Mozart's Chamber Music - Spring 2020 - Mr. Eric Wen
(Mozart's Chamber Music SP20)

Mozart's contribution to the genre of chamber music is unparalleled. Beginning with the early string quartets written in Salzburg, this course will focus upon the “10 Celebrated Quartets” from the composer’s years in Vienna. Influenced by the masterpieces of Haydn, Mozart’s string quartets are the most frequently heard chamber works of the Classical era performed in concert halls today. In addition to these groundbreaking works, this course will survey Mozart's chamber music for strings with flute, oboe and clarinet.

This course will look at Mozart’s chamber music in terms of their formal design and tonal structure, and examine the many novel ways in which he treats the Classical sonata principle. Readings from biographies, as well as contemporary accounts of the composer, will add to our understanding of the different works in light of the composer’s career, as well as build a bibliography of Mozart resources. Finally, this course will discuss issues of performance styles as exemplified by the vast recorded legacy of interpreters, especially historical performances by the Budapest, Busch, Capet and Pro Arte String Quartets, as well as more modern performances by Guarneri, Juilliard and Tokyo String Quartets. Students will write a final paper (approximately 1500 words) on a single chamber work by Mozart. 


Texts: Zaslaw, The Compleat Mozart; Spaethling, Mozart’s Letters, Mozart’s Life; Lang, The Creative World of Mozart; selected readings from Mozart biographies by Hermann Abert, Edward Holmes, Alfred Einstein, and Maynard Solomon.