Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How Did You Discover Mozart?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted this question on the Mozart Forum, as I was curious how fellow Mozart fans fell in-love with the composer's work. I was thrilled to get so many responses. If you are not a member of the Mozart Forum, please join the conversation by submitting a comment to this post!

How did you come to discover the greatness of Mozart and his music? What inspired you to keep researching? Would you consider yourself a simple fan, a crazy fanatic, or somewhere in between? Do you consider Mozart to be the greatest composer?

Hi! Firstly I've seen the movie Amadeus; secondly, after seeing that movie I've felt like listening to Mozart music and discovering it... From 1991 on I'm a Mozart music lover.

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I discovered Mozart and his music in the mid 1950's when I was a little boy. I became a loyal Mozart music lover after listening his Synphony # 40. I had the LP which I played on a Motorola HI FI system which was very popular after second world war.

I purchased and read 5 books about Mozart in the 1970's and acquired The Phillips Mozart collection in 1991. I've learned so much from participants of this forum, but I am still learning and researching almost every day.

I truly enjoy and love all of his music, his personal life and interpersonal realtionships he had with with his peers, friends, siter, parents, wife and her siblings, mother in law, etc. I want to learn much more about his motivation to write incredible music since he was a child.

Finally, I am lover of his music and I consider myself a genuine and huge Mozart fan. And yes, he is the greatest composer who ever lived!!!

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This is in part from a previous thread that I responded too.

My experience is that I discovered classical music long ago, about the time I graduated from High School. For years I ran the gamut of composers, exploring from all musical periods. My likes and dislikes evolved. My first heroes were Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, then came Brahms who lasted for quite some time and to this day. I Learned to like the baroque and more modern sounds that initially repelled me. Stravinsky for example. There’s more to my personal development but what is pertinent is that Mozart was there through all of it and I slowly began to give him more and more importance. His music seemed more and more poignant. I noticed that when I returned to a Mozart work that I had learned a year or so previously, it was fresh, new and incredible. I sometimes suggest to people that they should learn a Mozart work and then put it in the closet (metaphorically) for an extended period because when you take it out of the closet, Wow!

Perhaps we need to know the other composers pretty well for comparison to fully appreciate Mozart’s place?

I consider myself a true Mozart lover!

I still enjoy many other composers that for me have stood the test of time and I get excited when I occasionally discover a work I like that I was not aware of.

For me Mozart is the greatest composer and I've come to suspect that those of us who revere his music have a synergistic connection to the subtle emotions that seem to be his alone.

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I must confess that the movie Amadeus was the first time I came across Mozart, when the movie came out, but then a schoolteacher friend told me she enjoyed the movie - but it was totally inaccurate! Crikey, I thought, and bought a tape of his 40th and 41st symphonies.

I struggled a while to place the man to the music, given how misleading (but totally entertaining) the movie had been. HC Robbins Landon's 1791 helped. I stopped listening to classical for a while, but then came back to my small, but precious horde of Mozart, to update them for cd's.

In the last few years I've expanded my repertoire of listening, and enjoy Beethoven's sonatas, and lately I'm getting heart-pangs for Schubert. I also like to listen to some Chopin and Rachmaninov.

But to me, Mozart is unique. I was listening to the Posthorn Serenade yesterday and I thought, 'listen to this guy. Not only could he compose for every genre, but also for every instrument.' There are middle movements in this work for flute and wind instruments which are endlessly pleasing to me. I think if he composed best in opera, then piano was his next best, but his compositions for wind instruments are extraordinary too.

If they were all athletes, Mozart would be Usain Bolt, winning and pulling away from the rest as he does so. I would say I veer closer to "crazy fanatic" than to simple fan, though I don't have the funds or floor-space to feed my addiction. As my wife would say, it's just as well!

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I guess I always knew Mozart was a great composer but could not name specific works. So it was Amadeus that sparked a greater interest and I began to buy CDs. In 2004 I returned to Salzburg for the first time since I was a child and I joined Mozartforum. Now I'm a regular visitor to Salzburg and cannot go two days without listening to his music.

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How did I discover Mozart?

Well, in 7th grade I had a music appreciation/history class. I had this really pretty teacher I had a huge crush on, day she moved my seat to the front of the class, and we started learning about classical music, and I got culture.

There was this BIG sousaphone that sat in her room, and one day she suggested to me that I learn to play it - because, she said, this instrument was made for me.

Come fall, I was taking lessons on the tuba. I never made the connection what actually got me interested in taking up the big horn 'til recently.

Later on, I discovered there aren't very many uses for a tuba in any music from the classical era (although I still argue Mozart's symphony #32 could use one sparringly). Now, I have a vast array of brass instruments I can play, including french horn, which Mozart wrote lots of stuff for.

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There were two or three recordings of Mozart's symphonies at home when I was a child. But I truly began to grasp the full stature of his genius, listening to two classical music radio broadcasts when I was in my high school years. And when I entered the conservatory, with some money given to me to buy scores, I bought exactly seven LP records. Three of them were the last six symphonies. I remember them well: they were recordings made by Bruno Walter conducting the Columbia Symphony Orchestra.

Do I consider Mozart is the greatest composer? Well, yes. When I am hearing one of his great works, I cannot conceive of anything in the whole world being greater. But then I listen to the opening bars in Bach's B minor Mass. And then I say: undeniably, this is the glory. So, you see. Impossible for me to choose one among all of them.

However, the joy produced by the discovery of those great masters of the past, I think is a thing that never comes back in all of its original grandeur. As youth itself, it is unrecoverable.

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I got some LP's of Mozart when I fell in love with Classical music in the early seventies but, at that time, I was a fan of the piano music of Beethoven and Schumann. Mozart for me was like elevator music : sweet but forgettable. Few years later the transformation happened after I heard The Magic Flute. And it was nonstop after that. And of course it was helped by Amadeus (the play and the film).

Today I adore almost all his music although not the piano solo (exception : those in the minor keys). In this department I am now hooked on Bach !

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As a toddler I used to listen to classical music with my mother. We listened to different composers every day and I particularly loved Mozart. Later on when I started playing instruments Mozart pieces were always my favourite compositions to play.
Mozart stayed with me throughout my life though I listen(ed) to many other different composers and music styles. My interest in the person Mozart increased after the film Amadeus, but even more after a visit to the villa Bertramka in Prague. Since that visit I am passionate to learn about Mozart and I have a keen interest in the 18th century cultural, economic and political situation. I listen to Mozart at least once a day wherever I am.

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How interesting that you've been to Betramka. I heard it had fallen into disrepair. Funny also that Amadeus, often derided by Mozart lovers, has had such a positive effect on so many of us. :-)

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I have been listening to classical music in general (and of course Mozart's music as well) when I was a teenager. But the "Initialzündung" as we say in German for Mozart was the Mozartyear 2006 and further on the historical informed performance of Mozart's works.

Now I can't live without his music anymore. I take it with me even on travels (on my I-Pod).

1 comment:

  1. I am a teenager - and a huge Mozart fan too!

    I discovered Mozart when I was at least six - and completely by accident! I remember seeing a whole collection of Mozart CDs. But I didn't actually get to know about his life until I was in Year 5, when it was Mozart's 250th birthday. Our junior-school music department went just about Mozart crazy then - at assemblies we'd listen to people play all his string quartets and piano sonatas and canons. I was immediately hooked - I was exhausting myself to keep hitting replay to listen to his violin concertos.

    Now I am totally obsessed with him - and I must admit that I am literally crushing on him now. His music crops up randomly on my iTunes playlists....and I have to listen to at least one of his concertos a day.

    Mozart was the best composer I ever heard of. So sad that he died so early at just 35. I often find myself wondering, what would it be like if he was alive today? Just imagine if we were able to meet him...


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