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Lunchtime concert introduces Mozart as a human and a genius

(Report by student journalist) To commemorate Mozart’s 230th death anniversary next year, Assistant Professor Yu-Wen Chen of the Department of Music at National Sun Yat-sen University organized “The Sorrows of Young Mozart”, a lunchtime concert performed by six students of the Department of Music: each student narrated a story from Mozart’s life followed by a performance of his early Sonatas for Piano and Violin. The pre-designed topics included Mozart’s interpersonal relationship with his father and other musicians, Mozart’s instruments – piano and violin, Mozart’s traveling and correspondence, and brought the great composer’s personality and his music closer to music lovers.

The concert was an experimental achievement of Violin Major Course of the Department of Music. Six students majoring in violin unrolled the sorrow of Young Mozart to audience from other departments through storytelling. The topics introduced Mozart’s intricate relationship with his father – a strict teacher to a child prodigy and an effective broker to Mozart’s early career, and the normal father-son clash with Mozart’s posterior emancipation in adulthood. Piano was Mozart’s childhood toy and source of tireless enjoyment, and later, just a tool for making a living, when Mozart lost his pure enthusiasm for the instrument. Mozart’s frequent travels for performances and in search for employment became an important source of absorbing various musical styles for compositional inspiration. Letters turned into a necessary tool for contacting friends and family and are now an important material for the reconstruction of Mozart’s biography, reflecting his dissatisfaction with his career and the way of communication with other musicians.

After each story, students started performing a related Mozart’s Sonata for Piano and Violin. Already knowing the personal and compositional background, they could interpret it more in line with Mozart’s concept and feeling. Yu-Tang Chien, fourth-year student of the Department of Music majoring in violin, said that doing research before interpreting a piece is a somehow rigid way to prepare a performance, but making biography the starting point of a performance shifts the focus from the performance itself to the human behind the music, his background and times, and enriches the performance with real emotions.

Assistant Professor Yu-Wen Chen of the Department of Music said that she chose to make Mozart the subject of the concert properly because many people are familiar with his style as they came into contact with Mozart’s music during their studies or outside, as it is often broadcast as background music in cafes. As for the music performance, she hoped that the students would benefit from preparing for the performance: learn about Mozart’s biography, practice public speaking and narrating stories in an easy and interesting way, and establish the habit of searching for composer’s personal and compositional motivation to perform the piece in line with the composer’s concept and feeling instead of making it one’s own interpretation. Assistant Professor Chen hoped to receive feedback on this event to attract audience for future events in different forms and let them enjoy the artistry of music.

(Edited by Public Affairs Division)
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