Franz Xaver Mozart
July 26, 2019
Composer Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart was born a few months before his famous father’s death. He wasn’t the party animal his father was, and he turned out to be a self-deprecating introvert. I don’t know how he managed to pursue a career in music, given the extraordinary shadow his father would have cast. I can relate a little bit, having been a piano student growing up under the shadow of brothers Jon Kimura and Jamie Parker, but I was lucky in that I wanted to work in the industry but off stage, at least. FX did worry about constant comparisons and sure enough, his father was referenced on his tombstone: “May the name of his father be his epitaph, as his venerations for him was the essence of his life.” If you listen to the two piano concerti, the first reveals an expanded range on the keyboard that rules it out as being mistaken for his father’s. The second has an early 19th century sound, featuring virtuosity in the piano part that looks forward to the romantic era.
Here is Wolfgang’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 14 as performed by Henri Sigridsson, conducted by Gunhard Mattes and the Symphony Orchestra INSO Lemberg.
If you’d like to compare the difference in concerti, here is the Piano Concerto No. 2 in E-flat major, Op. 25, performed by Olga Zdorenko and the Collegium Musicum Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Ivan Ostapovych.
Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart was born July 26, 1791 in Vienna, Austria, and died July 29, 1844, in what is now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
John Field was a pianist, composer, and teacher from Ireland. He studied with Muzio Clementi (the sonatina king, if you peruse any Royal Conservatory of Music piano rep book), and he went on to be a major influence on the likes of Chopin, Brahms, Schumann, and Liszt.
John Field is generally credited for creating the “nocturne”, or “night piece”. The nocturne flourished in the romantic era, written mainly for piano. The melody is very melodious, usually played in the right hand, while the left played a flowery accompaniment consisting of fleeting notes cascading up and down the keys. While Chopin put the nocturne on the map, it was John Field who was the pioneer.
Pianist Elizabeth Joy Roe recorded “John Field: Complete Nocturnes”. Have a listen.
John Field was born July 26, 1782 in Dublin, Ireland, and died January 23, 1837 in Moscow, Russia.