Mozart and Clementi: A Pianistic Duel, Part 2

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

(Wikimedia Commons/Wikimedia Commons)

David Dubal continues the tale of Mozart and Clementi's famous duel and plays music from the legendary piano competition.

When we last left our two heroes, they had just encountered each other at the Austrian Court of Emperor Joseph II in 1781. Mozart was 25 and Clementi was 29. The Emperor had invited Clementi to play at court and it was there that the two composers finally met.

Both musicians were dressed elegantly, though Mozart was rather bejeweled and carried a sword. The Emperor gave Clementi an Italian song to improvise on and Clementi executed it impressively. Meanwhile, the emperor became impatient waiting for Mozart to show his skills.

The two would soon entertain the magnificent court of the Austrian empire in a blistering competition. It was a tense battle and Mozart was in for the match of his life. Worse, his Viennese prestige was at stake.

For the duel, each artist had to develop a theme and improvise on it, as well as exhibit their own pianistic talents. Clementi astonished everyone with a sonata, full of octaves and thirds, played with unprecedented force– his specialty. Mozart was peeved, but showed himself well in fugue playing.

After the competition, Mozart, upset by Clementi’s magnitude and talent, denounced him badly and often. Clementi, however, spoke highly of Mozart and praised his singing touch, his beautiful plasticity, and exquisite taste.


Muzio Clementi: Sonata in C Major Opus 34 No.1 – Finale / Emil Gilels

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 5 K175 – Finale / Vladimir Ashkenazy; Philharmonia Orchestra

Muzio Clementi: Piano Sonata Opus 37 No.2 - Rondo / Vladimir Horowitz

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Sonata in A minor – Presto / Dino Lipatti

Muzio Clementi: Piano Sonata in Bb Opus 12 No.1 - Finale / Arturo Benedetti Michalangeli

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto in A major K488 – Adagio / Walter Gieseking; Herbert Karajan; Philharmonia Orchestra

Muzio Clementi: Piano Sonata in F# minor – First movement / Vladimir Horowitz

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Sonata in C Major K545 – First movement / Maria Joao Pires

Muzio Clementi: Country Dance Opus 49 No. 2 / Pietro Spada

Muzio Clementi: Piano sonata in F# minor Opus 26 – Finale / Vladimir Horowitz

Comments [5]

Silversalty from Brooklyn

I didn't have much trouble getting the audio. It was only a matter of a few guesses on the file name based on prior usage. The included date with a trailing "1" isn't exactly logically consistent, but not that far off. Four guesses to get it.

But I'm fairly certain that the "listeners" that clicked on the audio box delta generating the "Most Listened" status (through the podtrac counter) were not pleased with the result they got.

The other aspect is that these problems happen regularly with Mr. Dubal's work but not (that I've noticed) with any other web audio at WQXR.


Re: Part 2

Ironically this duel portrays Mozart as opposite of his character in the "Amadeus" film of years ago. The stuffy one claiming "too many notes" was Mozart. His rival was the talented gentleman.

Sep. 17 2013 09:57 PM

@Silversalty - the audio file has been fixed. Our apologies for the difficulty you experienced.

Sep. 17 2013 11:57 AM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

Once again the "Most Listened" broadcast on WQXR's web site is the 'Sound of Silence' of a David Dubal program. It no longer appears to be a problem of incompetence but more likely some sort of insider rivalry.

For fans of Mr. Dubal and quality music programming I'd suggest going to WWFM's web page where Mr. Dubal's "Piano Matters" is available for download - now at 330kbs-mp3, the best quality available for mp3 conversion.

No 54kbs monaural or blank emptiness where musical enjoyment should be. Ugh.

I could post the full link for the WQXR broadcast but that doesn't seem to be WQXR's policy. I suggest you contact WQXR for that link or competent people dedicated to the excellence of music production and broadcasting.

Sep. 17 2013 05:42 AM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

The file name that the audio box uses is wrong. That's why there's no audio.

Instead of ..


It should be ..


Sep. 13 2013 06:00 PM
Marko Wallace from NYC

Mr. Dubal, your programs continue to amaze me. Rich in technical, cultural, and historical details, and wonderful selections from the recorded works of the foremost, gifted experts, I thank you - and WQXR - for these broadcasts, from the depth of my heart. [and I especially like the Horowitz recordings!] -M

Sep. 13 2013 08:10 AM

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