A Mozart Discovery

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John F
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A Mozart Discovery

Post by John F » Sat Jun 23, 2007 6:25 am

A story in the Viennese newspaper "Der Standard" reports the discovery of the musical materials (presumably meaning the vocal and instrumental parts) for the first performance of the Missa Brevis in C major, K.258, composed in Salzburg in Mozart's 20th year. The material has turned up in the diocesan archive of the cathedral of Bressanone (Brixen) in the South Tyrol, now part of northern Italy but previously an Austrian province.

Leopold Mozart mentions a "Spaur Mass" in his letters, but I gather it has remained uncertain which of his son's mass settings he was referring to. This discovery solves that puzzle.

Count Ignaz von Spaur was ordained a Catholic priest in Salzburg in 1756, the year of Mozart's birth, and in 1775 he was appointed "Coadjutor Bishop" of Brixen, becoming the bishop of that diocese in 1778. This Mass was sung at the ceremony of his consecration as bishop, the consecrator being Hieronymus Colloredo, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg and Mozart's employer. (Spaur died in 1779 at age 50.) It's logical, then, that the musical materials used on that occasion would have remained at the cathedral and become part of its archive, which is apparently what happened. But nobody seems to have got around to looking for them there until now.

The music of the Spaur Mass was never lost, just this material. Mozart's original autograph score remained in Salzburg and eventually became part of the great Mozart collection in Berlin; it's the authoritative basis for the published scores in the Mozart complete editions. Other copies, not in Mozart's handwriting, including one with parts for two oboes, circulated in the 18th and possibly early 19th century and wound up in various German and Czech cities, so the music was evidently pretty well known.

I gather from the report in "Der Standard" that these vocal and instrumental parts contain dynamic and articulation markings that (the story implies) may not be in other sources for the music. If these markings are indeed by Mozart himself, as apparently they are, then I expect a new edition of the Mass will be published in due course.

"Der Standard's" story is at http://derstandard.at/?url=/?id=2930919
John Francis

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Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jun 23, 2007 6:41 am

A very nice story, but this is a composition of no importance. If we want to go into a state of mourning, the manuscripts to the two masterpieces for an organ in a clock, which survive only in "real" organ transcription so that we can never know what they looked like or contemplate alternative arrangements, were lost in bombing during WW II.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by John F » Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:56 am

William Malloch of KFUO had a project to track down these 18th century clockwork organs, and I've heard his recordings of some of them playing music of Handel and Haydn--but not Mozart. If those don't survive in workable condition, that would be a pity, as they would give us a true "original instrument" performance--though not by Mozart himself, of course.

Mozart's autograph score of the "Andante für eine Walze in eine kleine Orgel," K.616, appears to have survived, according to the 6th edn. of Köchel, and a facsimile of its first page was published in 1959. Köchel says that the autographs of K.594 and 608 are "unbekannt" (presumably these are the ones you say were destroyed in the war), but that the music survives in early copies that once belonged to Beethoven, laid out on 4 staves. I suppose that Mozart's original was similarly written out in four parts, as there's no evident reason why a copyist would have made such an "arrangement" instead of just copying the autograph score in front of him. Maybe this layout made it easier for the clockmaker.

Anyway, K.594 was issued in 1799 by the Viennese music house Traeg, one of Mozart's publishers, as a work for piano 4 hands, and there's a similar early edition of K.608. Whether these were based on Mozart's autographs themselves or on copies, they and the Beethoven copies should bring us as close to Mozart's original as is the case with some other works; maybe closer.

If all this is right--and we really do need Neal Zaslaw to finish up the new Köchel so we don't have to rely on dated and often superseded source information--then it isn't necessary to use the "'real' organ transcriptions" you speak of. But since Mozart wrote the music for an organ of sorts, though one played by a machine rather than a human, I expect the result would be much the same. And as he said he hated writing for the clockwork, but was himself an outstanding organist, I have no problem with that.
John Francis

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Post by diegobueno » Sat Jun 23, 2007 6:01 pm

jbuck919 wrote:A very nice story, but this is a composition of no importance.
You'll have to provide us a list of important compositions which bear your approval to talk about, Mr. Connoisseur, so none of us ever makes such a faux pas in the future.

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Post by Chalkperson » Sat Jun 23, 2007 6:16 pm

diegobueno wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:A very nice story, but this is a composition of no importance.
You'll have to provide us a list of important compositions which bear your approval to talk about, Mr. Connoisseur, so none of us ever makes such a faux pas in the future.
You'll have to provide us a list of unimportant compositions which bear your disapproval, Mr. Connoisseur, so none of us ever makes such a faux pas in the future... :lol:

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Jun 23, 2007 6:53 pm

jbuck919 wrote:A very nice story, but this is a composition of no importance.
Image

Every find of Mozart material is a cause for celebration. You get the sparkling apple cider, not the champagne.
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Post by Werner » Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:12 pm

Right on, Corlyss!
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Post by diegobueno » Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:56 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
diegobueno wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:A very nice story, but this is a composition of no importance.
You'll have to provide us a list of important compositions which bear your approval to talk about, Mr. Connoisseur, so none of us ever makes such a faux pas in the future.
You'll have to provide us a list of unimportant compositions which bear your disapproval, Mr. Connoisseur, so none of us ever makes such a faux pas in the future... :lol:
? ? ?

I don't make such lists. I find it preferable to let people discuss what they want, without being scolded for menitoning "unimportant" works.

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Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:12 pm

diegobueno wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
diegobueno wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:A very nice story, but this is a composition of no importance.
You'll have to provide us a list of important compositions which bear your approval to talk about, Mr. Connoisseur, so none of us ever makes such a faux pas in the future.
You'll have to provide us a list of unimportant compositions which bear your disapproval, Mr. Connoisseur, so none of us ever makes such a faux pas in the future... :lol:
? ? ?

I don't make such lists. I find it preferable to let people discuss what they want, without being scolded for menitoning "unimportant" works.
He was addressing me, not you, Mark, and you are having a bad day, aren't you?

I do make such lists and don't apologize for them, and there is nothing below K300 if not higher by Mozart that would be recognized at a level higher than Ditterserdorf (sorry, Ralph) had he not gone on from there. It may have caught someone's notice that this is a Salzburg piece. Mozart, for all his greatness, only really blossomed after he moved to Vienna.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by Chalkperson » Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:18 pm

diegobueno wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
diegobueno wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:A very nice story, but this is a composition of no importance.
You'll have to provide us a list of important compositions which bear your approval to talk about, Mr. Connoisseur, so none of us ever makes such a faux pas in the future.
You'll have to provide us a list of unimportant compositions which bear your disapproval, Mr. Connoisseur, so none of us ever makes such a faux pas in the future... :lol:
? ? ?

I don't make such lists. I find it preferable to let people discuss what they want, without being scolded for menitoning "unimportant" works.
Actually, this post was meant for John, it was supposed to be humerous, but sounds like you are humorless...I thought it would be an interesting list, I know it includes Bach's Magnificat for example... :wink:

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Post by diegobueno » Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:23 pm

jbuck919 wrote:He was addressing me, not you, Mark, and you are having a bad day, aren't you?


Well, <chuckle>, I'm quite pleased to turn the comment over to you. And I might add that you are having an even more atrocious day than usual.
I do make such lists and don't apologize for them,
Don't you think it's about time you did?

Anyway, to a musicologist any scrap of information is important, especially if it sheds light on a composer we all agree is important.

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Post by Werner » Sat Jun 23, 2007 10:44 pm

A correction, John: I'm not going to analyze your "below K 300" claim in detail - but there is certainly at least one work that ranks among Mozart's masterpieces - the K271 "Jeunehomme" concerto.

If you haven't heard it recently, dig up your copy (You must have at least one?) and see if you don't agree.
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Post by jbuck919 » Sun Jun 24, 2007 12:18 am

Werner wrote:A correction, John: I'm not going to analyze your "below K 300" claim in detail - but there is certainly at least one work that ranks among Mozart's masterpieces - the K271 "Jeunehomme" concerto.

If you haven't heard it recently, dig up your copy (You must have at least one?) and see if you don't agree.
And Exultate, Jubilate (K 165 I think) is widely cited as Mozart's first important composition, so I know there are exceptions, Werner, but he wrote something like 34 symphonies before he wrote an important one, not to mention the huge body of other insignificant works. (Haydn also wrote maybe 34 insignificant symphonies but for him that leaves a balance of something like 70.) However, I would not consider it a point worth pushing. As Charles Rosen wrote, Mozart is never anything less than beautiful.

But though the righteous man be prevented with death, yet shall he be in rest, for honourable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor that is measured by number of years. But wisdom is the gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is old age. He pleased God, and was beloved of him: so that living among sinners he was translated. Yea speedily was he taken away, lest that wickedness should alter his understanding, or deceit beguile his soul.

--from The Book of Wisdom, a reading commonly used in the Catholic Church on the death of young men.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Agnes Selby
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Mozart

Post by Agnes Selby » Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:45 am

How lucky we are we had Constanze Mozart publish her husband's
Viennese works. Imagine the excitement today if someone discovered
his meat wrapped in a page of a Mozart symphony. :lol:

Everything possible and impossible has been heaped on Constanze's head but I have not heard her name mentioned, not even once, during last year's Mozart's birthday celebration. Without her efforts for 50 years after Mozart's death, we would hardly have anything much to celebrate.

John is right. Mozart's maturity peaked in Vienna while married to Constanze and away from Leopold's crippling influence. (Now I will be in trouble). I also agree with my friend, Werner, there are some masterpieces before K300. But it is not surprising that Mozart did not compose anything while on his visit to his father in Salzburg. The atmosphere must have been unbearable. And interesting testament to this statement is Nannerl Mozart's diary now available at the Mozarteum
bookshop in Salzburg.

--------------------------

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Post by John F » Sun Jun 24, 2007 9:56 am

All of Mozart's early music is significant because it's Mozart's early music. Whatever pleasures it may give in its own right, and I probably take more pleasure in Mozart's juvenilia than jbuck919 does, it also documents the learning process and the growing individuality of an astonishing genius. For me that's a pretty good pay-off.

But I'm not a great believer in "significance," or importance, as a measure of artistic value, let alone the music's ability to give pleasure. I'm very fond of those little divertimentos for wind sextet that he composed in Salzburg, music dashed off when he was 19 or 20 for forgotten occasions that is full of melody and character (both lyrical and comic), which doesn't diminish my love of the famous violin concertos he was writing at the same time or the great wind serenades of a few years later. Examples are K.213, 252, 253, and 270.

Even at the height of his maturity, Mozart composed quite a lot of music having no particular importance in the history of music or even in his own life's work, but which I wouldn't be without. There's a handful of vocal trios ("nocturnes") on Italian texts, with clarinets/basset horns, that he wrote for private music-making by a circle of friends, so beautiful as to take your breath away: K.436-439 and 439a.

Fortunately, as Agnes Selby says, Mozart's widow took exemplary care to preserve apparently every scrap of music paper he wrote on, even his unfinished sketches, and to get as many of his works published as could be. The daughter and sister of professional musicians, she not only comprehended the value of what she had but knew what to do with it. Good for her, and good for us.
John Francis

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Re: Mozart

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Jun 24, 2007 10:00 am

Agnes Selby wrote: (Now I will be in trouble).
--------------------------
I don't think, Agnes, that you are going to get in trouble for anything you might have to say about Mozart. Me, I'm another story. :) Of the holy trinity, he is the only one who left hundreds of works that, while not bad, are also not masterpieces. We know of many composers who achieved only to a level of pretty mediocrity and then, perhaps, perhaps not, died young. It is frightening to contemplate, is it not, how Mozart or Schubert might have been one of them.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by Werner » Sun Jun 24, 2007 10:16 am

Can we consider the juvenilia and the lesser things sprinkled through the later years ("later years" in a genius who died at thirty-six!), attractive as they are in themselves, as the foundation on which the masterpieces are built?
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Post by jbuck919 » Sun Jun 24, 2007 10:55 am

Werner wrote:Can we consider the juvenilia and the lesser things sprinkled through the later years ("later years" in a genius who died at thirty-six!), attractive as they are in themselves, as the foundation on which the masterpieces are built?
Of course, but they are not, as you know, true juvenilia. (In fact, if I wanted to make the investment, I'd have a bunch of earlier Mozart and use it as background music in addition to Vivaldi and Telemann.) They are just earlier compositions of, to a great but not total extent, no real importance.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Mozart

Post by Agnes Selby » Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:22 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Agnes Selby wrote: (Now I will be in trouble).
--------------------------
I don't think, Agnes, that you are going to get in trouble for anything you might have to say about Mozart. Me, I'm another story. :) Of the holy trinity, he is the only one who left hundreds of works that, while not bad, are also not masterpieces. We know of many composers who achieved only to a level of pretty mediocrity and then, perhaps, perhaps not, died young. It is frightening to contemplate, is it not, how Mozart or Schubert might have been one of them.
---------------

I was referring to my harsh words about dear old Leopold, John. Many scholars believe that without Leopold, Mozart's genius would not have matrialised. Leopold was himself convinced about his own god-like qualities and even tried them on his grandson, Leopoldus, left to him by Nannerl to bring up as another genius. In his frequent letters to his daughter, Leopold reported on his grandson's amazing progress towards this goal. Luckily for Leopoldus, his grandfather died and he was able to grow up to be just an ordinary customs officer. A decent bloke, he even returned to Mozart's sons some of the valuable bits and pieces given to Mozart during his youthful travels which were kept by Leopold and given to Nannerl in a fit of pique against his son.

I am frequently criticised about my opinion concerning Leopold, so I thought I might "cop" it again.

Regards,
Agnes.
-----------------

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Re: Mozart

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Jun 24, 2007 7:06 pm

Agnes Selby wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
Agnes Selby wrote: (Now I will be in trouble).
--------------------------
I don't think, Agnes, that you are going to get in trouble for anything you might have to say about Mozart. Me, I'm another story. :) Of the holy trinity, he is the only one who left hundreds of works that, while not bad, are also not masterpieces. We know of many composers who achieved only to a level of pretty mediocrity and then, perhaps, perhaps not, died young. It is frightening to contemplate, is it not, how Mozart or Schubert might have been one of them.
---------------

I was referring to my harsh words about dear old Leopold, John. Many scholars believe that without Leopold, Mozart's genius would not have matrialised. Leopold was himself convinced about his own god-like qualities and even tried them on his grandson, Leopoldus, left to him by Nannerl to bring up as another genius. In his frequent letters to his daughter, Leopold reported on his grandson's amazing progress towards this goal. Luckily for Leopoldus, his grandfather died and he was able to grow up to be just an ordinary customs officer. A decent bloke, he even returned to Mozart's sons some of the valuable bits and pieces given to Mozart during his youthful travels which were kept by Leopold and given to Nannerl in a fit of pique against his son.

I am frequently criticised about my opinion concerning Leopold, so I thought I might "cop" it again.

Regards,
Agnes.
-----------------
I don't have a particular opinion about Leopold, but my favorite Mozart-as -a-child story is one that may be apocryphal but that I use (without seriously intending to compare myself to Mozart) when my US students recognize in me some vestige of skill that an "ordinary" mathematics teacher is not supposed to have, for instance decent French pronunciation: "Surely, Daddy, one does not have to study to play second violin."

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Mozart

Post by Agnes Selby » Mon Jun 25, 2007 4:42 am

Fortunately, as Agnes Selby says, Mozart's widow took exemplary care to preserve apparently every scrap of music paper he wrote on, even his unfinished sketches, and to get as many of his works published as could be. The daughter and sister of professional musicians, she not only comprehended the value of what she had but knew what to do with it. Good for her, and good for us.[/quote]
--------------

Dear John F.

Apart from Constanze's ability to discern the need to preserve the smallest detail of Mozart's compositional output, the "zetls" lying about his study for instance, the pieces of paper she gave Sussmayr together with what Mozart had already composed for the Requiem,
what amused me most during my writing Constanze's biography, was her ability to make a mountain out of a molehill. Whenever anyone criticised Mozart, she was there in full armour to make the best of it publicity wise. In this way, she kept Mozart's name and music alive during
a period in time when his music was beginning to fade from public's
interest. She never allowed Mozart to become "old hat". Her correspondence in this regard and her notations in her diaries reveal her to have been and excellent public relations person. She would be a most successful publicity agent today.

Regards,
Agnes.
-----------------

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Post by Werner » Mon Jun 25, 2007 9:11 am

It's hard to imagine, considering our present cultural treasures, what we might have missed if it were not for Constanze's work.
Werner Isler

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Mozart

Post by Agnes Selby » Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:06 pm

Werner wrote:It's hard to imagine, considering our present cultural treasures, what we might have missed if it were not for Constanze's work.
----------

Dear Werner,

Very true, yet she is reviled and since the early 20th century, not one good thing has been said about her until recently. All of the nasty accusations without a single reference!!! Alfred Einstein, the much revered Mozartean scholar, invented marvellous scenarios, and was responsible for much of the abuse. In vain did I search for material to support Einstein's and other writers imaginative outpourings, I came up with nothing in the original data.

Interestingly, this hatred of Constanze coincided with the birth of
Feminism, when the Suffrage movement left
many politicians wondering how to combat feminists' demads. Even my favourite politician of all, Winston Churchill, engaged the army to disperse Mrs. Pankhurst's "parades".

Constanze Mozart fitted the image of the progressive women who appeared all of a sudden demanding to have their rights recognised. Insecure men, such as Einstein and many of his contemporaries, saw Constanze Mozart in the context of the Suffrage movement. Another woman whose reputations was to suffer a similar fate was Alma Mahler.

Regards,
Agnes.

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Post by Werner » Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:14 pm

I seem to remember that you had some plans regarding a life of Alma. Do I remember this correctly?

One way or another, we are in your debt for your biography of Constanze. I have gained a much clearer picture of her, thanks to your work, and can recommend it as fascinating reading to anyone interested in Mozart, his times, and his legacy.
Werner Isler

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Mozart

Post by Agnes Selby » Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:18 am

Werner wrote:I seem to remember that you had some plans regarding a life of Alma. Do I remember this correctly?

One way or another, we are in your debt for your biography of Constanze. I have gained a much clearer picture of her, thanks to your work, and can recommend it as fascinating reading to anyone interested in Mozart, his times, and his legacy.
----------------

Thank you, dear Werner, for your kind comments.

As for Alma Mahler, I am still being tempted. I like her very much and
this is a good starting point. However, I cannot reconcile her anti-Semitic remarks in her letters to her daughter, when she too was about to marry a Jew, with Alma's own two marriages to Jewish men.

Kind regards,
Agnes.
--------------------

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Post by John F » Tue Jun 26, 2007 5:33 am

There's a fairly recent biography of Alma Mahler by Oliver Hilmes von Siedler, "Witwe im Wahn. Das Leben der Alma Mahler-Werfel," which seems likely to be translated into English. It's said to make use of diaries and letters that weren't previously available. A friend who's read it says it's quite critical of Almschi. Doesn't necessarily preempt another biography, but might make it harder to sell if an English translation does appear.
John Francis

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Alma Mahler

Post by Agnes Selby » Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:33 am

John F wrote:There's a fairly recent biography of Alma Mahler by Oliver Hilmes von Siedler, "Witwe im Wahn. Das Leben der Alma Mahler-Werfel," which seems likely to be translated into English. It's said to make use of diaries and letters that weren't previously available. A friend who's read it says it's quite critical of Almschi. Doesn't necessarily preempt another biography, but might make it harder to sell if an English translation does appear.
-------------

Thank you for the information. I am sure going to try and obtain this book.

Kind regards,
Agnes.
----------------------

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Re: Mozart

Post by pizza » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:43 am

Agnes Selby wrote:
Werner wrote:I seem to remember that you had some plans regarding a life of Alma. Do I remember this correctly?

One way or another, we are in your debt for your biography of Constanze. I have gained a much clearer picture of her, thanks to your work, and can recommend it as fascinating reading to anyone interested in Mozart, his times, and his legacy.
----------------

Thank you, dear Werner, for your kind comments.

As for Alma Mahler, I am still being tempted. I like her very much and
this is a good starting point. However, I cannot reconcile her anti-Semitic remarks in her letters to her daughter, when she too was about to marry a Jew, with Alma's own two marriages to Jewish men.

Kind regards,
Agnes.
--------------------
It may not be so difficult to reconcile. Those marriages were probably Alma's variation on the stock defense of anti-Semites to the accusation of anti-Semitism: "Some of my best (substitute "husbands" for "friends") were Jewish!" :idea:

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Re: Mozart

Post by Agnes Selby » Tue Jun 26, 2007 5:39 pm

As for Alma Mahler, I am still being tempted. I like her very much and
this is a good starting point. However, I cannot reconcile her anti-Semitic remarks in her letters to her daughter, when she too was about to marry a Jew, with Alma's own two marriages to Jewish men.

Kind regards,
Agnes.
--------------------[/quote]

It may not be so difficult to reconcile. Those marriages were probably Alma's variation on the stock defense of anti-Semites to the accusation of anti-Semitism: "Some of my best (substitute "husbands" for "friends") were Jewish!" :idea:[/quote]
-----------

This sounds familiar, dear Pizza. A variation on the theme of "some of my best friends are Jewish". However, she did risk her life and returned from Paris to Vienna to rescue Mahler's works from the attic of her step-father, a well-known Nazi, who committed suicide when the Allies entered Vienna. This dangerous wart-time adventure is seldom ever mentioned.

She also objected in her diary to Brahms' anti-Semitic remarks regarding her up-coming marriage to Mahler. Yet, she later wrote to her daughter that Jews "have a peculiar smell which I find revolting". She devoted her life to two "smelly" Jews and in her old age she dedicated one room in her New York apartment to Mahler's music and another room to her husband, the poet Franz Werfel. There are many other inconsistencies and so far, I have been unable to understand them.

Regards,
Agnes.
-----------------

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Post by Modernistfan » Tue Jun 26, 2007 5:54 pm

This is the first time I have ever heard of antisemitic comments by Brahms. Of course, many of his close associates, such as Joseph Joachim and Ignaz Brüll, were Jewish, and he was once attacked by Wagner as a "Jewish czardas player" (presumably in regard to his Hungarian Dances). I would be interested in seeing documentation of this.

Lance
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Re: Mozart

Post by Lance » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:04 pm

Agnes Selby wrote:As for Alma Mahler, I am still being tempted. I like her very much and
this is a good starting point. However, I cannot reconcile her anti-Semitic remarks in her letters to her daughter, when she too was about to marry a Jew, with Alma's own two marriages to Jewish men.

Kind regards,
Agnes.
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It may not be so difficult to reconcile. Those marriages were probably Alma's variation on the stock defense of anti-Semites to the accusation of anti-Semitism: "Some of my best (substitute "husbands" for "friends") were Jewish!" :idea:[/quote]
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This sounds familiar, dear Pizza. A variation on the theme of "some of my best friends are Jewish". However, she did risk her life and returned from Paris to Vienna to rescue Mahler's works from the attic of her step-father, a well-known Nazi, who committed suicide when the Allies entered Vienna. This dangerous wart-time adventure is seldom ever mentioned.

She also objected in her diary to Brahms' anti-Semitic remarks regarding her up-coming marriage to Mahler. Yet, she later wrote to her daughter that Jews "have a peculiar smell which I find revolting". She devoted her life to two "smelly" Jews and in her old age she dedicated one room in her New York apartment to Mahler's music and another room to her husband, the poet Franz Werfel. There are many other inconsistencies and so far, I have been unable to understand them.

Regards,
Agnes.
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Dear Agnes:

This is the first time I have read about Brahms' alleged anti-Semitism. He had so many friends and colleagues that were Jewish, and many Jews performed his music to his great satisfaction and pleasure. I, too, wish you could find something concrete about this. As for Alma Mahler, the statement about "smelly" Jews ... is incredible and quite revolting coming from an allegedly brilliant woman in her own right. How much "inside" hatred there must have been that we never heard or knew about. I wonder about Franz Liszt's daughter, Cosima wife of Richard Wagner (Wagner replaced Hans von Bülow, as you may recall), and what her views were, especially with regard to anti-Semitic husband who surely must have had some influence on her though we also know Cosima had a mind of her own and was apparently quite outspoken. I have two mammoth books of Cosima's diaries. I've never read them cover-to-cover, but leaf through occasionally. Liszt himself apparently never held these kinds of ideas as far as I know. While Sigismund Thalberg was his noted pianistic rival, they were friendly with one another and Thalberg was Jewish.

Now THERE is a book for you, after you complete the Alma Mahler. You could write stunningly about Cosima Liszt Wagner! :)
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Werner
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Post by Werner » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:53 pm

I'm not aware of Cosima's sympathies - but we do knw enough about her daughter-in-law, Winifred.

Now look where we've gone from Mozart!
Werner Isler

Agnes Selby
Author of Constanze Mozart's biography
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Alma Mahler

Post by Agnes Selby » Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:49 am

Alma met Brahms before her wedding to Mahler. She objected to him saying to her something to the effect that a beautiful woman like herself had no need to marry a Jew. I do not have the exact quote on hand. Alma was introduced to Brahms by Alexander Zemlinsky. The meeting with Brahms was not a success.

I do not know anything else about Brahms' anti-Semitism or even if he was anti-Semitic. I can only mention what I read in the documents which are filed in the Archives at the University of Pennsylvania. These can be found together with those of Franz Werfel.

Brahms had many Jewish friends. He may even have considered Mahler as a friend as Alma mentions that in the summer of 1896 Brahms and Mahler would take walks together near Ischl. There they would walk to a bridge and admire a foaming mountain stream.

Anti-Semitism was a complex issue. Hatred of Jews did not apply to one's friends but to the race. This quote from "Das Zwanzigste Jahrhundert"
(The Twentieth Century) was written by Heinrich Mann, the brother of Thomas Mann. It is entitled "Judischen Glaubens" (Jewish Faith) and appeared in August 1895:

"They are not persecuted because of their religion, for to be persecuted
for a religion, one must have one! And they are not persecuted as a people, for they do not deserve this honourable name. Rather, they are persecuted because they incarnate the negation of nationality and faith. So they are persecuted less on their own account than as a concept as a visible sign of everything that destroys and debases. They are in many respects our bad conscience". (Ronald Hayman, "Thomas Mann - A Biography").

I would also like to mention that I possess the original of this newspaper article which was given to my father by my grandfather who brought it with him from Berlin where he was visiting his brother. In fact, Heinrich Mann's article is responsible for my grandfather's brother having been sent to Canada and settled on a farm bought by my grandfather.
This is described in my article for "Quadrant" dated July-August 1998.

It is interesting to note that Heinrich Mann escaped to America with his son and wife on the same plane as Alma Mahler and Franz Werfel which was sponsored by the American Jewish community. The story of the now forgotten pilot, a hero, who dared to make these flights during the dangers of Hitler's war has been mentioned here before.

As far as Brahms is concerned, I would like to believe that his music reflects an intellect unaffected by such thoughts as those of Heinrich Mann.

Regards,
Agnes.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:03 am

To further complicate this perplexing subject, I'll interject an excerpt from Ronald Smith's excellent biography of Charles-Valentin Alkan which illustrates, from Vincent d'Indy's memoirs an unlikely encounter between Alkan and d'Indy toward the end of Alkan's life. Smith writes:

"Not only does it throw a unique light on Alkan's playing and personality in the mid-1870s as it impressed this highly sensitive and informed musician, but it is also psychologically revealing, coming as it does from an avowed anti-semite writing just fifty-five years after the event:

'One day I was passing by the small rooms on the first floor of the Maison Erard, reserved only for great pianists, for their practice and lessons. At the time the rooms were all empty, except one, from which could be heard the great Triple-Prelude in E flat by Bach played remarkably well on a pedalier. I listened, riveted to the spot by the expressive, crystal-clear playing of a little old man, frail in appearance, who, without seeming to suspect my presence, continued the piece right to the end. Then, turning to me: 'Do you know this music?' he asked. I replied that, as an organ pupil in Franck's class at the Conservatoire, I could scarcely ignore such a fine work. 'Play me something' he added, giving up the piano stool for me. Although somewhat over-awed, I managed to play quite cleanly the C Major Fugue - the one affectionately known as The Mastersingers because of its similarity to a certain Wagnerian theme.

Without comment he returned to the piano saying 'I am Charles-Valentin Alkan and I'm just preparing for my annual series of six 'Petits Concerts' at which I play only the finest things'. Then, without giving me a moment to reply: 'Listen well. I'm going to play you, for you alone, Beethoven's Opus 110 -- listen . . . ' What happened to the great Beethovenian poem beneath the skinny, hooked fingers of the little old man I couldn't begin to describe - above all in the Arioso and the Fugue, where the melody, penetrating the mystery of Death itself, climbs up to a blaze of light, affected me with an excess of enthuiasm such as I have never experienced since. This was no Liszt -- perhaps less perfect, technically - but it had greater intimacy and was more humanly moving. . .

'Without giving me a chance to speak, Alkan shoved me violently over to the window and looking straight into my eyes, pronounced these words - words which are precious to me and whose well-meaning bluntness I have never forgotten: 'You -- you're going to be an artist, a real one . . . farewell, we will not see eachother again . . . ' Indignant, I protested that I would be in the front row at his next 'Petit Concert'. He replied, more sadly: 'No, we will never see each other again'.

Some compulsory occupation connected with my life in Paris prevented me from being present at the first 'Petit Concert'; on the evening of the second I had an engagement in the provinces; other obstacles on the third. In short, several years passed before I managed to find a free evening and then, at the moment I was about to go to one of these concerts, I read in a paper that Charles-Valentin Alkan had just died'.


So there it is, from a world-class anti-semite. The author says that the passage is "psychologically revealing" but it's far from clear as to what that revelation may be.

Agnes Selby
Author of Constanze Mozart's biography
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Ronald Smith

Post by Agnes Selby » Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:35 am

Dear Pizza,

Thank you for the Alkan information. I had the pleasure of meeting
Mr. Smith. My daughter, Kathy studied with him under her Winston Churchill Fellowship during the summer of 1979. As she was still only 14 years old, I accompanied her to Hythe, Kent, where she spent the summer
studying with Ronald Smith and enjoying the company of his wife and darling little daughter.

Mr. Smith was an Alkan specialist. He told us the story how this came about. He was studying in Paris and not enjoying his lessons and ready
to return to England. The day he decided that enough was enough of his Parisian studies, he passed a studio from whence came the most amazing music. He stood at the door until the end of the performance and then he knocked and was invited to enter. He was told that the music was by Alkan. Not unlike the story in his book, he became engrossed with Alkan's works and remained in Paris to study with the teacher whom he had encountered in the studio.

He was an excellent teacher and a wonderful friend to my daughter.
He had come to Sydney to take part in a festival called the "Rostrum" and selected three Australian pianists as his pupils one of whom was Kathy. One of his pupils, living in Australia, is an exponent of Alkan's music.
The other is the music critic at the Sydney Morning Herald and Professor of Music at the University of Sydney.

Regards,
Agnes.
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pizza
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Re: Ronald Smith

Post by pizza » Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:56 am

Agnes Selby wrote:Mr. Smith was an Alkan specialist. He told us the story how this came about. He was studying in Paris and not enjoying his lessons and ready to return to England. The day he decided that enough was enough of his Parisian studies, he passed a studio from whence came the most amazing music. He stood at the door until the end of the performance and then he knocked and was invited to enter. He was told that the music was by Alkan. Not unlike the story in his book, he became engrossed with Alkan's works and remained in Paris to study with the teacher whom he had encountered in the studio.

He was an excellent teacher and a wonderful friend to my daughter.
He had come to Sydney to take part in a festival called the "Rostrum" and selected three Australian pianists as his pupils one of whom was Kathy. One of his pupils, living in Australia, is an exponent of Alkan's music.
I assume you're referring to Stephanie McCallum, some of whose Alkan recordings I have. In Vol. 2 of the biography, Ronald Smith refers to her private performance of Alkan's Op. 76 before the Alkan Society, apparently the first complete performance of that near unplayable work.

Alkan is indeed a fascinating subject and far removed from Mozart!

Teresa B
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Location: Tampa, Florida

Post by Teresa B » Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:41 am

Wow, what an interesting thread! I just got back from Austria, so it's right up my alley at the moment.

I happened to be taking a stroll at Altaussee, a gorgeous lake not far from Bad Ausee and Bad Ischl, in the Salzburg area. I noticed a sign in front of a hotel there that seemed to indicate Brahms had visited. (My German is lousy :( )

I love Brahms' music, and I'll hope along with Agnes that he was not an anti-Semite.

It's a fascinating place--at a nearby lake, (I'm forgetting its name) there have been legendary searches for treasure supposedly hidden there by none other than Hitler.

Walking along in this most beautiful of settings, you feel an odd mixture of the sublime and the horrific as you contemplate those who have walked the same paths.

Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

Agnes Selby
Author of Constanze Mozart's biography
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Location: Australia

Re: Ronald Smith

Post by Agnes Selby » Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:16 am

pizza wrote:
Agnes Selby wrote:Mr. Smith was an Alkan specialist. He told us the story how this came about. He was studying in Paris and not enjoying his lessons and ready to return to England. The day he decided that enough was enough of his Parisian studies, he passed a studio from whence came the most amazing music. He stood at the door until the end of the performance and then he knocked and was invited to enter. He was told that the music was by Alkan. Not unlike the story in his book, he became engrossed with Alkan's works and remained in Paris to study with the teacher whom he had encountered in the studio.

He was an excellent teacher and a wonderful friend to my daughter.
He had come to Sydney to take part in a festival called the "Rostrum" and selected three Australian pianists as his pupils one of whom was Kathy. One of his pupils, living in Australia, is an exponent of Alkan's music.
I assume you're referring to Stephanie McCallum, some of whose Alkan recordings I have. In Vol. 2 of the biography, Ronald Smith refers to her private performance of Alkan's Op. 76 before the Alkan Society, apparently the first complete performance of that near unplayable work.

Alkan is indeed a fascinating subject and far removed from Mozart!
-------------

Yes, I am referring to Stephanie McCallum a wonderful Alkan interpreter.
The Sydney Morning Herald critic and professor of music at Sydney University is Peter McCallum, her husband.

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