My teacher told me that Mozart hired a violinist to play his violin concertos. Does anyone know who it was? All I know is that he was Italian.
well, that would have been a waste of money, wouldn't it?
Your teacher is probably referring to Antonio Brunetti who worked in Salzburg with Mozart and with whom he is known to have collaborated.
Most probably, thank you for the help!
Both Mozart and his father Leopold played violin. But while his father was principally a violinist, Mozart was principally a keyboard player. Bach played the violin too.
According to Leopold Wolfgang was a better violinist than keyboardist. Bach's dad was also a violinist but died when JS was a child.
Actually, Mozart and Bach both preferred to play viola to violin.
Don't know where that comes from. Mozart often took the viola part but whether out of preference or not I've seen no evidence.
Hi Bud, just curious, what is your source for the claim that Leopold thought Wolfgang a better violinist than a keyboardist? I do recall reading a letter from Wolfgang to his father where he boasted that he played some chamber music with friends, violin or viola I don't remember, and he was the only one who could naturally find the right positions to play particular passages well. That comes from the collection of letters Mozart wrote, it's a great read.
There is also the singer Michael Kelly's story from his stay in Vienna:
Sorry Jean, I'm looking but can't find it. It was in a letter from Leopold to Wolfgang, presumably during his Paris/Manheim trip. Leopold says make sure they hear your violin playing as that is superior but maybe he was just trying to sell more books?
very interesting, thanks Bud!
Bud - concerning Mozart's preference see: https://books.google.com/books?id=BLcjDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=mozart+viola+preference&source=bl&ots=LXcJ3U1we6&sig=ikz1_kZ8eBlzt4KOTi0QUzA9C6s&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiRzdH-ieDYAhXMmuAKHbhlC7UQ6AEINzAC#v=onepage&q=mozart%20viola%20preference&f=false
A friend of mine at school, a very gifted musician, won an Open Exhibition (a kind of scholarship) to St John's College, Cambridge to study the organ, at which he already excelled. To his horror he was required to learn a stringed instrument as part of his course, so he chose the viola as being suitably unobtrusive - let us ponder that in view of the revelations concerning Bach, Mozart et al.
"Kelly had a touch of the blarney about him. Would Mozart really have been content to play third fiddle in that kind of company?"
In one of his essays Hans Keller (a Mozart fanatic) claimed that Mozart enjoyed playing the viola (as Herman suggests above) but did not enjoy playing the violin (even if he did play well). If he did enjoy the violin and played well, he would probably have left us more concertos from his maturity. He obviously found the piano concerto more stimulating as a medium for whatever reason. And his only truly mature string concerto features... the viola, as an equal partner!
Good research Tom but there's still little evidence. For Mozart anecdotal evidence would have him play the viola better - how would anyone know? The Bach is mentioned in Forkel and
Bud - I am not sure what you are looking for. I am going with the best we have, which is necessarily anecdotal and not designed to address any precise issue. I find it fairly convincing since it is consistent with what we know about other composers and makes sense based on what information we have. It is what it is.
I think Bud is right in being a bit more discerning with sources.
It's tempting to think Mozart preferred to play the viola in quartets because he liked the instrument. However it is also possible he played the viola for the same reason a lot of other folks play the viola: because no one else wanted to do it.
I do wonder about how great a pedagogue Leopold was. I've lately learned some of his book was copied verbatim from Tartini and maybe others. Also, I've never forgiven him for not sending Mozart to Uni!
I find playing, or singing, inner parts more satifying; my only point in common with Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Dvorak......
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.