Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Das Veilchen, song for voice & piano, K. 476

    Description by Rovi Staff

    It is a testament to Mozart's prolific nature that his over 30 songs are a mere "blip" in the catalogue of his works--so minor a component of his output that they are frequently overlooked or ignored. More important than their number, however (after all, Henri Duparc achieved fame on the merit of a mere 16 songs), is the fact that Mozart's songs were composed before the great flowering of Romantic poetry and ideology that would bring Germanic song to its pinnacle in the Nineteenth Century. The remarkable confluence of music and poetry that appeared in the works of Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, and Hugo Wolf made the diminutive lied a vessel for Romantic outpouring and a unique distillation of the Nineteenth Century spirit. However, often overlooked is the extent to which the Romantic lied was indebted to a long standing tradition of Germanic song, and specifically the songs of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven--the authors of the first true masterpieces of the genre.

    Though not extensive, Mozart's song output is extremely various, including songs in German, French and Italian. They illustrate the breadth of his talent for vocal composition, the cosmopolitan nature of his musical influences, and the degree to which his musical choices were shaped by poetry. Of his German songs, "Das Veilchen" (The Violet) is his best known and regarded. "Das Veilchen" is a setting of Wolfgang von Goethe, perhaps the most famous of the Romantic poets, and it shows Mozart attentiveness to text. Subtle changes of inflection, modality, and vocal contour bring out the tragic irony of Goethe's ostensibly simple poem and create a psychological mini-drama, foreshadowing the direction lieder composition would take under the influence of a new generation of poets. Other fine German songs include "Abendempfindung" (Evening Reflections) and "An Chloë" (To Chloe)--both of which illustrate Mozart's ability to highlight the mood of a poem within an overtly lyrical context--and the comical "Warnung" (Warning), which warns parents to "lock away their young maidens".

    Mozart's two Italian songs, not surprisingly, resemble operatic arias in their style and construction. "Ridente la calma" (Tranquility fills my soul) is reminiscent especially of the composer's arias for his opere serie, and "Un moto di gioja" (A surge of joy) was intended to replace Susanna's "Deh vieni, non tardar" from the fourth act of The Marriage of Figaro.

    "Oiseaux, si tous les ans" (Birds, if every year…) and "Dans un bois solitaire" (in a lonely wood), Mozart's two French songs, were written during a stay in Mannheim, and they are remarkable mostly as examples of the composer's adaptability to language. Whether composing in Italian, German, or French, he managed to highlight the flow, stress, and cadence of the particular text without ever sacrificing his individual melodic gift. Although the French songs were very popular when written, they have since become better-known in German translation.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Solo Musica SM 239
    2016 ZYX Music K 110092
    2015 Harmonia Mundi HMU 907611
    2015 Gramola GRAM 99055
    2015 Warner Classics 553028
    2014 Music & Arts MACD 1279
    2014 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 United Classics T2CD 2012123
    2012 BR Klassik 900309
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Auris Subtilis / CAvi-music AVI 7771056
    2012 BR Klassik 900308
    2012 Decca
    2012 Decca B001752902
    2011 Fourmatt Fmatt 518
    2011 Elisabeth Turchi
    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 Hyperion CDH 55371
    2011 La Bottega Discantica DISCANTICA 163
    2011 ZYX CLA 101162
    2011 Documents / Membran 233082
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon / DG Deutsche Grammophon 2894779235
    2010 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099945543
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 Haenssler 94209
    2009 Membran 2232762
    2009 Antes Edition / Zebralution
    2008 DG Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Distribution
    2008 Naxos 8557900-01
    2008 Harmonia Mundi 901979
    2008 Philips 4646602
    2008 Cypres 1650
    2007 Classic Mania 93320
    2007 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4776515
    2007 Warner Music / Warner Strategic Marketing 514426320
    2007 EMI Classics 87894
    2007 Teldec 630123402
    2007 Teldec 0114702
    2006 Danacord 439
    2006 PentaTone Classics 5186134
    2006 Oehms 564
    2006 ZYX Music 1061
    2006 Diamond Recordings 150741
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 53226
    2006 Philips
    2006 Orfeo 709062
    2006 ATMA Classique 22327
    2006 EMI Classics 3556822
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 355685-2
    2006 Philips
    2006 Nimbus 7929/30
    2005 Philips 464 648-2PME
    2005 Nonesuch
    2005 VAI Audio 1247
    2005 Brilliant 99731
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 63702
    2005 Brilliant 92540
    2004 Symposium 1339
    2003 Delta Distribution 40024
    2003 Bayer Records 100341
    2003 Haenssler 93076
    2003 ECM 000019202
    2003 DG Deutsche Grammophon 474738
    2002 Berlin Classics 0017442
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 74803
    2001 Orfeo 509011
    2001 Preiser Records 89537
    2000 Polygram 454475
    2000 Gala Records 100554
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 65860
    2000 Opera 54569
    2000 Berlin Classics 0017052
    2000 Delta Distribution 15876
    2000 Philips 464 880-2PB10
    1999 Testament 2172
    1999 Marston 51009
    1999 Capriccio Records 492696
    1999 Aura Classics 0123
    1998 Preiser Records 89159
    1998 Hyperion 66989
    1997 Koch Schwann 311642
    1997 Symposium 1207
    1997 Bluebell 041
    1997 Preiser Records 89227
    1996 Accord 201662
    1996 Testament 1026
    1996 Berlin Classics 9125
    1995 Bongiovanni 1055
    1995 Orfeo 297921
    1995 DG Deutsche Grammophon 445524
    1995 ZYX Music 4098
    1995 Philips 446 241-2PM
    1995 Philips 446 222-2PB25
    1994 Preiser Records 89997
    1994 Nonesuch 79317
    1994 Orfeo 248921
    1994 EtCetera Records 1035
    1994 Koch International Classics 7248
    1993 IMP Classics 987
    1993 Arabesque 6576
    1993 Dorian 90173
    1992 Bongiovanni 1062
    1992 Teldec 6229463342
    1991 Philips
    1991 Philips 422524
    1990 Delta Distribution 15850
    1990 Laserlight 35870
    1990 Laserlight 15652
    Vocal Archives 1153
    Pearl 9344
    Capriccio Records 492719
    Ermitage 109
    Accord 201452
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 000303202
    Capriccio Records 10900
    Capriccio Records 10905
    Brilliant 92632
    Brilliant 92632/9
    Ars Produktion 368321
    Capriccio Records 10446
    Accento 301
    Deutsche Schallplatten 1038
    Brilliant 99731/8
    Philips 466504
    Adda 581017
    BBC Music Magazine 128
    Novalis 150039
    Well-Tempered Productions 5173
    ZYX Music 11907