Mozart and the Violin
I found this very interesting article on Mozart and the violin that I thought this community would enjoy. I was surprised to learn that no violin was found in Mozart's possessions after he passed away. Perhaps he was too busy to play. What do you think?
Raymond, many thanks for that very useful link. I've downloaded the pdf but haven't yet had the time to read it properly.
Mozart wrote to his father (I don't remember the year, he was living in Vienna, so after 1781) that he'd decided not to perform on the violin anymore... because violin required too much practice! Easy to guess that when in financial distress (as he often was) he'd sell the violin.
Thanks for the article! I'm still reading through it, but from what I've heard previously, Mozart always favored the piano. His father persuaded him to write more for the violin, which he did for a time with some good results. But eventually I suppose he asserted himself and maybe abandoning the violin was also a sort of rebellion.
Not useful, but I think it's interesting that during my lesson this evening this precise topic came up for discussion.
And then he switched from violin to viola for his occasional chamber music playing - for which we can thank him for improving the status of the viola in string quartets, the orchestra, the quintets and the marvelous Symphonie Concertante
Joel's point is a good one. He also gave us two wonderful duos for violin and viola and the Kegelstatt trio for viola, clarinet and piano. These are masterpieces of the chamber repertoire.
Tom, that suggests that the violin I saw in the Salzburg Mozart Museum, said to have been Mozart's violin, could have been the one used on that CD.
Trevor - I do not think that the recording you cited is the one I am thinking of. As I recall, the violinist was a young European female. The cover specifically said it had been made with those instruments. However, the one you found specifically uses those instruments, so I suppose that might be the one I recall, or there may be another one with those instruments.
The Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation possesses six of Mozart's instruments, his childhood violin, two 4/4 violins, his viola, fortepiano and clavichord. They are presented in the Mozarteum museum and on their website (including audio samples): https://mozarteum.at/en/mozarts-instruments/#original-instruments-section
Maybe the violin Trevor saw in the Mozart Museum was the "ex-Mozart."
I heard somewhere else that while he played violin, he wasn't really a "violinist" but a pianist, thought proficient enought to play his violin works.
Katarina - that's the recording I recall, with Lott playing his violin. If I recall correctly, Schiff was the pianist in that recording, and it was the piano quartets with three of Mozart's instruments and a cello from the period. Do you have a link to that CD or a description of it?
The young Mozart was probably good enough to perform the Mozart Violin concertos and later probably could play the Viola part for his Symph. Concertante. He demonstrates a profound knowledge of the instrument by putting the key to that piece in Eb and then tuning the Viola strings (all gut) up a 1/2 step. The Viola resonates better in the flat keys. The Violin prefers the sharp keys.
The scordatura viola part is in D major.
Thanks Raymond! Great article.
Though it is a known fact that Mozart had decided not to perform on the violin anymore, I doubt if he did not hold the Violin again after around 1781 (or approximately so).
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