Saturday, December 19, 2020

Music notes

As we have been talking about Paul McCartney lately, I thought I'd note that the new album, McCartney III, has been released. I listened to it Friday on Hoopla, using my best pair of headphones. Seems solid throughout, although no one song really jumped out at me on first listening, the way that "Maybe I'm Amazed" does on the first McCartney album.

Paul McCartney is 78. I am glad he has been able to stay in good health and remain productive; I have been thinking lately about another great musician who was not so lucky. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was 35 when he died on Dec. 5, 1791. 

35! Imagine how much more music he would have written if he had lived as long as two other genius composers who died relatively young: Beethoven, who was 56, and Prokofiev, who was 61. 

Or at least imagine what Mozart would have done with just a few more years. 

Here are some of the works he completed in 1791, his last year, and he didn't have a full year: Piano Concerto No. 27, String Quintet No. 6, The Magic Flute, The Clemency of Titus (in other words, he completed two operas), Clarinet Concerto in A, the Requiem in D Minor. This list omits many shorter or less famous pieces.

After I wrote the above paragraph, I wondered what Mozart completed in his last full year. So here is a partial list for 1790: Cosi fan tutte, String Quartet No. 22, String Quartet No. 23,  String Quintet No. 5. In 1788, Mozart completed the famous last three symphonies, 39, 40 and 41, and 1788 also included Piano Sonata Number 15, Piano Concerto No. 26, Piano Trio No. 4, Piano Sonata No. 16, Violin Sonata No. 36, Piano Trio No. 5, Divertimento in E-flat and Piano Trio No. 6. My favorite piano concerto, No. 21, was written in 1985, and without belaboring the point, he didn't exactly take the rest of the year off. 

Mozart was one of Robert Anton Wilson's favorite composers; in Right Where You Are Sitting Now, RAW writes "I believe in Bach, the creator of heaven and earth, and in Mozart, his only begotten son, and in Beethoven, the mediator and comforter;" (in "Credo;" he also mentions Vivaldi, Ravel, Stravinsky and "many another.") 

I have just discovered there is a major new Mozart biography out, Mozart: The Reign of Love by Jan Swafford. Tyler Cowen's review.  Eric Wagner and I both read Swafford's Beethoven biography, and the book highlighted the connection between Beethoven and the Illuminati, please see my review. 

My Russian Futurism music blog recently launched; at some point, I'll do a post at this blog explaining my rationale for it. 


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Interesting post. I want to read Abert’s bio of Mozart. - Eric Wagner