For many music lovers around the world, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has reached a level of musical perfection unsurpassed by any composer in history. In his short life of thirty-five years, he left us with 626 compositions: some of the most sublime, transcendent and universally adored music in history.
Mozart was born on January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, Austria. In honor of his birthday, WABE music contributor Dr. Scott Stewart joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes to give us his playlist of Mozart classics.
Dr. Stewart on Mozart’s Overture to Le Nozze di Figaro:
“This music is madcap hilarity and sheer joy for orchestral musicians and listeners alike. There’s actually no music from the opera itself, but it establishes a hustle and bustle spirit that sets the tone for the show to follow. Classical orchestras in the 18th century weren’t as big as ones we typically hear today—often about 20-30 players, but it still works great for large orchestra today. You also get to hear Mozart’s penchant for wind instruments like flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns and trumpets, along with festive timpani.”
On Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, I Allegro:
“The clarinet was kind of exotic in Mozart’s day, but he was immediately attracted to the strongly differentiated colors available in the clarinet’s different registers—dark in the lower, warm in the middle, and bright in the upper. I love this piece because it is intentionally not a virtuosic dazzler. While it certainly puts the clarinetist through their paces, this first movement is graceful, symmetrical, and pristine in its clarity.”