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Mozart the Performer

Variations on the Showman’s Art

An innovative study of the ways performance influenced Mozart’s compositional style.
We know Mozart as one of history’s greatest composers. But his contemporaries revered him as a multi-instrumentalist, a dazzling improviser, and the foremost keyboard virtuoso of his time. He did some composing as well, often with a single aim in mind: to set the stage, quite literally, for compelling and captivating performances. He wrote piano concertos not with an eye to posterity, but to give himself a repertoire with which to flaunt his keyboard wizardry before an awe-struck public. The same was true of his sonatas, string quartets, symphonies, and operas, all of which were painstakingly crafted to produce specific effects on those who played or heard them: to amuse, stir, and ravish colleagues and consumers alike.

Mozart the Performer brings to life this elusive side of Mozart’s musicianship. Dorian Bandy traces the influence of showmanship on Mozart’s style, showing through detailed analysis and imaginative historical investigation how he conceived his works as a series of dramatic scripts. Mozart the Performer is a book for anyone who wishes to engage more deeply with Mozart’s artistry and legacy—who wants to understand why, centuries later, his music still captivates us.

288 pages | 2 halftones, 49 line drawings | 6 x 9

Music: General Music

Table of Contents

Notes on the Text
Variation 1 Mozart the Performer
Variation 2 Mozart the Pianist
Variation 3 Mozart the Improviser
Variation 4 Mozart the Decorator
Variation 5 Mozart the Dramatist
Coda Performing Mozart

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