The legacy of J.S. Bach plays an important role in the evolution of music of different epochs, including contemporary culture. Hence, the general topic that is under analysis of this paper is the influence of J.S. Bach’s creative heritage on the development of the world music art. Therefore, the article “Bach, Mozart, and the ‘Musical Midwife’” by Michelle Rasmussen, a researcher specializing in chorus theory, is of particular interest as it identifies the degree to which Bach’s works were reconsidered by Mozart with the purpose of improving the musical practice. Although the author provides the detailed description of Mozart’s interpretation of Bach’s theory in his music works, the article is characterized by the lack of clear conclusion corresponded to the aim of the paper and ambiguity of some sources used in the process of the research that undermines the creditability of the material.
In general, the article provides the audience with the detailed description of the way in which Mozart transcribed Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. As Mozart used to attend Baron Van Suiten’s salon with its morning performances, most material that is used in the paper is based on the observations of those who witnessed his performances there. That is why salon was Mozart’s main setting for creating the masterpieces. It depicts the details of revolutionary changes made by Mozart in the process of transcription of Bach’s works, particularly the adaptation of some pieces to the string instruments peculiarities. The author also provides some information regarding the analysis of the real authorship of Mozart according certain works. In terms of explaining the significance of Mozart’s work, the author gives the detailed description of Bach’s revolutionary work Well-Tempered Clavier that was a kind of necessity of its time, particularly producing the music with the multi-voiced clavier instruments. He also outlines the way Bach became Mozart’s teacher leaving his significant method of four-voice fugues and revealing the polyphony that he tended to notice from the first signs of the theme. Then author pictures Mozart-Hyden dialogue accompanied by the kind of competition in writing the string quartet works that resulted in the appearance of the revolutionary music with quartet-centered strings. Telling about Mozart’s fugal writing the author reveals the fact that the series of his works were unfinished, and provides the list of works that were strongly influenced by Bach’s method. Besides, the peculiarities of Mozart’s method of composition are represented. In the last part of the article, the author emphasizes the significance of Baron Von Suiten’s figure regarding the development of the talents of the most outstanding musical figures of his time e.g. Mozart, Hayden, Beethoven.
Generally, the article is interesting and informative, as it provides the reader with the detailed description of the process of Mozart’s involvement into Bach’s method. Specific vocabulary makes the text convincing enough from the point of view of its topic. In my opinion, the article is of great value for people involved in the process of musical transformation and is necessary for understanding of the peculiarities of Mozart’s musical method as it reveals the basis of his study. Also, the article is of the great value from the point of view of discussing the concept of plagiarism and copying, as it shows that adopting the method’s of someone else’s experience is not the replication but the adaptation of the material in order to improve the craft. It shows the way how the world culture heritage has to be used in order to create new masterpieces.
From the point of view of it persuasiveness, it should be mentioned that the article mostly deals with pathos concept as it appeals to the credibility of direct quotes that suppose to convince the audience and make them believe the information. With the great part of such quotes, the author creates the authenticity of the text, as they are the real words of witnesses or competent researchers. It helps to percept the story from the point of view of Mozart or study different issues provided by several scholars.
Author’s competence in the field of music is inarguable. He provides deep and detailed analysis of Bach’s method explaining the significance of the work by giving the information about musical preconditions in terms of which Bach’s method is considered to be the “bridge” to the new musical era. Also, all ambiguous terms are explained which makes the text understandable even for the readers who are only slightly involved into the musical theory. That is why text is universal both for those who are deeply or superficially concerned with the study of music.
In some parts of the article the author makes the assumptions about the authorship of Mozart regarding some works. However, these assumptions that provide dubiety of the issue are quite justified by saying that some preludes are not maintained by Mozart’s manuscripts. They give the reader the potential topic for the further research. Besides, the author discusses the nature of some changes in fugues Mozart provided while transcription: whether they are mistakes or the necessary changes required by the peculiarities of his vision. Here, we can see that author tries to justify Mozart’s musical inaccuracy by his talent, appealing to persuasive techniques of ethos (i.e. audience respectful attitude to Mozart) and pathos (creditability of Mozart’s personality).
Nevertheless, the main issue concerning the article that has to be analyzed is the role of Baron’s personality in the context of the whole research. The aim that is stated in the beginning implies the examination of the degree of Bach’s influence on the works of Mozart. There is no doubt that Baron played an important role in the process of Mozart’s becoming a talented musician providing him with the necessary materials and the possibility to improve his craft on the example of the outstanding works. The description of Baron’s role in lives of is necessary in respect to his figure as he was the one who gave the opportunity for contemporary researchers to examine the Bach’s influence on Mozart.