Recorded on 09/02/2009, uploaded on 11/24/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Despite being commissioned as a work for mechanical organ,
Mozart's Fantasia in f minor is a remarkable piece of music in its own
right. The instrument it was written for, likely a barrel organ, stored music
on a barrel using metal pins for short notes and staples of varying lengths for
long notes. Thus, encoding a composition was sometimes an arduous task and
Mozart's Fantasia was probably especially so.
The piece opens with a militant dotted rhythm punctuated by
full chords, later giving way to flourishing runs that culminate in a half
cadence. This brief opening section becomes a recurring element throughout the
piece dividing each of the main sections. The first main section is a fughetta
on a four-measure subject. The subject is given a full exposition followed by a
brief episode and quite extensive development. Within the development, the
subject is combined with its inversion as well as itself in diminution. The
closing bars of the first fugue modulate into the distant key of F-sharp minor
bringing about a return of the introduction. Beginning as before, it soon
develops into an antiphonal passage between the treble and bass voices.
Returning to the tonic key and closing once again on a half cadence, the opening
section is this time followed by a pastoral Andante in A-flat major.
Another statement of the introduction announces the arrival
of the second fugal section. This fughetta is essentially built on the first.
Here, the subject of the first fugue is heard accompanied by a florid second
subject making the fugue double. Following the exposition, two impressive
strettos are heard—the first combines the first subject with its inversion
(both also in diminution), while the second utilizes the original form. Following the final stretto, full-voiced
chords and sixteenth-note flourishes bring about a dramatic close.
Mozart's Fantasia of 1791 was originally conceived as a
piece for a mechanical music instrument. Through the 1799 arrangement for piano
four hands, this work epitomized late Mozartean style and became a model for
other composers. Upon preparing an orchestral arrangement of this piece,
Mozart's pupil Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried described the tremendous effect this
work has on listeners:
"Mozart's Fantasia deserves to be accorded one of the first
places among the masterpieces of the immortals. Thousands of different emotions
are aroused. The two fugue subjects set in conflict to one another give a true
portrayal of the struggle between the human passions. Only upon reaching the
final goal do we sense peace. The conclusion points the way to the next world!" Gregory
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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