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Playlist: Mozart's Birthday Picks

Compiled By: Listener Directed Productions, Inc.


Celebrate Mozart’s 254th birthday (Jan. 27th) with these programs. Other Mozart programming is available by searching "Mozart."

K is for Koechel: The Story Behind Those Mozart Numbers

From Georgia Public Broadcasting | 58:35

Looking for a way to answer one of the most asked question in classical music, while listening to and enjoying some of the best music ever written?
"K is for Koechel: The Story Behind Those Mozart Numbers" goes beyond the numbers and provides a ton of provocative background information and insight into Mozart and his compositional process. Myths and Mozart myth-makers are busted, and the often used Mozart descriptor "genius" is properly defined and put into perspective. (He's still a genius, by the way.)
Beyond the insight, history and well researched speculation, the program insightfully recognizes what "makes it all matter: Mozart's music." And your host/producer Sarah Zaslaw, joined by her father (and Mozart scholar) Professor Neal Zaslaw, wisely and cleverly keeps everything from crossing over into the dark side of the classical music education vortex. Zaslaw's bit at the beginning on how to pronounce and spell Koechel is one of several high points.
Not just for Classical: For all stations dedicated to and embracing the "lifelong learning" component of Public Radio’s Core Values, "K is for Koechel” is definitely worth considering. (FYI: Professor Zaslaw spent January 09 traveling the European continent in his quest for more Koechel information and insight.)

Koechel_small If you listen to classical radio, eventually you'll hear something like: "Here's a divertimento, number 136 in the Koechel catalog of Mozart's works." Who or what is Koechel? Ludwig Koechel (Ludwig von K?chel) was an amateur musician in 19th century Austria who had a thing for Mozart. He set out to track down what all Mozart wrote and arrange it all by date of composition. Koechel's "catalog," published in 1862, was the first systematic index of any European composer's music. It ran from a tiny childhood harpsichord piece of Mozart's, K. 1, up to the Requiem Mozart was working on at the time of his death, K. 626. Koechel got an impressive amount right - but not everything. He assigned numbers to a few pieces that weren't really by Mozart; he left out a few pieces that really are; and more importantly, not every work was - or could be - dated correctly. In "K is for Koechel," Mozart scholar Neal Zaslaw and his daughter, Sarah Zaslaw of GPB, explore how Koechel got as close as he did and what we know now that Koechel didn't. Along the way, they look at myths of genius, how Mozart really composed, the ways later scholars tinkered with Koechel's chronology, the formula connecting K numbers to Mozart's age, modern forensic Mozart sleuthwork from paper dating to handwriting analysis, and plans for the forthcoming New Kochel Catalog. And beyond the talk, there's plenty of time in the hour for what makes it all matter: Mozart's music.

RN Documentary: A Dutch Divertimento in six movements

From Radio Netherlands Worldwide | Part of the RN Documentaries series | 29:30

A Dutch Divertimento-in-Six-Movements (29:30)
After a slow start, this Radio Netherlands documentary offers a wonderful “first hand telling” or an on location recounting of the Mozart family trip to the Netherlands in 1765.

Here’s an especially compelling and entertaining history and insight into the incredible accomplishments of the 9 and 10 year old Mozart – from the exploitive freak-of-musical- nature show tour his own father produced and promoted to the astounding original and progressive music he wrote at the time.

The documentary traces the handprints Mozart left and the footsteps he took during that 1765 family sojourn – from the famous organ he played in Haarlem to the Court of Princess Caroline where, and for whom, Mozart likely wrote his first aria.

The documentary is bogged down by at times by the earlier mentioned slow start, some one-too-many voices busy-ness and one section dealing more with Leopold (Mozart’s father). A “Dutch Divertimento-in-Six-Movements” overcomes these distractions through use of strong history-story telling from Dutch musicians who know the difference between “Mozart the Myth” and “Mozart the Unbelievable but True.”

11354533_small In 1765 the Mozart family came to stay in the Netherlands. It was the last leg of their ?Great Western Tour? and brought nine year old Wolfgang?s prodigious talent to the attention of the world. The trip was meant to last for just one month. The hand of fate made it a much longer stay.