Title

A Comparison in Classical Music: The Operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Joseph Haydn

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Alan Rich (1924-2010), an American music critic, once wrote that “no composer -not Giuseppe Verdi, not even Richard Wagner, for all their greatness- had Amadeus Mozart’s gift for devising music so close to his characters, or for using music in its greatest variety to underscore the high points in his dramatic works.” Despite this assessment and many similar ones, surprisingly little has been said to explain exactly why Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s operatic works are considered by music scholars and critics to be more profound than operas by his peers, in particular Joseph Haydn, who also wrote many operas. Through detailed analysis of selected scenes and arias from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Joseph Haydn’s Il Mondo Della Luna. I hope to discover some of the important similarities and differences between Mozart and Haydn’s approach to writing dramatic music for the stage. My four major areas of comparison are the creation of dramatic situation, orchestration, the development of character in the music, and the approach to combining musical elements of opera seria and opera buffa. Through my own analysis and the support of secondary sources, I will identify which aspects of operatic writing Haydn and Mozart share in common, and which aspects represent important contrasts. I am hopeful this will contribute to a better understanding of both composers’ contributions to the genre.

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Apr 12th, 1:40 PM Apr 12th, 2:00 PM

A Comparison in Classical Music: The Operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Joseph Haydn

UC 332

Alan Rich (1924-2010), an American music critic, once wrote that “no composer -not Giuseppe Verdi, not even Richard Wagner, for all their greatness- had Amadeus Mozart’s gift for devising music so close to his characters, or for using music in its greatest variety to underscore the high points in his dramatic works.” Despite this assessment and many similar ones, surprisingly little has been said to explain exactly why Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s operatic works are considered by music scholars and critics to be more profound than operas by his peers, in particular Joseph Haydn, who also wrote many operas. Through detailed analysis of selected scenes and arias from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Joseph Haydn’s Il Mondo Della Luna. I hope to discover some of the important similarities and differences between Mozart and Haydn’s approach to writing dramatic music for the stage. My four major areas of comparison are the creation of dramatic situation, orchestration, the development of character in the music, and the approach to combining musical elements of opera seria and opera buffa. Through my own analysis and the support of secondary sources, I will identify which aspects of operatic writing Haydn and Mozart share in common, and which aspects represent important contrasts. I am hopeful this will contribute to a better understanding of both composers’ contributions to the genre.