Mozart up to age 12

THURSDAY, August 27, 2020 – 1:36 AM

Mozart the pre-teen, an  overview…

Going through these symphonies was a matter of completion for me. I don’t like being totally ignorant, so I suppose I need to be able to say in the future, “I’ve listen to all Mozart’s symphonies”. Well, now I have, and it was fun to hear what Mozart may have done, with help, at such a young age, but I won’t do it again. I was flat out bored. If you are new to Mozart, skip this and listen to his last symphonies, which are amazing!

There are six here, not eight…

No. 37 is bogus because Michael Haydn wrote all but the intro, so we already know that of the 41 symphonies that are numbered, there are three missing. Why? Because No. 2 and No 3 don’t exist. So the actual number is 38.

Symphony No. 1 in Eb major, 1764-1765, age eight to nine

Now much of this is a combination of his father’s hype and help? How much of this did the son really complete by himself? How many of the ideas are truly his? I suppose we’ll never know. But for me the only interest is how young he was when this was composed. You’re much better of listening to music of other composers who were writing at the same time and created mature works.

Symphony No. 2 DOES NOT EXIST

Symphony No. 3 DOES NOT EXIST

Symphony No. 4 in D major, 1765, age nine

The young genius is now nine, and all the same questions remain. Is this really his? How much help did he get? But I believe I like this a bit more than his 1st symphony. However, I find it infinitely forgettable, meaning that its only interest to me is how young Mozart was at this time.

Symphony No. 5 in Bb major, 1765, age nine

And still I can’t tell how much of this Mozart and how much it is his father and his father’s friends helping. I swear the horn parts are almost more annoying than fun to listen to. Thank God someone eventually invented valves.

Symphony No. 6 in F major, 1767, age 11

I guess the young symphonies are getting a bit longer by this time. My impression is that writing is pretty smooth, but I hear patterns and formulas that sound to me more like exercises in composing than original ideas. If I were working with a child with this kind of talent, of course I would be excited out of this world, and in awe of the genius, but I still think we have to compare this writing to his later works. There is a reason why many of his father’s contemporaries said that the only thing totally amazing about this child was that he was doing this at such a young age. Of course they were all wrong, but it was not an unreasonable assumption.

Symphony No. 7, we’re back to D major again, 1767, age 11

There is something I like better about this too, but it still sounds formulaic to me, and one huge problem I have with this era is that so much of music writing was craft, passed down in families like making furniture. So much of the early music of Mozart and Haydn sounds all the same to me, like some kind of horrendous musical homogenization. It was not until later in Mozart’s life that this reverses for me.

Symphony No. 8, D major again, 1768, age 12

This is the end of it, because by the next symphony Mozart turned 13. This is the longest symphony so far, and I think it’s fair to assume that by this point we are hearing Mozart himself, because his father simply never wrote music that could compare with that of his son.


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