Stuart's Spectacular Students

This is dedicated to my amazing students. The goal is for each and every one of them to feel unstoppable by the time they walk out of the classroom door for the final time in May. This chronicles their journey; their own Chronicles of Self-Actualization.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Mozart ~ Rondo Alla Turca

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is generally ranked with Bach and Beethoven as one of the greatest composers who ever lived. Born the son of a distinguished composer, Mozart was recognized at an early age as a child prodigy. His chief works include symphonies, concertos, string quartets, a Requiem mass, and a multitude of other forms of chamber music. A popular example of Mozart's music is Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

Sample Works: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik Overture to The Marriage of Figaro

In composing the Rondo alla Turca, Mozart was merely following a very widespread fashion of the day. There was a great craze for everything exotic. It started at the end of the sixteenth and increased in France a11 through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

This craze extended to everything bizarre or strange, but was centered especially in Chinoiseries and Turqueries. Musicians, poets, painters and dancers, couturiers and craftsmen in every art were fascinated by the rich, subtle, rare quality of Chinese and Turkish taste.

Painters were allured by color, musicians by tone color and rhythmic design.The vogue of the Turqueries and Chinaiseies on the stage of the official theaters and the fairs was extraordinary. Muphti, master of the Turkish ceremony in Moliêre's Baurgeois Gentilhomme, played and danced by Lulli himself at the first performance, le Turc généreux of Rameau (Inde Galantes, first Entrée), les Chinois of Couperin, Sultane, Pacha, Osmin, all this multi­colored world sings, dances, has an uproarious time to our delight.

In order to compose the Rondo alla Turca, and later the Janissaries of The Abduction from the Seraglio, Mozart was not inspired solely by the Mecca Pilgrims of Gluck, as we are so often told. One can take it for granted that Mozart was familiar with the very long tradition of Turkish buffoonery. It is to be noted that exoticism aroused most frequently the satiric, comic or bantering vein in the artists of the period.

Mozart will prove it eloquently in his Rondo alla Turca which is truly a janissary orchestra en miniature.


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