Friday, September 19, 2014

A Blog Reader Has Made My Day - Thank you!

A faithful reader of this blog did me and it a tremendous service this morning by sending me an email with a question about a Mozart string quartet. 

Many subjects ran concurrently in the question: Why hate Mozart?  Are you worth listening to?  And more, which I try to elucidate, though that is not simple.

The reader is a lifelong aficionado of chamber music and plays both violin and viola extremely well.  Wherever she goes - and she has traveled and lived, it is safe to say, both far and wide - she has brought her instruments with her and disseminated her love of playing music with people of all ages and descriptions.  It would be impossible to pay her greater tribute. 

Now she asks whether some of the musical references she suspects are lurking within the Mozart A major quartet are really there.  If she finds them then they are surely there.  She would like me to back her up in this.  But I, for sure, will not find them by looking at the score, for they can be found only by listening.  I do not know how to read that way, having realized that such spontaneous in-depth listening is not accessible to me by reading the notes.

My suggestion to her has to do with making her colleagues listen as she brings out the references she detects.  Perhaps they exist in her part only: Mozart famously played any one of the three upper voices in his quartets, so he was liable to hide anything at all in any one of them.  You may be sure that whichever part he played his fellow quarteters would be paying attention to his articulations, to his pronunciation of this or that phrase.  He would surely have played so that they had little choice but to pay attention. 

These are the very things that, unrecognized, are glossed over by "correct" interpretations, in which homogeneity rules, rather than playful interchange between parts whose proper enunciation require four passionate personalities, inviting, commanding one another's attention.