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Pianos and Pianists - Consultant Editor Ates Orga



on Mozart

There are several worlds of music which are distinguished by different styles. We have a romantic world and a classic world, a baroque world and an atonal world. But Mozart is a world unto himself... Each work by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is individual. All of the sonatas differ to such a great extent that a pianist cannot approach any two pieces in the same manner... Different musical times produced dissimilar performances. Pianists of our day often play classical music either with a romantic feeling derived from the 19th century or with the mathematical accuracy typical of our own day. Though there is great expression in Mozart's scores, we cannot accept a romantic reading. Though his rhythms are precise, they cannot stand a mathematical treatment. Mozart's music must be played as Mozart wrote it. It has sufficient room for interpretation but if a style derived from a musical era must be used it should be from the classical period, not from the romantic or 20th centuries. Can you imagine someone playing a piece by Arnold Schoenberg in classical style?... I have always believed that good works acquire more value with age: when one stands near a group of tall buildings they all seem to be of average height, yet when one looks at these structures from a distance there will always be one or two buildings that tower above the others. In the years immediately after his death [in 1791], Mozart was considered a frilly, inconsequential composer, but now [1961] ... he is appreciated for his depth and extraordinary musicianship. When we look back at the other composers of that age, Mozart stands taller in our minds... There are several changes in our modern piano which I feel would enable the performer to achieve a more unified musical effect. We need a more cantabile sound in the upper octaves and a less ponderous feeling in the bass. Our upper octaves are too brittle and our lower ones are far too thunderous, thereby creating many technique problems and the lack of a uniform tone... The so-called 'Mozart piano' differed from Chopin's pianos which turn differed from our 1961 pianos. Each composer wrote for his own instrument... let all music be played as the composer wished. Let us not adapt baroque, classical and romantic scores; let them stand on their own and let them be heard in the spirit of their composition.


- Mieczyslaw Horszowski, essay 'Mozart's Piano Music' (1961)



Horszowski (1892-1992) - whose repertory ranged from Bach through Beethoven/Brahms to Bartok, Mozart through Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition, Trieste 1924) to Martinu, Scarlatti through Schubert/Schumann to Shostakovich - was noted for his Mozart sonata cycles, including one during the 1961 London Pianoforte Series at the Wigmore Hall (October 23rd, 24th, 29th, 31st). The BBC taped K 570 at the Aldeburgh Festival, June 13th 1983, an archive account prompting Jeremy Siepmann to note that 'in Horszowski's hands this music becomes an example of musical conversation equal to any in Mozart's operas' (BBC Music Magazine cover CD, Vol I No 12, July 1993). An indispensable 5-CD recording of all nineteen, recorded at different dates, is available on Arbiter 101, 104 (New York 1996, first release) -



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