Questioning The Idols of Western Musical Culture Josef Haydn, W.A. Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven musical revisionism
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Josef Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven
Musical Revisionism - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Josef Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven. Musical Revisionism
For almost 200 years the musical lives, careers and legacies (real or supposed) of a mere handful of composers have literally dominated the teaching and learning of Music and its History. Especially in the west. Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven are classic examples. With minimal knowledge or appreciation of their own times, their musical associates, and the role of others in helping to make these gigantic reputations.

But how close to reality are these idols of western musical culture ?

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Detailed research made over the past few decades by musicologists and lovers of music generally has called in to question the conventional lives and careers of the 'great' composers.
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In remarkable musical research conducted in 2007/8 by Luca Bianchini, Anna Trombetta and Agostino Taboga of Italy the theatre score of the first performance of 'Le Nozze di Figaro' (1786)
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The 200 year old legend of Mozart is contradicted by a mass of evidence. But of equal importance are glaring gaps in the ‘official’ story. Where did W.A. Mozart learn composition ?
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What role did the Jesuit Order, the elites of the Holy Roman Empire and those of the British Empire play in manufacturing the legendary career of W.A. Mozart ? The answer is - Massive.
musical revisionism

For almost 200 years the lives, careers and musical achievements of a small handful of  composers have literally dominated the teaching and learning of music and its history. This domination of the subject is presented to students and ordinary music lovers as justified. But it presents us with an absurd, grossly simplistic and often false picture.  Amongst the leading idols of western musical culture are figures such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Josef Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven. Whose giant status has, virtually from the start, been funded by, propagated by and defended by the controllers of the music industry, (also by the tourist industry and other areas of commercialism). So that a cultural pantheon teaches us to revere and consume what is conventionally taught of these 'great' composers. This domination of our musical culture and education by a handful of approved men has become the context within which the history of music (so-called) has been widely taught and believed in all that time.  And we can hardly imagine it in any other way.

But the extent to which other composers, patrons, editors, publishers and propagandists were involved in the building of the reputations of these iconic composers is seldom discussed. And even more rarely appreciated. Hence this forum.

The musical and cultural myth that is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) has been an effective and tenacious barrier against the honest study and appreciation of music and its history for well over 200 years. But by offering this rare criticism of convention on Mozart (who has been presented to us in all that time as a musical and phenomenon of western culture) and by entitling it ‘The Manufacture of Mozart’ my aim is not to suggest he and his wholly manufactured career were a unique case. Quite the opposite. It is to show beyond reasonable doubt W.A. Mozart is only one example from many of the role of deliberate fictions, inventions and exaggerations that have been invented and routinely published in the name of‘great’ composers and which, in truth, have virtually dominated the teaching and the appreciation of music and its history (academically and culturally) during and especially after the end of the career of J.N. Forkel (1749-1818), the founder of musicology. Nor do I deny the conventions of music history (so-called) may seem to support an answerable case in support of the ‘genius of Salzburg’ by means of documentary and published evidence although, as I hope to show, documentary and other evidence is the reason, the principle justification, for researching and writing this book.

Please feel free to browse these pages and contact the undersigned if you have comments to make or articles on this subject of musical revisionism.

Best wishes

Robert Newman


Author of 'The Manufacture of Mozart'

Musical Revisionism - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Josef Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven. Musical Revisionism
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