Eighteenth Century Music

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Essays

THE NON-CANONIC STATUS OF MOZART’S CANONS 1


NEAL  ZASLAW 

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Mozart's canons are rather inadequately represented in the Köchel catalogue and the Neue Mozart Ausgabe. The same may be said about other music for his immediate circle of friends, colleagues and patrons, as well as his dance music and his contributions to pasticcios. Neglect of these ‘minor’ genres perhaps arises at least in part from anachronistic paradigms, for instance ‘masterpieces for posterity’. And the canons suffer additionally from the peculiar nature of their sources and transmission, from uncertainty about the position of canons in the ‘canon’ of Western art music and probably also from embarrassment over some of Mozart’s texts. Mozart’s canons have been studied not only less often than his operatic, church, chamber and orchestral music, but also less well.

(Published Online May 23 2006)



Footnotes

1 This is a revised version of a talk delivered at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society, Boston, November 1999.