“我寫音樂好像豬撒尿一樣”，沃爾夫岡·阿馬迪烏斯·莫扎特（Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791）在自詡作曲極快時說。這位被譽為最完美的作曲家，在35歲時便英年早逝。但是，在他短短的一生裡，他竟然創作了600多首重要作品！為人類留下了彌足珍貴的音樂瑰寶。
我們所知道的許多關於莫扎特的生活都是推測。我們被告知，他很粗魯，傲慢和感情脆弱。連他的死也籠罩着着撲簌迷離的疑雲。他是被投毒而死？還是他終生的對手薩里耶利（Salieri），摧毀了他精神上的健康，而令他死亡？我們永遠不得而知。我們所知道的只是他生命的昇華 - 音樂。他的音樂是高尚的，但是，據他的妻子康斯坦斯（Constanza），曾經在她所有的傳記中提到，莫扎特的口味可能有一點點的低級趣味。她顯然忽略了在當時那個年代的歐洲，對於一個剛剛冒出頭的音樂家，而不得不迎合社會，以得到他們的青睞，這個嚴酷的現實。
那麼，從他600多部作品裡，我們從哪裡開始說起呢？他的鋼琴曲是無與倫比的。從他早期曲目的那兩顆小小寶石般的奏鳴曲，到後來兩個了不起的小調協奏曲 – 作品第21，D小調 K466，和第24，C小調K491，美好得簡直無法用語言來形容。
然而，那些最神奇的篇章！這可在酒吧裡或其它這樣的場合聽不到。G小調，這個在莫扎特的作品中常常出現的調式，也是非常值得我們研究的。他早期的交響曲，如也是這個調式的作品第25，K183 。他的弦樂五重奏K516也選用了G小調，這也是在莫扎特所有作品中，我最喜愛的一首。如果你初聽古典音樂，我建議你買這個版本的錄音：傳奇的“格里勒”弦樂四重奏（Griller String Quartet），威廉姆斯·普林羅斯(Willianm Primrose)在這首曲子中擔任第二小提琴手。我很幸運的和第一小提琴手希尼·格里勒（Sidney Griller）一起演奏過這個傑作，他注重每一個微小細節的處理，對我產生了莫大的影響。
“I write music as a pig pees”, boasted Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. And it is lucky for us that he did, for this most perfect of composers died far too young at a mere 35 years of age. Somehow, during his short life he managed to leave us over 600 major works.
Mozart’s early life was spent ‘on the road’ as a child prodigy pianist and violinist. Before young Wolfgang’s feet could even touch the piano’s pedals he was being whored around Europe’s aristocracy by his father Leopold to try and make the family some cash. Often ill, usually exhausted, it seemed that Wolfgang might not even survive his teenage years.
If – as I do – you believe in divine inspiration, then Mozart, at his finest, could easily be its most convincing recipient. There were times, he claimed, that he had no idea why he was composing what he did. He just seemed to know what to put down on the manuscript paper. He could compose incredibly quickly at a time when every single thing had to be written by hand - including the staves and the bar lines.
Much of what we know about Mozart’s life is speculation. We are told he was rude, arrogant and emotionally backward. Even his death is surrounded in mystery. Was he poisoned? Did his lifelong rival, Salieri, ‘psyche’ him to death? We will never know. What we do know is that - at its best – his music was sublime. His taste, however, could be questionable. His wife Constanza was – by all accounts – a ‘bit of a prostitute’ and she certainly performed no social favours for the budding composer in the class-conscious Europe of his day.
So where to start amongst the 600-odd compositions? His piano music is well-nigh unbeatable. Even the early sonatas are little jewels of the repertoire and when it comes to those two marvellous minor key concertos – No 21, K466 in D minor and No 24, K491 in C minor – no words can describe. Then there are the concertos for Flute and Harp, K299 and Clarinet, K 622 – the operas: Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and Cosi Fan Tutti – to name but three – and, of course, the wonderful symphonies: all forty-one of them. There can be very few people who are unfamiliar with the opening bars of Symphony no 40 in G minor, K 55- - they’re on alarm clocks and mobile ring tones. And what a miraculous piece! Not a bar or note is out of place. G minor was a key that always seemed to bring out the best in Mozart – and the earlier symphony in that key – No 25, K183 – is also well worth investigating. G minor is also the key Mozart chose for his String Quintet, K 516 – probably my favourite Mozart work of all. If there is one piece of classical music you are unfamiliar with that I would urge you to buy a recording of it is this – preferably in the legendary version by the Griller String Quartet with William Primrose as second Violist. I was lucky enough to study this masterpiece with the quartet’s first violinist – Sidney Griller – and his attention to the smallest detail made a lasting impact on me.
So, as we celebrate one of music’s greatest geniuses, let’s recall Rossini’s words. When asked “Who is the greatest composer?” he replied, “Beethoven”. “But what about Mozart?” persisted his interviewer. “Mozart is not the greatest” said Rossini. “He is the only composer”.