Mozart and aristocratic women performers in Salzburg : a study of the piano concertos K. 242 and K. 246

  • Among recent approaches to Classic music, one of the most revealing is the investigation of expression via topoi. Pioneered by Leonard Ratner, and developed by leading musicologists specializing in 18th-century music, this system identifies characteristic figures and styles that conveyed specific meanings to 18th-century audiences via processes of association. These implications resulted from intimate contacts with everyday musical activities in worship, entertainment, dance ceremonies, the military, hunt, and outdoor events. Familiarity with such characteristic topoi and styles enables listeners and performers today to reconstruct the original venues of communication between composers and their audiences. Serving as case studies, this paper explores the expressive content of two concertos intended for aristocratic women performers in Salzburg: the Concerto for three keyboards in F, K. 242 (1776), written for the Countess Antonia Lodron and her two daughters, Aloysia and Josepha, and the keyboard concerto in C, K. 246 (1776) intended for the Countess Antonia Lützow. Indeed, it seems that much as Mozart provided his singers with arias that were tailored to their voices,3 in these cases, he granted the Countesses music that was redolent of their social milieu. In support of this hypothesis, this article opens with a description of several social-musical activities that engaged the Lodron and Lützow families in Salzburg during the 1770s. It then proceeds to discuss references to these concertos found in the Mozart family correspondence. While much of this information is gleaned from well-known Mozart sources, its recall establishes the cultural and sociological context for these specific works, and provides an insight into the manner of performance that Mozart valued for this music. The paper concludes with a semiotic analysis of selected passages, suggesting that the choice of the topical content bears homage to the women dedicatees.

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Author:Adena Portowitz
Parent Title (German):Min-Ad: Israel Studies in Musicology Online
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2009/01/14
Year of first Publication:2002
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2009/01/14
Source:Min-Ad: Israel Studies in Musicology Online, 2002, Vol. 2 ;
Dewey Decimal Classification:7 Künste und Unterhaltung / 78 Musik / 780 Musik
Sammlungen:Sammlung Musik, Theater, Film / Literatur zur Musik
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht