars 86­-7, suggests the orchestra’s “disagreement”. (Ex. 9 and 10)

mozartex9.jpg

(Ex.9)

Piano Concerto K.450, 1st movement, bars 63-74

mozartex10.jpg

(Ex.10)

bars 83-87

Confrontational dialogue in bars 53-9 of the duet, and the comparable dialogues in bars 216-22 of K. 482 and 152-6 of K. 450 (Ex. 11 and 12) change their individual position with regard to tonal procedure.

mozartex11.jpg

(Ex.11)

Piano Concerto K.482, 1st movement, bars 214-22

mozartex12.jpg

(Ex.12)

Piano Concerto K. 450, 1st movement

After the modulation to B-flat in the duet, the music resolutely modulates from G minor, passes through E-flat (bar 76), F (bar 89), A minor (bar 103), C major (bar l11), C minor (bar 114), G minor (bar 129), E-flat (bar 152) and B-flat (bar 164) to D (bar176). Interestingly, Keefe has noted that bars 152-6 of K. 450, impulsively modulate sequentially from F minor to C minor to G minor, leading to “a 'correction' of the static pedal from the beginning of the solo exposition.”[15] Bars 216-22 of K. 482/i also initiate a more active role for the orchestra in the modulating process of the movement.

mozartex13.jpg

(Ex. 13)

Die Entfüehrung aus dem Serail, No, 2, Duet, bars 111-17

Conversely, just as Mozart's dialogic confrontations in Die Entführung, (Ex.13) highlight the dramatic connotations at certain moments, the most compelling piano/orchestra confrontations in the concertos, such as those at the beginning of the development sections of K. 450 and K. 482, similarly highlight the dramatic nature of relational development within a movement.


Another pertinent example of dialogue can be found in 'La ci darem' from Don Giovanni. Here the orchestra plays a pivotal role in supporting both the developing relationship between the characters and the intimate relationship between the singers. Where the voice/orchestra dialogue returns as a repetition in the A' section (bars 33-4), it is more detailed in the final bars (Example 38) whereby the strings join one vocal note to the next (F#-D, G#-E, A-F#) with overlapping quavers on the second beat of each bar, and thus engages in what Keefe describes as “intimate dialogue with Don Giovanni.”[16] This split­ theme effect at bars 48-9, mentioned by Keefe, “leads directly to the crucial moment when Zerlina complies with Don Giovanni's request 'Andiam'”. Whilst the dialogic segues that Keefe observed in the A section pre-empts the overlapping of the dramatic characters, the voice/orchestra dialogue at the end of the A section (bars 46-9), then continues the process of musical overlapping, and more importantly, gives the impression of fleetingly replacing the second singer.

mozartex14.jpg

(Ex. 14)

Don Giovanni, No.7 (La ci darem), bars 46-49

'La ci darem’ is most comparable to the second movement of K. 449, since the concerto movement similarly combines repetition and thematic dialogue in the context of an ABA' structure. The first violins echo the piano B-flat - C and A-flat - B-flat leaps (bars 32 and 34) in the A section, before the first and second violins echo the piano's stepwise ascents from the 'second theme' (bars 42 and 44), just as there are vocal stepwise accents echoed by bassoon and oboe in the A section of “La ci darem”. Basically a transposition of the A section, the B section follows the same pattern as the A section, but the main theme is treated as an antecedent-consequent dialogue between the strings and the piano (bars 52-9). Keefe notes that the B sections of both the duet and the concerto movement split thematic material between both Don Giovanni and Zerlina, and the piano and the orchestra, for the first time, whilst retaining the A section's orchestral echoes/segues. Mozart splits the main theme at bars 80-3, between the strings and the piano again, in the A' section, which brings together an orchestral rendition reminiscent of bars 1-4 of the “orchestral introduction”, and also includes echoes in the second theme. Repeated material from the 'orchestral introduction' at bars 11-22 is heard at bars 90-3 and 112-19, where Keefe observes its subjection into two types of dialogue - echo and thematic, that dominate piano/orchestra relations in the movement. The two types of dialogue are then amalgamated into the concluding bars (Ex. 15). The figure from bar 22, which is used as echo material in the A section bars 32, 34, later reappears at bars 119-23 as an antecedent-consequent.

mozartex15.jpg

(Ex.15)

Piano Concerto K.449, 2nd Movement, bars 119-23

The Act 2 Trio 'Ah, taci, ingiusto. core' (Don Giovanni) also demonstrates striking similarities with Mozart’s movements. For example, the exposition of the trio, introduces each of the three soloists in dialogue with the orchestra (bars 1-4, 14-15,16-17), in a similar manner to the way the solo expositions of Mozart's concertos introduce the piano in dialogue with the orchestra. In addition, there are more discrete connections between this operatic group and individual concerto movements. For example in K.488 and K.449, Keefe has noted that dialogic segues in the trio’s exposition demonstrate the orchestra’s animated interaction with the soloists in bars 4, 8, 12, 22, 26. Also the woodwinds semiquaver motifs which are imitated by Laporello and Don Giovanni in bars 14-17, “provide smooth segues between vocal material”[17]. A similar combination of imitation exemplifies the dialogue between Don Giovanni and the first violins in bars 53-4, which is the end of the development and beginning of the recapitulation. Here, Keefe has observed too, that the rhythm and melodic shape of Don Giovanni’s closing gesture merges with the violins’ initial figure, just as the piano/orchestra dialogue in bars 189-97 of K.450 (Ex.16), bars 189-97 of K.459 (Ex.17) and bars 231-45 of K.595 elegantly bridges the corresponding sectional divide in Mozart’s piano concertos.

mozartex16.jpg

(Ex.16)

Piano Concerto K.450, 1st Movement, bars 189-200

mozartex17.jpg

(Ex.17)

Piano Concerto K.459, 1st Movement, bars 241-50

However, it is Mozart’s slow concerto movements that seemingly bear the strongest similarity to his arias, as they are relatively short and often uniform in textural dialogue and more lyrical than the outer movements, therefore Mozart’s frequent practice of beginning the slow movement with a ritornello is even more important in this context. All but five of his seventeen Viennese piano concerto slow movements begin with the orchestra, and the exceptions are outwardly simple in form. For example, K.466, K. 537, and K.595 are complex ABA movements; whilst K.491 a rondo; and K.488 is a combination of ABA and binary form.


Notwithstanding the similarities, the forms of Mozart’s Viennese arias are essentially different from those in his concerto movements. As we have seen, one of the most important of these differences is that the arias employ their initial orchestral material in a more capricious manner than the concerto. One could declare that Mozart’s concerto movements are more formal than the arias. In contrast to the consistent ritornello structure in the concerto, the introduction of an aria can be found to be in different forms and lengths, and their relations to later orchestral passages are noticeably varied. An aria usually begins with two exposition-type sections, in the tonic and dominant, or a rondo, or an ABA, or a compound aria. A recapitulation is more likely to be more free in form, and may scarcely be recognizable except in close analysis. Compared to what one would expect in a concerto, the return to the tonic may appear more inconspicuous.

Mozart's concertos always follow the structure of three movements, fast-slow-fast. The opening movement always has a ritornello, as well as most other movements. Certain parts of the ritornello always return, and there is always a sonata-type double return to the beginning of the ritornello at the beginning of the recapitulation. The exposition is always recapitulated and the end of the movement nearly always mirrors the end of the opening ritornello. The first and third solo sections of a concerto are similar to an exposition and a recapitu­lation, in a manner found in very few late Mozart arias, but in contrast the concerto has what Webster describes as internal organization-self-introduction plus repetition of the opening theme and modulating activity leading to a half-cadence; a second theme; a sequential elaboration and inten­sification; and a piano climax.[18] The structural cadence of the piano concerto, which ends with a trill, is far more orderly and conventional than most aria expositions.


As Webster mentions, there is no disputing the extensive similarities between the seria aria and the concerto. Eighteenth-century writers explicitly referred to them.[19] Both genres are based on the contrast between a featured soloist and an orchestral accompaniment. In both, the solo part is characterized by “speaking” expressiveness, improvised embellishments, Eingänge and the cadenzas, and the preparation of structural cadences with virtuosity (the piano climax in the concerto and coloratura display in the aria). In addition, they share a tendency toward cantabile melodies; some concerto themes are specifically aria-like in style.[20]

To look at the subject matter from another perspective, the soloist of a classical concerto is more a partner of the orchestra than a dominating leader. Therefore the piano/orchestra relationship is more akin to a “polite” duet. Cantabile passages in Mozart's concertos led by the soloist pre-empted a soloistic performance of the accompanying strings, creating something analogous to chamber music. Naturally, this moves the concerto from the relations with opera. Furthermore, a concerto is not staged or performed in costume, and bears no depictive relationship to the music heard an hour before or after. An aria is not considered a non-figurative body for its own sake, and is as Webster declares, a staged musical drama of three hours or more in duration, with plot development, surprises and reversals, changes of mind, reconciliation or damnation.[21] The concerto has no such outline. An aria is sung by a fictional character, whilst a concerto is not. Also an aria contains the emotion of the voice - which would include vibrato in a modern day performance, and the dramatic nuances within the singer’s breath. The piano does not share the same expressive capacity of a singer, and the fortepiano used in the 18th century, was not even capable of the same dynamic range (making it less expressive in this sense) as a modern day instrument. During this time, the tastes in piano performance emphasised “clarity of texture and fluency of technique”, as represented by Mozart’s talented pupil Johann Nepomuk Hummel.[22], which might suggest that emotion was not the sole aim in 18th century performance aesthetics. The fortepiano had a crisper, lighter and produced less “singing sound” than the modern piano, and did not have the same sustaining power, which consequently did not respond in every way to the expressiveness of the performer. Therefore, one believes in this respect that singers were (and still are) at an advantage, in terms of expressive capabilities, which would make the aria more dramatic in this sense.

One could conclude that based on the differences between the orchestral tuttis preceding the entry of the soloist, and consequence of the form as a whole, Mozart’s Viennese arias are formally more varied, flexible, and unpredictable than his concertos, not to mention the benefit of stage lighting, costumes, words, and the vocal expression of the singer that a pianist cannot emulate - such as vibrato and breath. The closest, may perhaps be, the use of vibrato and breath used by a wind player (which I shall discuss in a later blog post). Thus, although Mozart’s Viennese Piano concertos do sometimes utilize dramatic dialogue and interaction analogous to his operas, the concertos are in no way as dramatic as his arias.

Bibliography

ALLANBROOK, Wye Jamison, ‘Comic Issues in Mozart’s Piano Concertos’, in Neal Zaslaw ed., Mozart’s Piano Concertos: Text, Context, Interpretation. (Ann Abor: University of Michigan Press), 1996

HILL, Ralph. The Concerto (Connecticut: Greenwood Press), 1978

KEEFE, Simon P. Mozart’s Piano Concertos (Suffolk: The Boydell Press), 2001

LANDON, H.C. Robbins. The Mozart Compendium: A Guide to Mozart’s Life and Music (London: Thames and Hudson), 1996

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Die Entführung aus dem Serail: an opera in 3 acts (New York: E. F. Kalmus), 1994

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Idomineo (New York: Dover Publications), 1992

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Die Hochzeit des Figero: komiche oper in 4 acten: Koch. Verz. No.492 (Leipzig: Breitkopf and Härtel), 1976

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Così fan Tutti: The School for Lovers: an opera in 2 acts, K.588. (New York: E. F. Kalmus), 1968

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Piano Concertos Nos. 7-10 in full score (New York: Dover Publications), 2000

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Piano Concertos Nos. 11-16 in full score (New York: Dover Publications), 1987

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Piano Concertos Nos. 17-22 in full score (New York: Dover Publications), 1978

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Piano Concertos Nos. 23-27 in full score (New York: Dover Publications), 1999

SADIE, Stanley, and LATHAM, Alison. The Cambridge Music Guide (Hong Kong: Cambridge University Press), 1996

SADIE, Stanley. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Essays on his Life and his Music (New York: Oxford University Press), 1996

WEBSTER, James. “Are Mozart’s Concertos “Dramatic”? Concerto Ritornellos versus Aria Introductions in the 1780s’ in Neal Zaslaw ed., Mozart’s Piano Concertos: Text, Context, Interpretation. (Ann Abor: University of Michigan Press), 1996

WINTER, Robert. Multimedia Mozart CD-ROM (Microsoft), 1993

Encyclopaedia Britannica 2002 CD-ROM (Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc.), 2001

Discography

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Complete Piano Concertos. Daniel Barenboim, English Chamber Orchestra , CD CZS5729302 EMI, 1998

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Cosi fan Tutti, Lisa della Cassa, Christa Ludwig, et al., Vienna State Opera Chorus/Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Karl Böhm. CD 4554762: Double Decca, 1999

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Maria Stader, Rita Streich, et al., Berlin RIAS Chamber choir/Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra, Ferenc Fricsay. CD 4577302: The Originals, 1998

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Don Giovanni, Adrianne Pieczonka, Bo Skovhus, et al., Hungarian Radio Choir/Esterházy Sinfonia, Micheal Halász. CD 866008082 NAXOS, 2001

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Idomeneo, Bruce Ford, Clive Bayley, et al., Opera North Chorus/Orchestra, David Parry. CD CHAN3103: Chandos, 2004

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus. Le Nozze di Figaro, Guiseppe Taddei, Anna Moffo, et al., Philharmonia Chorus/Orchestra, Carlo Maria Guilini CD CMS7632662 EMI Classical, 1989

[1] Simon P. Keefe, Mozart’s Piano Concertos (Suffolk: The Boydell Press), 2001 p.18

[2] “Dramatic” in dictionary from the Encyclopaedia Britannica 2002 CD-ROM

[3] James Webster, “Are Mozart’s Concertos “Dramatic”? Concerto Ritornellos versus Aria Introductions in the 1780s’ in Neal Zaslaw ed., Mozart’s Piano Concertos: Text, Context, Interpretation. (Ann Abor: University of Michigan Press), 1996, p.105

[4] Albert. 2: 172; Alfred Einstein, Mozart: His Character, His Work (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1945), 309; Girdlestone, 341, quoted in Neal Zaslaw ed., Mozart’s Piano Concertos: Text, Context, Interpretation, p.124

[5] Zaslaw ed., Mozart’s Piano Concertos: Text, Context, Interpretation, p.124

[6] (Italian: “serious opera”), Opera seria was a style of Italian opera dominant in 18th-century Europe. The primary musical emphasis of opera seria was on the solo voice and on bel canto, the florid vocal style of the period. Chorus and orchestra played a restricted function. Music and text were divided into recitative, which advanced the dramatic action, and arias, solos that reflected a character's feelings and also served as vehicles for vocal virtuosity. Arias characteristically took the da capo form (ABA), the first section (A) being repeated after the B section, but with improvised embellishments. Definition source from the Encyclopaedia Britannica 2002 CD-ROM

[7] The second group comprises in the solo exposition, tonally stable material and a structural cadence in the dominant, bars 45-55

[8] Here Webster does not agree with Rosen’s analysis of this being a rondo-like event. Webster asserts that in a true Mozart rondo, the main theme returns in the tonic towards the end.

[9] Opera buffa (Italian: “comic opera”), is a genre of comic opera originating in Naples in the mid-18th century, which was developed from the intermezzi, or interludes, performed between the acts of serious operas. Opera buffa plots are centred on two groups of characters: a comic group of (usually) five male and female personages and a pair of lovers. The dialogue is sung, and the operatic finale, a long, formally organized conclusion to an opera act, including all principal personages, developed in opera buffa. Definition from the Encyclopaedia Britannica 2002 CD-ROM

[10] Neal Zaslaw ed., Mozart’s Piano Concertos: Text, Context, Interpretation, p. 129

[11] “Sonata form” was a term coined after Mozart’s time

[12] A form which Webster describes as being based on the interaction of independent, and sometimes ill fitting, patterns of organization in different domains, regarding tonality, material, instrumentation, and the text and action in arias.

[13] Webster terms “Vamp”, as meaning a very brief orchestral beginning, usually less than a measure, which serves to fix the tempo and pitch, meter and rhythmic disposition, and accompanimental motives, but has no independent thematic gestalt

[14] Twelve additional arias begin merely with vamp or a single abrupt gesture, such as the rhythmic similarity between Mozart’s G minor symphony and Cherubino’s “Non so più”.

[15] Keefe, p.106

[16] Keefe, p.130

[17] Keefe p.136

[18] Webster’s article p.133

[19] Jutta Ruile-Dronke, Ritornell und Solo in Mozart’s Klavierkonzerten (Tutzing: Schneider, 1978). 41-46; Jane R. Stevens, “Theme, Harmony, and Texture in Classic-Romantic Descriptions of Concerto First-Movement Form,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 27 (1974) 26-27; Mary Hunter, “Haydn’s Aria Forms: A Study of the Arias in the Italian Operas Written at Eszterháza, 1766-1783,” Ph.D diss., Cornell University, 1982, 1982, 46-52, 381-93 – quoted from James Webster, “Are Mozart’s Concertos “Dramatic”? Concerto Ritornellos versus Aria Introductions in the 1780s’ in Neal Zaslaw ed., Mozart’s Piano Concertos: Text, Context, Interpretation. (Ann Abor: University of Michigan Press), 1996, p.107

[20] “The Piano Climax” in the Eighteenth Century concerto: An Operatic Gesture?” in C.P.E. Bach Studies, ed. Steven L. Clark (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1988), pp.245-76, quoted in James Webster, “Are Mozart’s Concertos “Dramatic”? Concerto Ritornellos versus Aria Introductions in the 1780s’ in Neal Zaslaw ed., Mozart’s Piano Concertos: Text, Context, Interpretation. (Ann Abor: University of Michigan Press), 1996, p.108

[21] Webster 133

[22], Donald Jay Grout and Claude V. Palisca. A History of Western Music, fifth edition, (New York: Norton, 1996) p.592

Featured Posts
Posts Are Coming Soon
Stay tuned...
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square