Honors | Mozart and His Era (HON)
H203 | 10086 | David Hertz


TuTh 7:30-8:45pm

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) is often said to be the most
brilliant musician who ever lived. He might also be called the first
modern musician. Mozart, who played with Marie Antoinette as a
child, later wrote opera with defiant revolutionary overtones.  For
the twentieth century, Mozart symbolized the cool perfection of
ideal form. For the nineteenth century, he was the creator of Don
Giovanni, a revolutionary hero who embodied the “life force.” Was he
close to an idiot-savant, as in some popular treatments of him, or a
calculating musical innovator? Was he stage-managed by a dominating
musician-father, Leopold, or an independent genius? Who was the real
Mozart? This course offers a reconsideration of the life, the works
and the rich cultural background. It will include study of both
little-known works and famous masterpieces, with reference to a
variety of important precursors and contemporaries (Bach, Handel,
Salieri, Haydn, and others). Study of the operas The Marriage of
Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Magic Flute, selected chamber music, and--
since Mozart was one of the first master pianists--the keyboard
literature, especially the piano concerto genre.  Survey of
pertinent cultural artifacts in poetry, painting, philosophy and
more.  Among the figures to be explored in the context work are
Rousseau, Beaumarchais and Lorenzo da Ponte. Recent scholarly
treatments in biography and traditional views will be compared and
contrasted. We will read portions of the recently published
translation of the biography by Hermann Abert, recently cited as one
of the greatest books on Mozart ever written.

The course will be taught in conjunction with activities in the
School of Music, including required attendance at selected concerts,
lectures and, possibly, master classes. The class will also require
visits to the IU Art Museum, related lectures on campus, and
possibly other venues.