Radio 3's Genius of Mozart

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Radio 3's Genius of Mozart

I've been rather enjoying what I've managed to catch of Radio 3's The Genius of Mozart, not least that you often tune in to hear something rarely played, or rather perhaps, rarely listened to, by a composer we all probably think we knew very well. Have forum members here made any interesting Mozartian discoveries over the past week or so?

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RE: Radio 3's Genius of Mozart

I don't generally like Mozart. Some things - eg, the clarinet and horn concertos - are rather good, but overall I just don't 'get' him.

So I was surprised yesterday afternoon when I heard some pieces I really liked.

They turned out to be Mozart's arrangements of Bach :-)

"Louder! Louder! I can still hear the singers!"

- Richard Strauss to the orchestra, at a rehearsal.

RE: Radio 3's Genius of Mozart

I'll be glad when the BBC have got this out of their hair and we can have our jazz programmes back.

Can you imagine the uproar if they put on a 'Nothing but Duke Ellington fortnight'? Riots in Hertfordshire, I imagine.

RE: Radio 3's Genius of Mozart

I also rather enjoyed String Quartet in F major K590 (played by the Belcea Quartet) and String Quintet in D, K593  (played by Szymanowski Quartet + Lawrence Power, viola), which were broadcast this afternoon, in the "Last Travels and Vienna" programme.

 

"Louder! Louder! I can still hear the singers!"

- Richard Strauss to the orchestra, at a rehearsal.

RE: Radio 3's Genius of Mozart

Have to say I think it's rather a silly idea: one can have too much of a good thing. I often turn on Radio 3 without having looked what's on and have had some pleasant surprises but knowing it will be Mozart again doesn't have the same enticement. A Chopin weekend is one thing: 2 weeks of Mozart is something else. Having said that I think the late symphonies some of the greatest music ever written and would rate Barenboim's (EMI set) of the concerti with Perahia's as true classics of the gramophone; the best known of these works being absolutely sublime to my ears and exquisitely performed. I would also add the four (20, 21, 22 & 23) from Annie Fischer (EMI) and Brendel's magical Vox recordings of the half dozen or so he did with them (preferable to his later efforts).

What I cannot stand are period instrument and/or vibrato less performances of Mozart and I find the former unbearable. Just what is the point of playing a Mozart concerto on a fortepiano? The whole concept is utterly ludicrous (King's New Clothes syndrome). I heard the beginning of Robert Levin playing I think K 466 on fortepiano with a period instrument group in the current Radio 3 output but soon turned it off. I thought it was execrable. In total contrast the ECO are at their very best with Barenboim  & Perahia and sound absolutely wonderful whilst Fischer has the glorious Philharmonia under Boult's or Sawallisch's baton.

RE: Radio 3's Genius of Mozart

33lp wrote:

Just what is the point of playing a Mozart concerto on a fortepiano? 

Because Mozart composed for the fortepiano?

Quote:

The whole concept is utterly ludicrous... 

The piano as we know it essentially dates from around 70 years after Mozart died, as the culmination of various changes that were introduced mostly after his death.

You (and I, for that matter) may well prefer the sound of a modern piano, and Mozart would doubtless have enjoyed composing for it, but you can't really argue that he didn't intend his concertos to be heard on a fortepiano type instrument.

So "utterly ludicrous" seems just a bit overstated :-)

"Louder! Louder! I can still hear the singers!"

- Richard Strauss to the orchestra, at a rehearsal.

RE: Radio 3's Genius of Mozart

I approached The Genius of Mozart with a degree of scepticism but I agree - it's been really vaulable and educational to have the whole spectrum of works on display. It's actually rather entertaining hearing the frankly rubbish bits and pieces - shock horror, Mozart was fallible!

I've also found it useful for the collector because it can highlight glaring gaps and put you on the hunt for new recordings - has anyone else found that?

In the same vein, I hope some record label executives were listening and picking up some commissioning ideas...

To be parochial though, commandeering a show like Choral Evensong and forcing it into the Mozart mould - while it's laudible that they haven't just taken it off the air - doesn't really work for me.

 

 

RE: Radio 3's Genius of Mozart

The Colin Davis broadcast of Cosi Fan Tutte with a dream cast of Te Kanawa, Baltsa, Thomas Allen and Stuart Burrows was wonderful.  I had forgetten what a great tenor Burrows was.

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