Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mozart vs. Rachmaninoff

To my dismay, a friend recently told me he prefers the Rachmaninoff piano concertos to those of Mozart because Rachmaninoff is more “gutsy” and “wears his heart on his sleeve.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Even for people who can't imagine that anything in a major key could be worthwhile, Mozart should still reign king. In addition to the amazing stormy movements from 20 and 24, he composed the brooding slow movements to 9, 18, 22, and probably most famously, 23. For someone who only appreciates the melancholy, this is still enough nutrition to make resorting to simple carbs like Rachmaninoff unnecessary.


Blogger Lipolax said...

I am a recently new fan of classical music.So far i have only heard one or two concertos that have really cought my atencion(the biggest influence was Rachmaninoff's piano concerto n.2)so i cannot agree with your friend and i cannot agree with you eighter. Can you tell me some names of some consertos from Mozart that you consider "gutsy". Thank you very much if so.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem here is that the comparison isn't a fair. The music of Mozart and Rachmaninoff were conceived at different times in history. It would be similar to comparing Charles Dickens to Hemingway, or to be more blunt, Shakespeare to Wallace Stevens. They are different men seeing the world with a different history.

What is a more revealing question is what was taking place in Mozart's life during the writing of his Eb double concerto for violin and viola. His mother had just died in his presence in Paris, leaving Mozart alone with her body. Other than a guess that the violin represented the son and viola the mother, there is no musical indication of emotional trauma. The opposite is the case with Rachmaninoff, his music, as most composers since Beethoven, reflect the emotional and daily circumstances surrounding their creation. I hope that helps. "Gutsy" is not a useable word for comparison without a more detailed definition. In some ways, Mozart's music is very gutsy for its time. "For its time" is the key.

10:34 PM  

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