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The Master Musicians: Mozart$
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Julian Rushton

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182644

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182644.001.0001

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The Last Works

The Last Works

(p.216) Chapter 18 The Last Works
The Master Musicians: Mozart

Julian Rushton

Oxford University Press

Mozart's last works are not the fruit of great age, but great experience nevertheless. It is possible to detect a “late style” characterized, as with Beethoven, by a new directness, and unlike Beethoven, by an exceptional surface smoothness coupled, in some works, with greater thematic economy. But such evidence should be considered alongside his memory of his father's advice about being sure to please his public, as he unquestionably did with Die Zauberflöte. The “Prussian” quartets and the clarinet quintet derive their lucidity of texture from his handling of instrumentation and, in certain passages, his way of threading ideas together so that, if he does change key, it hardly seems to matter. This style was already taking shape in Don Giovanni, for instance in Zerlina's second aria, “Vedrai, carino”, and prevails in Die Zauberflöte and La clemenza di Tito.

Keywords:   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composition, Beethoven, Die Zauberflöte

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