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Contents

Music In The Seventeenth And Eighteenth Centuries

COMPOSING AND PERFORMING

Chapter:
CHAPTER 11 The Composer’s Voice
Source:
MUSIC IN THE SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin

It is hard to tell just what these descriptions had to do with what Mozart himself might have played at the point marked “cadenza” in his concerto scores, since like all true virtuosos in his day he was an expert improviser, and played impromptu with the same mastery as when playing prepared compositions. Nor were the two styles completely separate. When playing a previously composed piece from memory, Mozart (as many earwitnesses report) felt completely free to reembroider or even recompose it on the spot. Only when he composed his concertos for others to perform (as in Concerto no. 17) did he even write out the solo part in full. Most of the existing manuscripts contain sections of sketchy writing that served as a blueprint for impromptu realization. (Nowadays such passages are all too often rendered literally by pianists who have been trained to play only what is written.) When playing a newly finished concerto for the first time, Mozart usually “improvised” the whole piano part from blank staves or a bass line (playing it, that is, half spontaneously, half from memory). For an idea of what he could do, compare the autograph of the opening of the second movement from his “Coronation” Concerto, K. 537, with the first published edition, issued three years after Mozart’s death with a piano part supplied by an unidentified arranger (Fig. 11-3a, b).

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 11 The Composer’s Voice." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2018. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume2/actrade-9780195384826-div1-11005.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 11 The Composer’s Voice. In Oxford University Press, Music In The Seventeenth And Eighteenth Centuries. New York, USA. Retrieved 13 Dec. 2018, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume2/actrade-9780195384826-div1-11005.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 11 The Composer’s Voice." In Music In The Seventeenth And Eighteenth Centuries, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 13 Dec. 2018, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume2/actrade-9780195384826-div1-11005.xml
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