Why we love Mozart

Why we love Mozart

written by Omega Ensemble's writer Sam Cottell.

Have you ever wondered why everyone can hum the tune Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, (besides the fact it was a ring tone on Nokia phones for years) or that most people know the theme from Ronda All Turca? Well, besides the fact that they are iconic pieces of music that were penned by the ultimate musical master, they are also the perfect musical offering.  In Omega Ensemble’s final concert this year, Three Parts Mozart, audiences are presented with a musical feast of masterpieces by history’s most famous composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The 1984 film Amadeus offered an illuminating, if somewhat theatrical and dramatic portrait of Mozart’s life and his music. Mozart composed piano sonatas, concerti, symphonies and a vast number of chamber works that have been cherished by audiences for centuries. There’s elegance, grace and beauty in his music, perfect symmetry and delightful melodies. To put it simply, everyone loves Mozart. Let’s find out why… 

In a time when composers were employed by Counts, Nobles and the like, Mozart broke free of this and went out on his own. His music now reached audiences and appealed to their tastes. Mozart was able to his musical imagination to reign free, capturing all of those lyrical and tender melodies that float into the listener’s ear with such ease, pleasing his audiences. Stylistically, Mozart’s music define ‘classical’ convention. Perfectly balanced phrases, light accompaniment that supports gorgeous melodies that are delicate and nuanced, freely floating and transcending as though sent directly from the heavens. 

Let’s explore the works that are being presented in Omega’s final concert for the year, Three Parts Mozart and see why Mozart is the most loved, adored and possibly listened to composer of all time. I’m Samuel Cottell, Omega Ensemble’s writer and I will take you on a tour of these works before the concert. I hope to see you there in the foyer and talk to you more
about the splendor of Mozart! 

The Bassoon Concerto
Mozart composed his bassoon concerto when he was only eighteen years old. Apparently, he had composed another three bassoon concerti but they have never been found, much to the dismay of bassoonists around the world. Many bassoonists would agree that the Mozart concerto is the greatest and most important solo work for bassoon and orchestra in the repertoire. 

 The bassoon concerto has a lot of character and this highlights the full emotional and colour range of this wonderful instrument. It has such an air of happiness and lightness to it that gives you the feeling of utter joy from beginning to end. When Mozart composed the bassoon concerto he was a young man and the music itself depicts the fleeting and changing moods of a young persons. The entire piece exudes exuberance and happiness. The work demonstrates Mozart completed and utter understanding of the range of the bassoon; from the tender upper range to the bouncy and the outward projecting characteristics of the lower range. 

Clarinet Concerto in A Major
You know that moment when you feel elevated and inspired? Well, that’s the full effect of Mozart’s understanding of harmony. By the time Mozart was composing two of his last works, the Piano Concerto in Bb (K595) and the Clarinet Concerto in A Major he had already found the pure expression of his soul, something that he had been searching for his entire life. The lyrical musical line that is perfectly crafted in both of these works spills forth like liquid honey; the melody gently unfolds over symmetrical musical ideas.

By this stage, Mozart’s use of the chromatic melody line demonstrated his leaning towards the ultimate expression of passion. Seamless, lyrical and so tender are these moments that transport us to another place. What better way to experience music and all it has to offer.

“Among his 626 works you'll find the innermost workings of a soul determined to explore life's extremes.”

Symphony No.40 in G Minor
Charles Rosen, in his seminal book The Classical Style refers to Mozart’s Symphony No.40 in G minor as a work of “passion, violence and grief.”  Strikingly, this is only one of the two minor key symphonies that Mozart composed, and it has been deemed “one of his greatest works.” So, what is it about this work that makes it one of the greats, and why do audiences love it so much? There is no definitive answer to this question, but let’s explore the work in a little more detail and find out why.

The opening begins with the violas playing an accompaniment figure only (it was the first time that Mozart had done this in a piece and he later employed in his piano concerto). This technique soon became a favourite for the Romantic composers who were to follow.

I think we love Mozart because his music explores the inner most workings of the soul, yet at the same time it is outward in its projection; shining a bright ray of optimism to those who listen to it.

I hope you come along and enjoy the beauty and grace of Mozart’s music. In a triple feast of the most iconic musical pieces of history, the augmented Omega Ensemble and special guest conductor and clarinetist Paul Meyer, this is a concert not be missed. 

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Samuel Cottell

Samuel Cottell is a multi-verstalie musician (pianist, arranger and composer), writer, music journalist (Leader Writer -Cut Common Mag, Fine Music Magazine, Music and Literature, Jazz Australia and Australian Jazz.org), and biographer. Samuel is also an music educator and currently tutors music theory and analysis in the Arts Music Unit, Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Samuel is currently undertaking his PhD (Musicology) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he is researching the life and music of Tommy Tycho. Samuel has also been published in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and has interviewed world-acclaimed musicians Renee Flemming, Steven Isserlis, Maxim Vengerov, Stuart Skelton and local musicians Daniel Rojas,  Simon Tedeschi and Katie Noonan. As well as these activities Samuel is in demand as a program note writer (Nexas Saxophone Quartet) and gives pre-concert talks for The Grevillea Ensemble and appeared on Radio National's "RareCollections" talking about Tommy Tycho's recording career and contribution to music.