November 21, 2010 at 7:34 PM
Recently my teacher decided that I should play a Mozart violin sonata. I was not very impressed as I am not a great fan of Mozart. I know Mozart was a true genius and there are Mozart pieces out there that I love listening to and are favourites but overall, Mozart is not among my top composers.
But I knew that I couldn´t avoid playing that sonata so I´m now swimming in the pool of Violin Sonata in G Major K. 301. As a part of learning that sonata I decided to study Mozart´s live in depth. So I skipped off to the library and got a nice book about Mozart´s life and music. I devoured it in a day and what an interesting read it was.
I discovered Mozart´s genius from early on, his life of constant touring and travelling, his family and background, his pursuits in love, his marriage, his money troubles, his friends and colleagues and how he was shaped by the time and culture he lived in. Mozart´s name is surrounded with such mythology and exuberance that it was a pleasure to discover the man behind the name. It was a relief to discover the fact that behind the big name there was a very real, living human being that had his joys and troubles same as everyone else.
I could sympathisize with a lot of the things that Mozart went through and I really felt for him. Mozart suddenly felt much more real and human to me. He felt approachable not only as a genius composer but as a person.
I still have a long way to go to gain true appreciation for Mozart´s music but redaing about him and getting to know him as a human being has changed my perspective on him and I now feel comfortable and excited about learning the violin sonata and discover more about Mozart, the real man behind the music.
You're right... While (I think) many violinists would appreciate and humanize very much written scores by a violinist master they know and heard of as a person or on recordings (let's say Kreisler...), it is maybe difficult to relate with someone of a totally other era with no photos, no videos/recordings, no living old folks who can talk to us about their friend or idol "Mozart" per example.
Though to do research as you do shows a great deal of maturity and will to play something unusual for you (and for many...) in your best way possible.
Bravo for this!
Anna - this is very timely for me as I am working on the same piece and not only that I started with a very similar attitude to Mozart. He was so prolific its a bit like referring to a continent compared with other composers that are mere countries (if you forgive the analogy).
The G is actually the first piece that I have worked on in detail section by section and note by note - and its resulted in not only falling in love with the music but in memorization - which is really new for me. I find myself seeking out more and more examples to contrast. By a fortunate coincidence I'm playing (a one off for fun only) in a quartet this coming sunday (wish me luck) and the piece is an early Mozart (157). Its easier than the G but has its own little challenges and even with just the two I can see 'idioms' and some of his favorite tools.
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