What is it about Mozart that brings us back to him over and over again? The Alumni College will return to him for the third time in 30 years, in part because his musical output provides an inexhaustible supply of riches. Mozart remains certainly the most renowned musical prodigy of all time, a fascinating composer, an enigmatic figure, and among composers the favorite subject of myths, conspiracy theories and absurd hyperbole. He was the idol of other famous composers as diverse as Rossini, Chopin, Gounod, Tchaikovsky, Ravel and Copland. There is no question of Mozart’s incomparable mastery of every musical form he touched, making him the most classical of all classical composers and truly the model of compositional perfection in almost all of the 700 works he left behind.
In our reconsideration of the man and his music, we’ll examine the lesser known works as well as the most familiar. Alongside the operas and symphonies, there are the piano concertos and the string quartets. Works such as The Magic Flute, La Clemenza di Tito and Cosi Fan Tutte need to be considered as successors to The Abduction from the Seraglio, Lucio Silla and La Finta Giardiniera. In addition to the Requiem, written at the end of his short life in Vienna, there are dozens of fine masses and motets he wrote as a teenager in Salzburg. The solo piano music is complemented by the four-hand piano duets or the music for two pianos. The organ works, the lieder, and wind serenades are yet other places to find wonderful gems, largely unfamiliar even to the inveterate Mozart lover.
But Mozart’s most enduring appeal lies in his music’s ability to delight, to soothe, and to enlighten. With its full range of emotions and moods, Mozart’s music ultimately reinforces our belief in the wonderful experience of life. As a child of the enlightenment, he believed in the brotherhood of mankind, wrote music that still gives us hope and comfort, and that continues to lift our spirits. To help us explore yet again the magic of this composer will be W&L professor of music Tim Gaylard, Scott Williamson, and Amy Cofield Williamson, all veteran Alumni Collegians and genuine Mozart enthusiasts.