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 Mozart Concerto
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2019-04-20 19:08

I thought these three posts from the past might provoke a discussion:

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/1999/10/000504.txt

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/1999/10/000542.txt

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/1999/10/000544.txt

Tony

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 Re: Mozart Concerto
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2019-04-20 20:56

Not sure what kind of discussion you're looking for, and am resigned to the probability that this isn't it. There are different ways of doing the two bars, some of which are much more likely to represent common 18th century practice than others, and from the moderate but not impressive amount I've read about that practice, your suggestion fits it much better than what I would understand to be the "swoon." This approach, though, can be taken too far. I read something that suggested that any competent timpanist of the time would have clearly emphasized the first and third notes of the first bar of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, which hardly anyone would think to do today. One of the things about Beethoven, though, was that he wrote a lot of stuff that nobody else at the time would have thought to write, and expressed some things most other composers wouldn't have thought to express. It's at least plausible that, when he conducted the piece himself, he would have wanted something different from the simple THUMP thump Thump thump that might have been fine with a more convention-bound composer. That is, convention of the time fills in when performers don't have a specific intention about a passage, but not necessarily when they do. We have a lot of sources for 18th century conventions for playing passages like these, but at least until performers like Liszt and Paganini, we might know less about the specific kinds of interpretive choices that separated extraordinary soloists like Mozart, Beethoven, Stadler and Franz Clement from the section players.

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 Re: Mozart Concerto
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2019-04-20 21:11

Thought-provoking posts. I like your ideas. Two questions:

1. Why do singers not apply these principles? Of course they also follow the texts, but generally seem most concerned about "carrying the vocal line". Do you know ANY singers who apply these principles to classical music?

2. Wouldn't it make more sense to apply cork grease to the upper tenon using the LEFT hand?

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 Re: Mozart Concerto
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2019-04-22 20:12

William wrote:

>> There are different ways of doing the two bars, some of which are much more likely to represent common 18th century practice than others, ... >>

My view would put the matter differently. I ask myself not, "how common 18th century practice would do the two bars," but rather, "what Mozart had in mind when he wrote the two bars – or, one bar; or even one note."

That way of looking at it disallows the modern view that there is an entity called 'what's written' – and then 'we' have the job of interpreting that entity, sometimes by writing in extra dynamics, expression marks and so on.

Rather, Mozart's notation has an implicit flexibility of a particular sort built in: namely that a NOTE comes away 'more or less'; a BAR has a hierarchical structure that is represented 'more or less' (notice, William, not necessarily "clearly emphasized"); and a SEQUENCE OF BARS participates in a hypermetre, shown 'more or less'.

You might say that there is no difference between what you said and what I just said. But I say there is a difference of emphasis. A timpanist who has internalised the notion that the hierarchy of their bars makes a major contribution to the orchestra – 'cellists have a similar power – will have the ability to inflect the first four notes of the Beethoven concerto so imperceptibly as to give life to the motif without seeming to make an obtrusive gesture.

Then the equal hammer blows of the four notes in the full orchestra – notice, NOTATED equal – have increased effect.

Liquorice wrote:

>> Why do singers not apply these principles? Of course they also follow the texts, but generally seem most concerned about "carrying the vocal line". Do you know ANY singers who apply these principles to classical music? >>

I imagine that they're never taught such things. No, I don't know any such singers.

But they do have the words and their meanings to add into the mix.

I wrote somewhere about the clarinet beginning of "L'amor è un ladroncello" but I can't find the post. We're marked forte, but the natural inclination is to crescendo through the bar. Worrying about this, I decided to follow the bar hierarchy instead, and found the problem solved.

Tony



Post Edited (2019-04-22 20:29)

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 Re: Mozart Concerto
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2019-04-22 22:11

Tony, thanks very much. I do think there's a difference from what I said, and it's a helpful one. The "more or less" is not always recognized by specialists in historical music practices--when one has a very nice hammer, lots of things start to look like nails--and I suppose that's a lot of what I was complaining against. But there's also the consideration that the original few timpanists were playing the phrase for Beethoven himself, and we shouldn't discount the possibility that he might have directed something different; a barely perceptible but steady diminuendo, for example, or the opposite. Though not entirely reliable, there is a description of him railing against the "tyranny of the barline." With the two bars of Mozart, I quite like what you said about them.

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 Re: Mozart Concerto
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2019-04-24 01:14

"I decided to follow the bar hierarchy instead, and found the problem solved."

A much better approach! Like this it sounds in 6/8, whereas often it just sounds like several bars in 3/8. I'll definitely play it like that from now on :-)

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 Re: Mozart Concerto
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2019-04-24 02:40





Post Edited (2019-04-24 03:07)

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 Re: Mozart Concerto
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2019-04-24 03:04
Attachment:  Screenshot 2019-04-23 at 23.30.48.jpg (46k)

It's probably worthwhile to explain the issue with 'L'amor è un ladroncello' so that people who aren't familiar with Così fan tutte understand.

The attachment shows the situation. Almost everyone, myself included, is inclined to think that the first bar crescendos to the second bar because of how we've been 'brought up', musically. But then, are we supposed to get LOUDER than the opening forte?

The problem is solved if we realise that the crescendo isn't obligatory. In fact the conventions of the time require that the second main beat of the 6/8 bar be lighter than the first. And then we have more choice in how strongly we play the beginning of the second bar!

It's a lovely example of how an appreciation of bar hierarchy is essential for understanding Mozart's music properly.

Tony



Post Edited (2019-04-24 03:08)

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 Re: Mozart Concerto
Author: JohnP 
Date:   2019-04-25 11:18

I played Cosi many times and was never happy with the opening bars of L’amor é un Ladroncello. Now I get it!

John

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 Re: Mozart Concerto
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2019-04-25 23:38

Terrific!

The only remaining obstacle is, I've found, that you have to motivate the other players (second clarinet and 2 bassoons) to share your insight...

That's not always trivial, because it's often not natural for them.

I've noticed similar situations in other Mozart passages. For example, we recently did 'Voi che sapete' as an encore on an OAE tour with Magdalena Kozena. When we'd played the first 8 bars, I said to the young bassoon player, playing with us for the first time: "You know, you're the first bassoonist I've ever played with who DOESN'T crescendo through the first bar on their rising phrase. Everyone else, I have to ask not to do it, so that I have freedom to shape the tune."

"Yes," he said. "I hear it played like that a lot."

Perhaps the younger generation can give us hope.

Tony

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