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Tuesday, December 14, 2004
  Piano Concerto in A Major, K. 488, Allegro (first movement)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 8 Tracks 12-27

When I was younger, less calm of mind, I did not like to listen to Mozart's piano music. Man, did I love Schoenberg, though. I still do but I have grown to understand what to listen for in a piano concerto like this one that has so many darn scales. Mozart loved to fit things together. He loved that logic that no theorist could pin down. That elusive quality that fits things together in a way that can only be described as musical.

There is a joy for music in Mozart's work that I have heard in one other composer. Oddly, perhaps, that composer is Boulez. Though so far apart in style and time, the two share a quickness in mind and a delight for their craft.

It is a shame, and I think safe to say, that there will not be a Third Viennese School. The patrons of the first and the self-importance of the second are forever gone from this earth, now cluttered with radio stations, TV, and electric guitars. What could it be like, if, somehow, it were possible? From the first Viennese composers we have the desire to see the world politely. It is the philosophy of the Enlightenment expressed through Major and minor scales and their attendant triads. Realizing the weakness of reason and the persistence of war, the second Viennese put raw flesh on stage (so to speak) and pulled from it the tone rows that they believed indicated a new path. But what path is there when we can see the whole world at once? 
Interesting that in your younger years you would listen to Schoenberg and not Mozart. I'm in the middle of listening to all the American piano modernists (Cowell, Ornstein, Ives etc.) but Mozart to me complements that music and is still listenable (where unfortunately Schubert, for now, is not). I've also recently been listening to Busoni, who I'm starting to see as a bridge from the 19th century.

Robert Gable
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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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