The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Here are 10 myths about Mozart. How many did you believe? Plus, WYSO’s Youth Orchestra Honors Recital is FREE at 7 TONIGHT at Oakwood Village West. | January 16, 2015

ALERT: This Friday night at 7 p.m. in the Oakwood Village West Auditorium, located on Madison’s far west side at 6209 Mineral Road, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) will present the Youth Orchestra Honors Recital.

The recital will feature eight talented young musicians who participated in the Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition this past fall and were runners-up.

Tickets are FREE, but space is limited. WYSO advises getting there early for this event.

This recital will feature the following performers: Isabelle Krier – Violin; Sarah Moniak – Flute; Nikhil Trivedi – Clarinet; Thea Valmadrid – Violin; Aurora Greane – Violin; Jessica Liu – Violin; Roy Weng – Violin; and Antonia Rohlfing – Piano.

Sorry, but no word on the program.

WYSO clarinet

By Jacob Stockinger

The birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (below, circa 1780 in a detail from a portrait by Johann Nepomuk della Croce) is coming up.

Mozart c 1780 detail of portrait by Johann Nepomuk della Croce

The most famous of the Classical-era composers was born on Jan. 27, 1756, and died on Dec. 5, 1791, just shy of his 36th birthday.

Even in his own time, there were many myths about Mozart, about his life and his work and his death.

Our own times have added others.

Here are 10 of those Mozart Myths.

The Ear finds the myths interesting, both entertaining and enlightening.

What ones did you buy into?

I myself believed the one about his copying of Allegri’s famous “Miserere” after one hearing and also the so-called “Mozart Effect” that increases intelligence.

And what is your favorite Mozart work? There are so many to choose from.

Leave word in the Comments section.

My own Mozart Favorites change over time.

Right now, I favor the Piano Concerto: No. 27 in B-Flat Major, K. 595. You can hear it in a YouTube video at the bottom. It features a performance by Mitsuko Uchida and conductor Jeffrey Tate with the English Chamber Orchestra.

Did anyone ever use simple scales and arpeggios more beautifully than Mozart?

But ask me next week, and I will probably have a different choice.



  1. No.7 (The Musical Dice Game) is still up in the air. There was such a game published with Mozart’s name attached (and cataloged as K.516f, or K.Anh.294d), but we have no firm establishment of authenticity. The NMA volume that will have K.516f is still forthcoming.

    As for my Mozart favorites: The Violin/Viola duets K.423 and 424 (the Andante cantabile from the second is sublime), The Musical Joke (nothing tells more about 18th century composition and Mozart’s place in it than this unusual work), the Sinfonia concertante K.364, the Piano Quartet in G minor, and the Violin Sonata K.304. And many others.

    Comment by Steve Kurr — January 18, 2015 @ 9:16 am

  2. i hate it when people promise to shatter myths, and the myths are things i never heard of. as in this case.
    as for a favorite– The Marriage of Figaro. but how can one leave out the Requiem. ( if he finished it or not. is that a myth?)
    have to include the Clarinet Quintet, the four Horn Concertos, the 40th Symphony, the 20th piano Concerto—- how could we live without Mozart?

    Comment by elaine smith — January 17, 2015 @ 9:44 am

  3. Of course listening to Mozart increases your intelligence (No. 9). No myth at all.
    Nor is the study that showed people who listened to Fox News were actually less informed than people who listened to no news at all.

    Comment by bbead — January 16, 2015 @ 3:31 pm

  4. The myth of the Miserere is true.
    Only he needed two hearings.

    Piano Concerto nº 27 is my favourite too.

    Mozart’s masterpiece will always be *Figaro*.

    Comment by ricardomenacuevas — January 16, 2015 @ 8:35 am

  5. Jacob, my favorite Mozart composition is the A Major Piano Concerto, K. 488. Pretty much all of his colossal number of musical works are terrific, but IMHO, this concerto is the epitome of Classical music at its best. But I can’t stop without saying that I think his Requiem is also THE best of its kind as well.

    Larry Retzack

    Comment by buppanasu — January 16, 2015 @ 12:24 am

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