Mozart's Viennese Instrumental Music

Mozart's Viennese Instrumental Music

A Study of Stylistic Re-Invention

Simon P. Keefe


Boydell Press



The music Mozart composed in Vienna closely examined, bringing out the processes of re-invention and re-formulation it displays.
The stylistic evolution of Mozart's Viennese instrumental repertory as a whole (1781-1791), closely tied to historical and contextual lines of enquiry, has yet to receive systematic attention. This book fills the gap through a study of stylistic re-invention, a practically- and empirically-based theory that explains how innovative, putatively inspired ideas take shape in Mozart's works and lead to stylistic re-formulation. Re-invention comprises a two-stage process: Mozart manipulates pre-existent stylistic features of his music to climactic effect, in so doing introducing a demonstrably 'new' stylistic dimension with broad aesthetic resonance; he subsequently re-appraises his style in response to the dimension in question. From close examination of a variety of Mozart's works (piano concertos, string quartets and symphonies in particular), supported by study of Mozart's other chamber and dramatic works, the author shows that stylistic re-invention is a consistent and coherent manifestation of stylistic development. Ultimately re-invention puts centre stage the interaction of intellectual and imaginative elements of Mozart's musical personality, accounting both for processes of reflection and re-appraisal and for striking conceptual leaps.
SIMON P. KEEFE is James Rossiter Hoyle Chair of Music, University of Sheffield.


August 2007
230 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843833192
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

`An Entirely Special Manner': Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat, K. 449 and the Stylistic Implications of Confrontation
On the Grand, Brilliant and Intimate: Mozart's Piano Concertos, K. 450-K. 503 (1784-86)
A Complementary Pair: Stylistic Experimentation in Mozart's Piano Concertos, No. 26 in D, K. 537 (the "Coronation") and No. 27 in Bb, K. 595
An Integrated `Dissonance': Mozart's `Haydn' Quartets and the Slow Introduction of K. 465
Mozart's `Prussian' Quartets, K. 575, 589 and 590: Towards a New Aesthetic of the String Quartet
The `Jupiter' Symphony in C, K. 551: The Dramatic Finale and its Stylistic Significance in Mozart's Orchestral Oeuvre
Mozart's Stylistic Re-Invention in Musical Context


(A) splendid new study. (...) Anyone wanting to understand Mozart's mature instrumental music differently could do a lot worse that to let this rewarding and thought-provoking book be one's guide. EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY MUSIC
There is much to admire and much to think about in Keefe's densely argued chapters, with their thorough examination of thematic, harmonic, textural and formal elements...(Keefe has) insisted that scholars need to think about stylistic change in Mozart's music, and offered a promising way of doing just that. JAMS
Keefe provides here a valuable and musically insightful account of this composer's music that should offer the reader a new way into this much loved music, and argues convincingly for the revised critical standing of several later works. AD PARNASSUM
A welcome biographical reappraisal of Mozart that portrays the perspiration as well as the inspiration behind Mozart's genius. NOTES
Keefe has written a rewarding (and) challenging study. His theory about stylistic re-invention is carefully and densely argued, and the many detailed stylistic connections he makes between works both within a genre and across genres provide ample opportunity for future scholars to evaluate the persuasiveness of his claims...(he has) insisted that scholars need to think about stylistic change in Mozart's music, and offered a promising way of doing just that. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY
It is clear, however, that future studies of Mozart's stylistic development, from whatever angle they are undertaken, and evaluations of the significance of his mature instrumental works, will have to grapple with Keefe as he has grappled with his many predecessors. MUSIC & LETTERS

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