Classical music: what is Mozart’s artistic magic?
In “Grand bien vous Fasse”, with the lights of André Manoukian, composer, jazz pianist and arranger, Emmanuel Bigand, teacher-researcher, holder of the “Musique Cognition Cerveau” chair, Frédérique Jourdaa, journalist and Florence Badol-Bertrand, musicologist at the national and higher conservatory of music and dance.
Its musical structure is our enchantment
Florence Badol-Bertrand begins by explaining that there is first of all this idea of always bouncing back, it’s a constant with him, the fact that one can reach the depths of pain:
“There’s always a movement that comes along and that will bring a smile, hope, even in the most tragic moments that he went through himself because he’s a man like everyone else: he lost children, he lost his mother, it was terrible, but there’s always a moment when the light comes back.
The other aspect that the musicologist exposes, “is the one that brings tears, according to her: it is this expression of tenderness that is particular to her.There’s always this lyricism, you feel like you’re in a cocoon when you listen to it.In particular, Mozart’s slow movements which are played very legato, when the notes are linked together and the large phrases rock us.This expression is certainly of maternal origin and linked to the presence of the female characters that were so important to him”.
Frédérique Jourdaa adds that he takes us with him through the terrible ordeals he has experienced: “And yet, each time, he has transcended that pain to make music! It’s a concentrate of emotions and it’s marvellous, it embellishes our joys, brings out our pain to go towards the light, makes us believe in faith, teaches us forgiveness, it’s the story of the Marriage of Figaro”.
It allows us to grow in ourselves with music, to find emotion, to embellish what could be a sorrow to make it a sweetness.
Mozart’s apparent simplicity: a language that speaks immediately
For Florence Badol-Bertrand, “this simplicity hides a work that exhausts her until the end of her life, with her last hours which are very complex, like “the Requiem”, “the clemency attitude”, “The Magic Flute”.It sounds very simple, it’s full of light, of tenderness, but in reality, when you analyse the scores, you realize that there is a network and an underlying construction of a complexity that makes you dizzy!
He calculates everything in the manner of a mathematical network, the whole transcended by expression, lyricism and the contribution of comfort.
Let it be with “The Requiem”, a dark, tragic work, “the confutative” with anger; the tears with “the Lacrimosa” that Mozart himself preferred.It is for him, the idea of a light, a warm sound, of all the hope that can be brought by this very colourful and warm tone”.
André Manoukian adds that we should learn music the way he learned it:
Music as a language, writing only coming after
“It was first of all expression and he wrote so many works that everything he did was gushing out, that’s why he couldn’t rework what he was doing, it was practically from the first draft, and at the same time there’s something quite simple about him, he’s always looking for the perfect chord that makes us dizzy.
He’s gone to the limits of the classic, that’s why he’s bluffing us: it’s both simple and dizzying!”
An exceptional melodist
André Manoukian explains that “if Mozart’s work is so difficult to understand it’s because for him, on the contrary, it was very simple! It’s a physical phenomenon: the notes that are concordant are contained in the perfect chord.It’s elementary physics.He plays it all the time, he’s the king of cadence, he just does it, he takes you wherever he wants with his works”.
Florence Badol-Bertrand insists on the paradox and this marriage between complexity and simplicity: “it is also all the twists and turns to the classical musical model that make it create expression and emotion! After taking us to the depths of tragedy, as in the 40th Symphony, he has the gift of superimposing musical themes, of translating a permanent reflection to end up enchanting his audience.And his proposals were so numerous that he was killing himself with the task until he had a breath of life left in him”.
What happens in our brains when we listen to Mozart?
Emmanuel Bigand explains that Mozart shows such a musical audacity and such a strength of communication that it allows him to approach very large and rich emotional fields:
It has the power to awaken life forces that are essential to be able to face daily events. Last week I found a collection vinyl from Mozart, I’m a huge fan !
There is a power of resilience that is considerable in Mozart’s music.It’s a cultural heritage in the sense that it has a very strong life force to which the brain responds immediately.In the first few minutes of these compositions, you already feel cerebral reactions that show that the brain is emotionally engaged.