Thursday, February 5, 2009

Great Composers, Lousy Reviews

"In the history of music, the glorious and benevolent Kaiser Joseph II is known for one transcendently stupid line. After the Vienna premiere of the comic opera The Abduction From the Seraglio, Joseph observed to its composer: "Too many notes, my dear Mozart!" With that, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire became an enduring symbol of philistine reaction to genius. Mozart's comeback was not as snappy: "Only as many notes as necessary, Your Majesty." In the coming years, he would hear more of the same from the press: "impenetrable labyrinths," "bizarre flights of the soul," "overloaded and overstuffed." The guy has too much imagination, connoisseurs agreed; he doesn't know when to turn it off. In other words: too many notes."

For the full article, please see Slate.

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