Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the quintessential classical composer, along with Ludwig Van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach, are my top three favorite composers. Mozart, in my opinion, could make more with an uncomplicated theme or idea than any other composer. The musical idea may at first sound simple without much substance but the genius Mozart could turn that simple theme into a musical beauty with depth and substance. That is why I say this child prodigy was “simply” genius.
I have three examples where Mozart is “simply” genius: In one example, where Mozart displays his simple genius, it is with the shortest possible theme you could have-consisting of only two notes. In the first movement of Mozart’s 29th symphony Mozart opens with a scherzo-like two note motif that he develops fully into a beautiful substantial movement. While maybe not the most serious of symphonies, this playful beauty is a very pleasant satisfying symphony in typical Mozart classical style.
When you hear the solo piano opening of the third movement of Mozart’s piano concerto #22 in E-Flat Major, you will think to yourself, how simple and delightful that is; but again, the genius Mozart turns that simplicity into a substantive wonderful concerto. This is one of my favorite movements from all his piano concerti.
In the final example, There is a simple children’s motif, that I know you have heard, that Mozart, with his 12 variations of it, turns it into a pleasant “adult” great piece of music, in only the way the genius Mozart could. The name of the theme of this popular children’s song originating in France is “Ah, vous dirai-je Maman“. For those of you who do not know what this children’s song is, I will not give it away. When you hear it you will obviously recognize it and think to yourself, “You mean, this is from the genius Mozart?” Yes, yes it is! 🙂
So, please turn up the volume and enjoy some “simple genius” from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
W. A. Mozart: Symphony #29 in A-Major, Movement 1, Allegro:
W.A. Mozart: Piano Concerto #22 in E-Flat Major, Movement 3, Allegro:
W.A. Mozart: 12 Variations on “Ah, vous dirai-je Maman” for solo piano: