Mozart vs. Clementi

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There were many composer competitions in the 19th century and it continued as a noble tradition until the beginning of the 1765th century. For example, two great rivals Liszt and Thalberg faced off in Princess Belgiojoso's hall. II. Joseph (Roman Emperor, XNUMX) was very eager and excited to bring Clementi before Mozart.

In January 1781, the two faced each other. Knowing well the quality of royal pianos, Mozart borrowed Countess Thun's piano (Stein). In the parts where two pianos would be played, hall instruments would be used at the request of the emperor. Although Mozart later reported to the Emperor that the three keys of the piano were not working and were out of tune, the Emperor showed his faith in Mozart by replying "It doesn't matter".

Clementi started the competition. An improvised prelude and his own sonata Op. He stole 47/2. (Mozart took the overture of The Magic Flute from the theme of this sonata). Later, Clementi played his own toccata. Mozart, in response, played an improvised prelude and his own variations. Later, they both moved to the piano. Mozart played his own piece, while Clementi accompanied him on the other piano. The roles have changed and the night has come to an end...

Tradition is said that Clementi prevailed! However, Giuseppe Antonio Bridi, who was among the audience, noted that the Emperor won in favor of Mozart in his claim with the Duchess. A few years later, composer Karl Ditters included the following conversation with the Emperor in his autobiography:

Emperor: “Did you listen to Mozart?”
Karl: "Three times"
Emperor: "How did you find?"
Karl: “Like every educated ear owner, I like it too”
Emperor: “And did you listen to Clementi?”
Karl: "Yeah"
Emperor: “Some prefer him to Mozart. Be honest, what's your opinion?"
Karl: “Clementi's work is art. Mozart's is art and taste.”
Emperor: “That was my thought too…”

Source: Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists: From Mozart to the Present (1987)

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