Beethoven and Mozart

I have always wondered why I like Mozart almost intuitively while being nearly deaf to Beethoven. Dylan Evans explains why while going on to claim that Beethoven was a narcissistic hooligan. I liked this part of the piece:

It’s instructive to compare Beethoven’s morbid self-obsession with the unselfconscious vivacity of Mozart. Like Bach’s perfectly formed fugues and Vivaldi’s sparkling concertos, Mozart’s music epitomises the baroque and classical ideals of formal elegance and functional harmony; his compositions “unfold with every harmonic turn placed at the right moment, to leave, at the end, a sense of perfect finish and unity”, as the music critic Paul Griffiths puts it. Above all, Mozart’s music shares with that of Bach an exuberant commitment to the Enlightenment values of clarity, reason, optimism and wit.

2 thoughts on “Beethoven and Mozart

  1. Its hard to agree with an assessment of Beethoven’s music as dark when one has heard his works such as Fur Elise and the Moonlight Sonata. Yes, some of Beethoven’s works do arouse passion (and not necessarily bloodlust or megalomania as Dylan would have us believe) unlike Mozart’s music that appeals to the finer sensibilities. But does this make him “a narcissistic hooligan”? This is surely a petty and unfair appellation for a genius of Beethoven’s caliber.

  2. Thanks for posting the first meaningful comment on the blog !

    I too felt that the article was titled too strongly. And that probably written too strongly. But I am not really in a position to comment much on Beethoven. Could never get down to listen to his music.

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