Open yale courses “mozart and his operas”

Professor Craig Wright: So – good morning. I bring you news from Nashville – very interesting, Nashville. I had such an interesting weekend. Friday night, went to this spectacular concert of Mozart, doing the Mozart Requiem in this one hundred thirty-five million-dollar concert hall that they have put – built for music in the city of Nashville. The next afternoon, Saturday afternoon, I walked across the street. I could have gone two blocks to watch a hockey game – they have a hockey team in Nashville – or three blocks in the other direction to watch the Titans play in the football stadium, but I went just one block to the Country Music Hall of Fame. So I spent three hours in the Country Music Hall of Fame and – absolutely fascinating – but it got even better, because Sunday morning, there I was at the airport about to fly out of Nashville. And I’m sitting there and you know how you’re queuing up to get – go out your gate to get on your airplane and CNN is playing on the television there. It was wonderful. What did I hear? [plays piano]

Ah, Mozart! Mozart right here in the airport in Nashville. And then it went on from that. There was another commercial and they used [plays piano [more Mozart]] and so on. So what a strange, wonderful world, what a strange, wonderful country to have such diversity ethnically, politically and musically. And at the same time to have a sense that this little person who was only about five feet three inches tall – probably weighed about one hundred ten pounds – sitting in a room in Vienna, Austria, more than two hundred years ago could create this beauty that we still engage today, whether consciously or subconsciously, when we’re sitting in an airport in Nashville, Tennessee. Right? Astonishing what the brain sometimes experiences.

Well, today we’re going to talk about Mozart. Now the music that you just heard – [music playing] Okay.

Let’s just stop it there, and we’re going to come back to this in just a second. It’s music of the Classical period. It’s music of Mozart. It happens to be what’s called his “Little G Minor Symphony,” and contrast that to the music that you heard in section last week by Bach, [plays piano] and so on where he gets a concerto going, [sings] and it sort of chugs along in that same fashion, chugs along, in fact, for about nine minutes and twenty seconds all with the music having the same general tenor, the same general mood, the same general feeling to it. That’s Baroque music. Once you get an ethos established in Baroque music, it will carry through from beginning to end of a particular movement or a particular piece. It doesn’t change, generally speaking.

When we get to the Classical period, however, and here we’re talking roughly seventeen fifty up to around eighteen twenty or so, things get a little bit different. We get change within a particular movement. Change might be from regular to irregular rhythm, for example, or from very loud to very quiet. And this push for change only accelerates as we go in to the romantic period where you get these wild swings of emotion, these wild swings of musical mood, a kind of bipolar music in the nineteenth century.

Well, this begins in the Classical period so let’s go back and hear the beginning of this Symphony No. 25 in G Minor of Mozart. And notice here we begin minor key, lots of syncopation, agitation, and within about forty seconds Mozart has morphed into a completely different mood, a major key, oboe solo. The music is very lyrical.


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Open yale courses “mozart and his operas”