It was never easy with Mozart. I mean, everyone loves Mozart, how can you NOT love Mozart, you are musician, musicologist, human, amoeba, how dare you NOT love Mozart? Well that was the case for the most of my life. There were single pieces I sort of liked, like Requiem, but neither his operas, neither his instrumental works had greater effect on me.
Now I did not hesitate to put him among my favourites. Not because I love everything he wrote. It’s just a handful of pieces… that sort of change my life every time I listen to them. I put them together in a playlist. Instead of writing silly birthdayish post (I know you may read this stuff everywhere today), I’d rather write a couple of sentences about two of the featured videos – not because of my exhibitionism, but maybe to inspire some musician, human or amoeba WHY my attitude changed definitely since the times of “Mozart? Bleeeh…”: so that maybe you will find your own Mozart too. You are welcome to explore whole playlist. The order is casual. The interpretations are not (in some cases I needed to improvise as my favourite recording was not available on YouTube).
The reason for which I got to know a good part of Mozart music, operas in particular, was a singer who would interpret not a part, not an aria, but every single note – and an incredibly witty guy who would talk about this composer in such detail, with ardent passion and deep understanding. I actually begun to listen to Mozart and to think about his music, about every single note – because I understood, that really he wrote every each of them for a reason. There is a series called OperaLab (or Operabeavató in Hungarian) – a quite unique genre, sort of speaking concert, open rehearsal, stand-up comedy and what else. You may get an idea here and see an excerpt here. The first one I saw was about Don Giovanni: then some Entführung aus dem Serail and some Magic Flute was also featured in the Mozart series (I was also present when Verdi’s Traviata and Rigoletto, Rossini’s Barber of Seville or Offenbach’s Contes d’Hoffmann were discussed and performed). Right now, the slightly insane and extremely lovable OperaLab team (led by Dániel Dinyés and stage director Pál Göttinger) and is working on Cosí fan tutte throughout the whole year they keep those open rehearsals, and in June the whole opera will be performed. Maybe Mozart operas are still not my favourites, to be honest. But I never thought I would be able, for instance to sit through a Magic Flute in Hungarian about seven times in a row (and it was already second run, third one planned in May), with several good singers among the cast and – at times – good conductor, I would also enjoy it. And Entführung… I actually loved the first run in Erkel Theatre. I loved the Don Giovanni in December. At home I rarely listen to whole operas, let alone Mozart operas, that is still true. But I gladly sit at a good performance of any of them and I listen to selected pieces, Konstanze’s three arias, Fiordiligi’s second one, duet with Ferrando and first act’s Dorabella duet or tercettino, Pamina’s aria and final scene with Tamino, Sarastro’s arias, Don Giovanni excerpts, Sesto’s arias, Zaida’s one. But it’s not opera that I love in Mozart. C major or g minor symphonies, Clarinet concerto, some concert and sacred arias are in the top part of the list. Oh, and piano pieces occupy the first place, but they deserve a separate paragraph…
For a long time I did not like piano music to begin with. And Mozart piano music… nope. Then I discovered Artur Schnabel who instantly questioned everything I thought about piano music: and especially on Mozart compositions. For quite a while though I only listened to selected parts, to be precise to the middle parts, the melodious, slow cantilenas, as the A major concerto‘s Chopin-like Adagio or A major sonata‘s beginning (Edwin Fischer playing). I deliberately skipped all of the silly and noisy allegros. And then… it was at night in a car, on a highway, silence: just listening Artur Schnabel playing C major concerto, I think for the third time that day. After forever favourite A-major Adagio we skipped back to Allegro. And together with it, just like that, I understood the meaning of paths and curves of my life, decisions and consequences, and all became clear and understandable as C major key itself. Now, every time I need some internal peace, I go back to this piece. I listen to it while running, through all night when I cannot sleep, when I seek comfort and silence – and it always brings memories of that moment on the highway, when gazing in the front window, the road ahead, I kept silent for a long while, maybe a fourth instance of C major‘s Allegro, or maybe it was B major concerto already, until I managed to share this sudden revelation to someone without bursting in tears or hysterical laughter. And also this was a lesson.
Mozart unleashes emotions it seems, and in such a tricky way, that even the toughest parts get solved in a C major catharsis.