Sunday, February 24, 2013

The charms of Mozart

I returned from a performance by the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka that included Mozart's last symphony. I thought the SOSL did rather a good job, holding together a rather unwieldy symphony.

Chatting to a friend after the concert, she confessed that she did not like Mozart. A friend who performed in some chamber concerts with her stated much the same thing: while they liked the big romantic works, Mozart was sneered at.

Sometimes this sentiment is not difficult to understand. Even his worst critics will usually admit that music is pretty; I think what happens is that the ease of accessibility is assumed to mean that the work is shallow and superficial.

Although the scale of the orchestral forces used by Mozart is small (compared to that of the Romantics) the lack of scale should not be mistaken for lack of depth. His music is truly profound, it is just that it is not sketched on the same grand canvas as that of his later successors.

Musical taste is a constantly evolving phenomenon, sometimes it takes a while to grow into Mozart. I just hope that my love of Mozart is not indicative of the vast chasm that must be crossed to get through to the charming young lady who was so dismissive of the Master.

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