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Classical 101

Mozart Minute Podcast: Mozart Is Bored

1790 was a lean year for Mozart.  After finishing Così fan tutte in January, Mozart spent the rest of the year seeking court patronage and fulfilling commissions for smaller works, including the Adagio and Allegro for mechanical organ.  In a letter from October 1790, Mozart tells his wife that composing this piece was scarcely more than drudgery.  Here’s Emily Anderson’s translation of Mozart’s words from The Letters of Mozart and His Family: "I have now made up my mind to compose at once the Adagio for the clockmaker, and then to slip a few ducats into the hand of my dear little wife. And this I have done; but as it is a kind of composition which I detest, I have unfortunately not been able to finish it. I compose a bit of it every day, but I have to break it off now and then, as I get bored." "And indeed, I would give the whole thing up if I had not such an important reason to go on with it. But I still hope that I shall be able to force myself gradually to finish it. If it were for a large instrument, and the work would sound like an organ piece, then I might get some fun out of it.  But as it is, the works consist solely of little pipes, which sound too high pitched and too childish for my taste."