Thank you to those who donated to Piano Society in 2017.

The significance of Mozart


Mozart! What a radiance streams from the name! Bright and pure as
the light of the sun, Mozart's music greets us. We pronounce his
name and behold! the youthful artist is before us,--the merry,
light-hearted smile upon his features, which belongs only to true
and naive genius. It is impossible to imagine an aged Mozart,--an
embittered and saddened Mozart,--glowering gloomily at a wicked
world which is doing its best to make his lot still more
burdensome;--a Mozart whose music should reflect such painful

Mozart was a Child of the Sun. Filled with a humor truly divine,
he strolled unconstrainedly through a multitude of cares like
Prince Tamino through his fantastic trials. Music was his
talisman, his magic flute with which he could exorcise all the
petty terrors that beset him. Has such a man and artist--one who
was completely resolved in his works, and therefore still stands
bodily before us with all his glorious qualities after the lapse
of a century--has Mozart still something to say to us who have
just stepped timidly into a new century separated by another from
that of the composer? Much; very much. Many prophets have arisen
since Mozart's death; two of them have moved us profoundly with
their evangel. One of them knew all the mysteries, and Nature
took away his hearing lest he proclaim too much. We followed him
into all the depths of the world of feeling. The other shook us
awake and placed us in the hurly-burly of national life and
striving; pointing to his own achievements, he said: "If you wish
it, you have now a German art!" The one was Beethoven,--the other
Wagner. Because their music demands of us that we share with it
its experiences and struggles, they are the guiding spirits of a
generation which has grown up in combat and is expecting an
unknown world of combat beyond the morning mist of the new

But we are in the case of the man in the fairy tale who could not
forget the merry tune of the forest bird which he had heard as a
boy. We gladly permit ourselves to be led, occasionally, out of
the rude realities that surround us, into a beautiful world that
knows no care but lies forever bathed in the sunshine of
cloudless happiness,--a world in which every loveliness of which
fancy has dreamed has taken life and form. It is because of this
that we make pilgrimages to the masterpieces of the plastic arts,
that we give heed to the speech of Schiller, listen to the music
of Mozart. When wearied by the stress of life we gladly hie to
Mozart that he may tell us stories of that land of beauty, and
convince us that there are other and better occupations than the
worries and combats of the fleeting hour. This is what Mozart has
to tell us today. In spite of Wagner he has an individual mission
to fulfill which will keep him immortal. "That of which Lessing
convinces us only with expenditure of many words sounds clear and
irresistible in 'The Magic Flute':--the longing for light and
day. Therefore there is something like the glory of daybreak in
the tones of Mozart's opera; it is wafted towards us like the
morning breeze which dispels the shadows and invokes the sun."

Mozart remains ever young; one reason is because death laid hold
of him in the middle of his career. While all the world was still
gazing expectantly upon him, he vanished from the earth and left
no hope deceived. His was the enviable fate of a Raphael,
Schiller and Korner. As the German ('tis Schumann's utterance)
thinks of Beethoven when he speaks the word symphony, so the name
of Mozart in his mind is associated with the conception of things
youthful, bright and sunny. Schumann was fully conscious of a
purpose when he called out, "Do not put Beethoven in the hands of
young people too early; refresh and strengthen them with the
fresh and lusty Mozart." Another time he writes: "Does it not
seem as if Mozart's works become fresher and fresher the oftener
we hear them?"

The more we realize that Wagner places a heavy and intoxicating
draught before us the more we shall appreciate the precious
mountain spring which laves us in Mozart's music, and the less
willing we shall be to permit any opportunity to pass unimproved
which offers us the crystal cup. In the mind of Goethe genius was
summed up in the name of Mozart. In a prophetic ecstasy he spoke
the significant words: "What else is genius than that productive
power through which deeds arise, worthy of standing in the
presence of God and Nature, and which, for this reason, bear
results and are lasting? All the creations of Mozart are of this
class; within them there is a generative force which is
transplanted from generation to generation, and is not likely
soon to be exhausted or devoured."

Jan 6, 2016
Page Views:

Share This Page