Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Mozarts We Don't Know

From an article by Bernard Holland in this morning's NY Times, concerning Mozart and music in general: "The people on the streets never abandoned him. Classical music was not isolated from popular music, as it is today. There was one musical language and grammar operating on a sliding scale of sophistication. Music slid both ways -- indeed, carefully written tunes by Schubert and Dvorak, subjects of art songs and symphonies 'descended' to folk music status and can still be heard in the wee hours, sung by beergarden patrons all over central Europe."

For lack of radios and television sets, I suppose, he says that "those musical and rich enough kept private orchestras, or at least wind bands or string quartets," and invited their friends over, or even sold tickets. All of which kept composers clothed and well-fed. "Mozart spoke to three (or four, if you count the Church) audiences. First, the emperor, second, the Viennese rich, who let him put on concerts in their house, and third, the people in the streets."

Gee, might something like this not be ideal for our own young struggling composers of music today? -- those who love The Flaming Lips, Smashing Pumpkins, Tom Waits, Brian Wilson, and the Beatles, and who also want to compose great operas and symphonies?

Just wondering.

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