The past ain’t what is used to be. Norman Lebrecht, a fuddy-duddy if there ever was one, writes:
The key test of any composer’s importance is the extent to which he reshaped the art. Mozart, it is safe to say, failed to take music one step forward. Unlike Bach and Handel who inherited a dying legacy and vitalised it beyond recognition, unlike Haydn who invented the sonata form without which music would never have acquired its classical dimension, Mozart merely filled the space between staves with chords that he knew would gratify a pampered audience. He was a provider of easy listening, a progenitor of Muzak.
Lebrecht, well-known for his argument that classical music is dead, perhaps never thought it was alive in the first place. Here is one good response. I’ll offer more on the importance of Mozart next week; you’ll get Mozart blogging (but not just) up through his 250th birthday on the 27th [corrected from before]. I urge other bloggers to devote at least one post next week to Mozart; surely he has played some role in your life.