Compare the theme from WA Mozart’s Twelve Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman”, K.  265/300e from 1781-82


to one of the Bach fugues we heard earlier:


Think about how they are different…These differences can be in terms of texture, density, complexity, and so on… Really I am looking for you impressions.

Now think about why these changes have come along…

In a book about Russeau,

by Morley, courtesy of Project Guthenberg

The letter contains a variety of acute remarks upon music, and includes a vigorous protest against fugues, imitations, double designs, and the like. Scarcely any one succeeds in them, and success even when obtained hardly rewards the labour. As for counterfugues, double fugues, and “other difficult fooleries that the ear cannot endure nor the reason justify,” they are evidently relics of barbarism and bad taste which only remain, like the porticoes of our gothic churches, to the disgrace of those who had patience enough to construct them.[321] The last phrase-and both Voltaire and Turgot used gothic architecture as the symbol for the supreme of rudeness and barbarism–shows that even a man who seems to run counter to the whole current of his time yet does not escape its influence.


Quotes from Mozart’s Letters,

courtesy of Project Guthenberg

12. by tomorrow’s post I shall write again to Hofmeister and offer him three pianoforte quartets, if he has the money.”
15. “I have composed a Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon and Pianoforte, which has been received with extraordinary favor.
33. “As to the matter of popularity, be unconcerned; there is music in my opera for all sorts of persons—but none for long ears.”
20. by Sunday week I must have my opera arranged for military band or somebody will be ahead of me and carry away the profits
22. In Italy one can acquire more honor and credit with an opera than with a hundred concerts in Germany,
25. “I assure you that if I get a commission to compose an opera I shall not be frightened. Why is no Frenchman ever commissioned to write a grand opera? Why must it always be a foreigner?
40. “The close will make a deal of noise; and that is all that is necessary for the end of an act;—the noisier the better, the shorter the better, so that the people shall not get too cool to applaud.”
41. “My opera is to be performed again next Friday, but I have protested against it as I do not want it to be ridden to death at once. The public, I may say, are daft about this opera. It does a fellow good to receive such applause.”
221. “Happy man! Now see,—I have got to give still another lesson in order to earn some money.”
76. “Others know as well as you and I that tastes are continually changing, and that the changes extend even into church music; this should not be, but it accounts for the fact that true church music is now found only in the attic and almost eaten up by the worms.”
69. “We wish that it were in our power to introduce the German taste in minuets in Italy; minuets here last almost as long as whole symphonies.”
73. “The most of the symphonies are not to the local taste. If I find time I shall revise a few violin concertos,—shorten them,— for our taste in Germany is for long things; as a matter of fact, short and good is better.”
82. “There is much that is pretty in many of Martini’s things, but in ten years nobody will notice them.”
83. “For those who seek only light entertainment in music nobody better can be recommended than Paisiello.”
8. “Melody is the essence of music. I compare a good melodist to a fine racer, and counterpointists to hack post-horses; therefore be advised, let well alone and remember the old Italian proverb: Chi sa piu, meno sa—’Who knows most, knows least.” (To the English tenor Michael Kelly, about 1786, in answer to Kelly’s question whether or not he should take up the study of counterpoint.)
48. “‘Don Giovanni’ was not written for the Viennese; rather for the people of Prague, but most of all for me and my friends.”
27. “In opera, willy-nilly, poetry must be the obedient daughter of music.
28. “Nota bene, what has always seemed unnatural in an aria are the asides. In speech one can easily and quickly throw in a few words in an aside; but in an aria, in which the words must be repeated, the effect is bad.”
32. “In a word: far-fetched or unusual words are always out of place in an agreeable aria; moreover, I should like to have the aria suggest only restfulness and satisfaction; and if it consisted of only one part I should still be satisfied—in fact, I should prefer to have it so.”


Representative Composers

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Wolfgang A. Mozart (1756 – 1791)

Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Haydn was hired by the Estherhazy Family in 1761 (at age 29 and when Mozart was 7)

In 1790 his salary is reduced, but he re-negotiates his contract and can now make money of his own work…

Charles Burney reviewed the first concert thus: “Haydn himself presided at the piano-forte; and the sight of that renowned composer so electrified the audience, as to excite an attention and a pleasure superior to any that had ever been caused by instrumental music in England.

He was known as the Father of the Symphony.


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