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"Oh wow," you may be thinking.  "Mozart Symphony #37?  Wait a minute!  I bought an expensive collection of the complete Mozart Symphonies on Ebay and it doesn't include the Mozart #37!  I was screwed!"

Well, you're not the only one who has wondered what happened to #37.  There's his masterpiece, #36, "The Linz Symphony."  And then there's his masterpiece, #38, "The Prague Symphony."  But no Symphony #37!

... Or is there?  Listen to it now.  And more discussion below about ringers, informed guesses, scholarly blunders, and other headaches of musical history.

Mozart Symphony #37 in G Major, K. 447, first movement.  

So you followed me past the squiggly line.  You're wondering what the gotcha is, right?  Well, the first part is by Mozart, the slow introduction.  The rest of the symphony is by Michael Haydn, the brother of Joseph Haydn.  Both Haydns were close friends of the Mozart family and they used to share a lot of the same gigs.  

The "Mozart" Symphony #37 was premiered in Linz together with his Symphony #36, "The Linz," a symphony there has never been doubts about.  If you don't own the Linz Symphony, you're still a Mozart newbie.  That's fine -- you'll have fun discovering that on your own.  Because of the timing, however, and because the surviving written scores of the symphony were in Mozart's handwriting, and because the introduction of the symphony is Mozart's and in his particular style -- and because Michael Haydn was a pretty damned good composer in his own right -- the symphony was eventually hoovered up into a pile of symphonies that the historians labeled The Mozart Symphonies.  Until 1906, this was still considered a Mozart symphony.

There have been many confusions like this in the realm of Mozart scholarship.  There are competing numbering systems, and revised numbering systems.  It seems doubtful that Mozart worried much about the confusion he may have left prosperity by his frequently copying out other composer's scores.  At a time when there were no copying machines and composers were paid like day laborers, copying out yours and other people's music was just part of the job.  It was also a good way of learning.  Mozart copied some of Michael Haydn's scores deliberately, we know, because he admired how M. Haydn used fugues in his final movements.  By the time Mozart got to his last real symphony, "The Jupiter," #41, we see how much he absorbed, because Mozart's Jupiter's finale, the first and only time Mozart used a fugue in a finale, may be the single finest 6 minutes of music of the 18th century, "Proof for the existence of God," as Woody Allen is rumored to have said. (I can find no proof of that.  Besides, it makes no sense.  So maybe he did say it.)  

Being friends, and all of them also being prolific composers who produced symphonies and concertos and quartets the way hens lay eggs, paranoid issues of plagiarism never seem to have become an issue for them.  

I've been distracted this week and didn't have time to prepare a longer diary, so I dithered over skipping this week or pulling something out of my ass at the last minute.  Voila.  I feel comfortable talking about Mozart today because I don't need to really analyze any music.  

And a lot of the work is already done for me, thanks to wiki, who made a list of Mozart Symphonies of Spurious or Dubious Authenticity.  They list thirty-nine such symphonies, the above symphony being just one.  Some of them have been already proven to not be by Mozart but by other previously uncredited composers.  Others are still under a cloud of suspicion.  Still others are comfortably considered Mozart although they are not included in the usual #1-#41 numbering because of other questions or because they showed up too late and nobody wants to renumber the Jupiter.

And some previously established Mozart symphonies are still under a cloud.  For instance, this, the Mozart Symphony #11 in D Major,  K. 84/73q.  The K. stands for Kochel, one of the early Mozart scholars who attempted to number his works.  The second number is one of his revisions to the numbering.  It is believed to have been composed about 1770.  Since Mozart was born in 1756, that means he would have been about 14.  Hey, what were you doing when you were 14?  This is very good music, and listening to it, I personally can't doubt that it's legit Mozart.  It's not of the quality that Mozart would achieve in his later years.  Mozart only lived to be 35, so later means, like, about 9 years later.  Wiki says questions about this symphony's authenticity were raised as recently as 2008.

Mozart Symphony #11 in D Major

To me, it has the Mozart voice, especially in the Andante second movement.  But a great deal of Mozart's music also sounds like his father's music.  Up to that time in his life, Mozart had been globetrotting with his dad for some time as a musical prodigy phenomenon that all the ladies of the nobility wanted to hug and feed candy like a chihuahua.  His early works do have similarity to that of his father, Leopold Mozart.  And some of the Mozart questionable symphonies were, indeed, later shown to be by Leopold.  Like this one, the Neue Lambach Symphony, so named because it was discovered languishing in a drawer in a monastery in Lambach, a place the Mozart's are known to have visited.

Yeah, I think, when I listen to that, it sounds like our Wolfgang!  But nope.  It's generally agreed now that this one is by Mozart's father, Leopold.  It is dated, they believe, to 1769, which would have made Mozart all of 13.   We can compare this to another symphony in the same drawer that IS believed to be by Wolfgang and from the same period, The Symphony #7a in G Major K. Anh. 221 (K. 45a), the Alte Lambach, of around 1768 (which would make Mozart... 12).

Mozart Symphony #7a

And then there are cases of symphonies that were identified as being by Mozart just because they struck people as the kind of thing Mozart would have composed, with little other justification.  This next one was briefly labeled as a Mozart symphony in 1971, possibly based on a misread signature.  The music is quite good, though, and I like it.  It turns out to have been composed in 1785 (when Mozart would have been a mature 29) by Joseph Martin Kraus, a man who was called "The Swedish Mozart" of his time.  I don't have as much trouble listening to this and going, "That's good stuff, but I know it's not Mozart."

Joseph Martin Kraus Symphony in C sharp minor VB 140

And then there are others that we just don't know.  I thought this one was interesting.  It's sometimes labeled Mozart Symphony #55, based on the Neuen Mozart-Ausgabe renumbering system, which is a little crazy.  It's believed to have been composed around 1767, which would put Mozart at about 8 years old.  We know Mozart was already composing operas at that age, so that isn't a big shock to those of us that are big Mozart buffs, but it might be a shock to you, dear reader.  He was a scary smart little kid.

Mozart Symphony ("#55") in B-Flat Major, Anh 214 K. 45b

According to Wiki about this symphony:

Symphony was lost until a copy was found in Berlin, 1943. The origins of the symphony are disputed (1767, Salzburg per Zaslaw, 1768, Vienna per NMA). Attribution to Mozart cannot be confirmed, but it is frequently treated as genuine.
This could be Mozart.  I don't feel confident taking a stand on this.  It sounds too mature to have been composed by an 8 or 9 year old.  There are many things to like about it.  Puzzling, though.

That's the end of my survey of Mozart's clouded music.  Since this was rather heavily weighted towards the early, less mature Mozart, let me finish with one of his later works.  Mozart composed his last three symphonies, #39, #40, and #41, in the space of six weeks.  That is three of the greatest compositions of the eighteenth century and he wrote them in a total of six weeks.  It's simply disgusting to think about.  I understand Salieri's position completely in the film Amadeus.  It's great music, but it's a cause for despair.

This is the slow movement, the Andante, from the Symphony #39.  I like this one because it's so pleasant, so serene... And then it has two brief moments of harmonic madness that come as terrible shocks, our having been so completely lulled into complacency.  The second shock especially, the one at 4:45, must have been bewildering to its first audience.  I feel like getting out my guitar right now to figure out just what the hell he did there.

Mozart Symphony #39 in E Flat

Next week: Ah, we'll see.  It was a busy week here at home.  I still want to do Dvorak.

Originally posted to Dumbo on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 08:04 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wonderful! (7+ / 0-)

    Thank you!!!

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 08:29:09 PM PDT

  •  I played a Mozart symphony--in the 30s I think (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, martyc35, MT Spaces, Fiona West

    that had Mozart trying to create the sound of chickens peeping.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 08:51:26 PM PDT

  •  This is really great. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, martyc35, BlueStateRedhead

    On the Woody Allen thing, the closest I can verify is a line from Manhattan, where he includes it in a (partially tongue-in-cheek) list of things that make life worth living.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 09:07:45 PM PDT

  •  I am not crazy (4+ / 0-)

    about Mozart. In fact when I was young I didn't like him at all. I was big on Beethoven and Bach. Then I read a biography and I was into him for a while. I like the Requiem most of all but have played the 3 last symphonies many times.
    I love #39, what a great clip you decided to leave there.
    I will save you the trouble of getting out your guitar because I dug out the score.

    After a cadence in Eb, he goes into Ab minor, then B major, C#7, F#7, then the violent attack in B minor. Yeah thats pretty cool.
    I am thinking off the top of my head but wonder if Mozart had heard any Beethoven around this time esp. Symp. #2.

    Anyway I have this recording of a newly discovered  Mozart symphony that I bought around 20 years ago. It is called the Odense symphony and a recording was put out by an orchestra from that city soon after. I can't find the CD right now.

    Thanks for the interesting diary. I did know that #37 was not Mozart, but you still peaked my interest,

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. - Elbert Hubbard -9.62/-8.15

    by GustavMahler on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 09:16:06 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, it's that B major that's the (4+ / 0-)

      shocker, then.  He sets it up nicely through some tweaks to the melody, the dum, da, dadum.

      I'm writing a fugue, for fun.  I set out to see just how hard it could be.  Actually, it's easier than a lot of things I could have tried to do because of all the rules of baroque counterpoint.  At one point, I got my ass all the way out to E flat major in an a minor fugue and had to figure out how to get back gracefully from such a distant key.  The harmony books weren't helping much (not with the "gracefully" part) so I went for advice to Mozart's Jupiter finale, the part just before the recapitulation, when he goes through some distant modulations like that and makes it seem so seamless it's bewildering.

      I don't think Mozart ever heard mature Beethoven.  He met Beethoven when he was a kid as a potential student and gave him a melody to improvise on (his Turkish March).  Beethoven did a good job with it and impressed Mozart, but that's as far as it ever went.  

      I'm channeling here, but somehow I doubt Mozart would have been impressed with Beethoven.  How could anybody not be impressed with Beethoven? you could well ask, but Mozart and J Haydn both seemed to have such a different view of the purpose of music than Beethoven's.  If you want to know what Mozart would have thought, you could start by reading what Haydn said after he heard the rehearsal of Beethoven's Eroica.  

      Here's a film version of Haydn's reaction, the 2003 Eroica film.

      "It gives us a glimpse into his soul.  I think perhaps that's why it's so noisy."

      I have to put on a totally different mindset when I'm listening to Beethoven than the one I have when I'm listening to Mozart.  With Mozart, I focus on very small things in a way I don't with Beethoven.  With Beethoven there's a drama.  With Mozart, it's just music and that's all it ever needs to be.

  •  My favorite of his is #39. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martyc35, MT Spaces, Dumbo, Fiona West

    Spectacular first movement!

  •  T&R as a bookmark (7+ / 0-)

    so I can enjoy this tonight after I get the hell off work.

    He should peer deep into the abyss. He should look straight into the heart of darkness where lies a Republican defeat - Peggy Noonan

    by Steven Payne on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 08:56:17 AM PDT

  •  Delightful........enlivening........heaven (5+ / 0-)

    Being a novice classical music lover, I want to thank you for the time, effort, and expertise you display with your diaries.     I have Bill Parker's third edition of "Building A Classical Music Library" and rely on it to guide me in purchasing CD's.   Can you direct me to labels and websites that you trust when making purchases.   We live in the southwest corner of Virginia and are not close to anything.    Winston-Salem is two hours away.  

    Where else on the internet could you find classical music and intelligent people talking about what's real.   lol!

    I hope the repugs lose this coming election in the biggest way possible - a resounding defeat that sends the tea party nut cases home.   And I would add that if there are any moderate republicans left - may they retain their seats.

    •  If you're just now building your (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      CD collection and some of these things are new to you, I'd recommend keeping it simple and collecting Herbert von Karajan's recordings for Deutsche Grammaphon.  Some people would criticize that choice, probably, but I think it's a sound recommendation because the von Karajan recordings are all recorded well.  Shopping around for better recordings can come later if you're not satisfied.  And von Karajan's a good conductor, sometimes brilliant, like in his Beethoven recordings, sort of a Baby Bear's porridge.  And always recorded very well so you can blow out your speakers.

    •  I'll recommend one website, too, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      although I don't know if it's what you want.  It's not a basic library-building suggestion website.

      Statework Blog describes itself as a source for great free classical recordings.  Many of the recordings are bootlegs -- which is NOT the same thing as pirated label music.  Sometimes they have is bootleg (hand-recorded live by a listener) concert performances, old recorded live radio broadcasts, or old recordings that have been long out of print that you can't get elsewhere.  It's a good starting point for linking to other blogs that are more frequently updated as well, that focus on older quality recordings, sometimes of mythical reputation, like the Furtwangler and Mengelberg wartime recordings.

      •  Thanks, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo, martyc35

        I really apppreciate your recommendations.

        I have always found Democrats and independents to be free thinkers - capable of critical thinking and able to consider divergent and opposing ideas - even if they disagree.    I can not say the same of repugs - rigid, catatonic, and incapable of discussing anything that might upset their applecart.    This is one of the many traits I love about who we are.

        Narissstic Personality Disorder truly fits the discription for many repugs, especially Tea-party types.

  •  Dumbo, I have quite a backlog of your diaries now, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, martyc35

    which I hope to gradually work my way through.  Of those I've really worked with, the Beethoven symphony diaries have been among my favorites.  But this diary is a good opportunity to go back to Mozart.  In highschool, lo these many years ago, I was in an AP English/Art/Music class, and one of the memorable experience there was listening to Mozart's Jupiter symphony, after reading about the structure and all, with commentary by the music teacher.  It was the first time I'd ever listened to complex music with knowledgeable guidance, and it was great.

    I listen to classical music (among other kinds) but have had too little guided listening since then, until running across your diaries.

    So, thanks again.  I'm way behind the class, but I'm finding what I have time for to be quite rewarding.

    --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

    by Fiona West on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 02:40:47 PM PDT

    •  Try this diary of mine (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      about Mozart's #40.

      I think I've learned, in writing these diaries (and it surprised me) that it's more useful to focus on one or two little things in a Mozart piece, and really, really focus on it, than to just get caught up in the big picture.  With Beethoven, the big picture is what it's always about.  With Mozart, there are details, and the details are handled so perfectly that you can, at first, take them for granted.  And then you back up and go, whoa... that was like magic, like sleight of hand, it was so well done.

  •  tipped, reced and hotlisted (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, martyc35

    far too dense to read while at work thank you this is very interesting.

    I'll likely always be more a fan of Bach/Beethoven's style of music more then Mozart's (ironically I agree with the fictional Holme's opinion on Mozart of frenzied gaity which is part of my problem I think)

    But still it's a fascinated subject

    •  Frenzied gaiety... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, martyc35

      I've never really thought of Mozart as a very emotional composer, although there are many very emotional moments in his music.

      To me, he's like the world's most talented pickpocket.  You only realize too late your wallet is gone and then you're too impressed to care about the wallet.  I listen to Mozart in a totally different way than I listen to Beethoven or Tchaikovsky.

      •  fair enough (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        martyc35, Dumbo

        and certainly I should probably give Mozart another chance I've just always enjoyed the more 'forceful' styles of music (sorry trying to communicate in the least embarrasing lay person way possible)

        •  Try this one. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          duhban, martyc35

          This is a good example of what I mean.  This sounds very happy, but it's not about being happy, in the sense that Beethoven's music might be about it in some broader context.

          This is his String Quintet #6 in E flat K. 614.  K. 614 means it's near the end of his career, before he got sick.  I think the Requiem was about K. 622 or something like that.  I was looking for something else and found the Menuetto and thought, hey, this is exactly what I mean.

          Start with the assumption that the music is that way for a very deliberate purpose.  And since it's Mozart, that's very true.  If you start with that assumption, then the little notes that sound a little bit off that you might tune out as just sloppy or arbitrary become intriguing, and the little awkwardnesses in the rhythm become catchier.  There are much flashier pieces by Mozart, but this little minuet really catches the essence of what he was doing.

  •  I can't believe it's not Mozart (most of it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, martyc35


    Thank you for that.  Where I am there is a community orchestra that might find no. 37 very interesting.  I have ears to bend...

    God be with you, Occupiers. God IS with you.

    by Hohenzollern on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 06:55:45 PM PDT

  •  I love Mozart (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, martyc35

    You can get all of his works in a single collection for less about $150 on Amazon. A few years ago my kids got it for me - it was then about $120. Really worth it, all wonderful.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 10:19:07 PM PDT

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