portalessays → ocadelcairo.htm   This is a windrose

"La legge dell'oca"
a web-searching rule

a demonstration of the direct relation between "findability" and "celebrity"
(by fravia+, first published at searchlores in March 2008 - work in fieri)



Version 0.07: March 2008

...have to thank you, together with my students, for your refreshing guide to classical music searching (Laura Weingart, 6/03/2008)

Ut queant laxis resonare fibris, Mira gestorum famuli tuorum, Solve polluti labii reatum, Sancte Ioannes

Today's searching session aims to demonstrate the directly proportional relation that exist between a target "celebrity" and its "findability".
While thinking about some possible meaningful examples, I came out with the project of finding a "banal" music piece and a "rare" music piece by a given renowned musical composer. .
Such intention seems indeed good, since for any given musical composer there are indeed "masterpieces" and "minor works". In fact the evolution of taste (or rather, to use a more precise expression, the commercial oriented "taste of the moment") dictates in a given timeframe who are supposed to be the "great composers" (some "great" composers, held in high esteem during the past centuries, are nowadays next to unknown -for instance Lully- while other now "famous" composers - for instance Vivaldi and Mahler- have been rediscovered after long periods of neglect). And the same "taste" force dictates also which among their works are to be considered "masterpieces" and which should be regarded instead as "minor attempts".
This means that for every "known" composer, we will have "celebrity" works that are incredibly easy to find on the web, and less famous, "more obscure", works that -if the "rule" we are checking holds true- should be more hard to find. As a consequence, this searching session could be titled "How to search for classical music" as well.
Our targets today will be works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the most enduringly popular among classical composers... in fact, the taste of this new beginning century regards Mozart as THE composer par excellence. Among his works, some of the Symphonies (3/4 movements: allegro-quick | adagio-slow | evtl. minuet | allegro-fast) are among the most well known pieces and have a very high degree of "celebrity".
Since almost every director did indeed try his hand at Mozart's symphonies (often with dubious results), we will have to filter the different performances, therefore, while searching and checking, we will also need to apply some evaluation approaches and understand the different formats of the various files we are targeting on the web through our searches (in this specific case of course sound formats).
We will today throw our searching nets in the high seas of classical music, hoping to learn a couple of searching tricks (underlined in the following by a red bullet: ¤).
Put on your seeker's anorak, light your pipe and follow me in this trip. Enjoy!

Mozart as a searching example

If we take Mozart as target composer, some "easy to find" works are immediately discernible: among his 50-odd symphonies (or even more: the dividing line between serenades and symphonies is blurred. Often, four movements out of a serenade -that could have 8 or even 10 movements- were taken out and presented as a "symphony". Some "symphonies" are therefore just "trasposed serenades") he has composed only two symphonies in Sol minor (G minor) (# 25 K 183 and # 40 K 550).
Mozart's symphonies are numbered 1-41 from the order given in the Complete Edition -AMA- published by Breitkopf & Härtel from 1879 to 1882. All Mozart's works are also numbered with a K according to the Koechel Catalogue. These two symphonies are since centuries included among his most important "masterpieces", probably because they have encountered the "taste of the moment" -again and again- for more than 200 years.
This incredible "permanent" modernity of Mozart's masterpieces is probably due to the deep anxiety reflected in Mozart's music, an anxiety that has become the way of life in our consume oriented societies. Both symphonies, and especially symphony 40, seem to reflect the deep sadness of Mozart's short life, and reach into our souls, connecting us to a suffering that is a part of everyone's life, especially when a television set has been turned on.
Using both the G minor (sol minor) symphonies as our "easy" target, we can also check any eventual difference in the "findability" of such easy targets among themselves: the "great" G minor #40_K550 has always been (rightly) considered as one of the absolute masterpieces of Mozart (to avoid confusion we will ignore, in today session, the fact that there are in fact TWO versions of the #40_K550, one with and one without the two clarinets), while the "little" G minor, #25_K183, a "younger" composition, also one of the most well-known Mozart's symphonies, is not as "universally" represented as her major sister.

Enough. We will use both symphonies #25 & #40 as "easy to find example": they will be our first target today, the first blade of our scissor Celebrity/Rarity. Roll up your sleeves.

Individuating a "hard to find" example is a much more complex task, when dealing with a composer with Mozart's incredible "celebrity". His works, even the most obscure have of course been all digitized, and hence are surely bound to be found at the end of the query.
Knowing that a web-target MUST be findable somewhere is indeed a reassuring knowledge. When searching instead -say- a Turkish poem of the fifties, you are never sure if a digitized copy already exist at all on the web: even your best search-strategies could crush against the cliffs of nothingness.
"L'oca del Cairo" (K 422), an unfinished rare opera I was able to hear in Venice a couple of years ago, could -I hope- cut the mustard.
Mozart wrote "L'oca" in 1783, at age 27, and this work, only rarely put on scene, could represent our "hard to find" target, so we could use it today as second blade of our scissor Celebrity/Rarity.
Besides, this unfinished opera contains a wondrous duetto (Chichibio/Auretta) that even the "taste of the moment" might appreciate nowadays ("Il padrone e' gia' sortito, Il Marchese non c'e' più"). Enough: K422, "L'oca del Cairo" will be the "hard target" we'll try to find today.

Doing this exercise we will be able to confirm (or maybe deny) that on the web there exists a directly proportional relation between "celebrity" and "findability" of a target.
Our searching endeavor will also show us how to capture streams, change sound formats and illustrate some other "must know" tricks that all searchers need to know when trailing against commercial wind on choppy web seas.

So we have now our targets: a "easy to find" target (both Symphonies #25_K183 and #40_K550) and a "hard to find" target ("L'oca del Cairo" K_422). Let's find them and check if the "legge dell'oca" will hold true.
We should also remember that the quality might vary quite a lot for each musical execution: there are DOZENS of interpretations: depending from its directors, interpreters, musicians and singers, the execution of a same work can be dire or sublime. So we will have tu fullfill an evaluation task as well.

How do we find out which are the BEST interpretations of our targets?

First of all we could trail the web for specific comparisons. Here for instance a comparison between Bernstein and Bohms directions of our #25_K183 (scroll down half a page once in the link). But this kind of approach would be very slow and noisy.
Here a query-attempt: "Mozart's symphonies" ("recorded by" OR "performed by") that will let readers find further comparisons, for instance when discussing the quality of Marriner's execution: "The first half-dozen symphonies are as well played and as elegantly conducted, but compared with the depths of Furtwaengler's mysticism, the heights of Walter's lyricism, the weight of Klemperer's gravity, or the warmth of Boehm's humanity, they may ultimately seem less satisfying. Still, Furtwaengler, Walter, Klemperer, and Boehm rarely led the first three-dozen symphonies, leaving the field open to Marriner". A lot of hints, it remains to be seen if such hints are valid, though.
Following this kind of approaches you could establish a list of quality performers. But note how useful for our search relevant readers' comments can be ¤: I found a comment by an amazon American user so helpful that I have reprinted it below verbatim. It's excellent reading, if a tag preposterous: it is hard to find on the web other comments discussing with such depth the different interpretations for EACH Mozart's symphony.
Relevant usenet discussion groups can also be very useful for evaluating purposes. Moreover you can quickly and effectively peruse them ¤.

But, as said, reconstructing the constellation of best interpretations through single comparisons is a slow and noisy searchwork. Fortunately there are also some tools we can use as integration: for instance this Archivmusic database (sellers of classical CD in the States) will present us his list of Conductors, Ensembles and Labels for our #25_K183 and #40_K550.
Also very useful (astonishing enough for those of us that have ever despised such kind of sites) is answers.com, ¤ that will give us an almost integrale list of all albums that carry a complete performance of our targets with DATE. Truly a treasure mine of searching angles.

Of course I do not pretend that you perform this (necessary) evaluation work onto today's targets, that are intended just as search-examples. You'll do this kind of in depth "evaluation scanning" by yourself when searching for targets that specifically interest you. "No one can better search your own targets than you yourself" used to say the older seekers.
Just keep in mind that searchers should always have gathered some sound and helpful evaluation material already BEFORE starting their queries.
You can use the following short list of interpreters (conductors) of Mozart's symphonies that I have already compiled to finetune by yourself today's query, thus realizing some of the complexities of this specific search-task.
Given the fact that almost every conductor in the world did indeed try his hand at these Mozart's symphonies (often with dubious results), we have a choice among much too many performances. I have listed only those that seem to have been considered by critics "the best" (of course such considerations are always biased in matters like "interpretation styles"). Here you are: Now we can begin our queries, using the list above for evaluation and filtering purposes whenever we will pull off the web our nets full of zapping results.

The easy target: Finding 2 well known symphonies

Mozart composed 50-odd symphonies, most of them (around forty) when he was very young. The K183 (Symphony #25, "tan-taran-tantinera...") is the "little" G/sol minor, one of only two in G/sol minor (whereas a good half of Mozart's symphonies are in re major), and hence directly connected with her "great" G/sol minor sister: the later K550 (Symphony #40 "tiritin-tiritin-tiritina...").
Just to wet your appetite (this is after all a trip into classic music as well as a trip into searching): the most original part of #25_K183 is the almost "beethovenian" and mysterious Andante (second movement) while the most interesting part of #40_K550 is the famous Menuetto (third movement), that Toscanini considered the "most tragic piece ever written".
It is worth recalling that symphony #40_K550 is the most renowned and esteemed among these two "celebrities", and became so ubiquitous to be considered -together with the serenade Eine kleine Nachtmusik (K525) the very "musical footprint" of Mozart.

Now we will begin our search. What do we want? We want K183 and K550, we want FIRST the music, and with this I mean good quality, not just the first one stale mp3 we will find. Ideally we want the whole palette of the best interpretations ever made on our planet.
As SECOND element we should strive to find the scores of our musical targets... in case we want to better follow or even to play ourselves... and maybe interpretate the music on our own :-)

First attempt
OK, we don't need to gather that many searching "angles": the queries, for such simple searches, will of course result very simple themselves.
Let's begin with an elementary search when dealing with music nowasays, often used just to quickly check what's globally "flowing around" on the web: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=K183&search_type=.
We get various results, as expected. We need now to apply some quick evaluation skills to filter out crap. Note how negative evaluation rules are much easier to implement than positive evaluation rules. ¤
We avoid at once the first result because of evident incompetence: the picture related to this tube does not even represent Amadeus Mozart, but his father Leopold. Whomever uploaded this doesn't understand zilch. Begone.
The second result is called "ukulele" Mozart (sic), so we ditch it immediately as well. Good riddance, whatever it might have been.
The third result seems promising: this is a very famous interpretation of the "Allegro con Brio" first movement by Karl Bohm, a Mozart expert of the sixties, that registered last century the full cycle of Mozart's symphonies conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. So quality is there... and we might take the opportunity to hear right now the famous Andante of our "little" easy target.
Since the Menuetto and the Allegro are there as well, and since our second "great" easy target (K550, symphony 40) is on youtube as well, even accompanied by some Bernstein's lessons, (with the Wiener Philarmonic!) about its interpretation intricacies, our "easy" searching task could seem already completed, but in fact it isn't completed at all.
We have barely started.
The low quality of a streamed youtube music snippet is next to ludicrous. Seekers should try to reach perfection, and strive to satisfy even the most prickly audiophiles: let's therefore look for better formats for our targets.

Second attempt
"K 183" OR "K183" OR "symphony*25"
This is a simple, yet solid search-arrow. Note the asterisk because we don't know if there will be a "", "N.", or nothing at all before the number.¤
As you can see google gives rightly wikipedia as first answer: we can use wikipedia at once in order to find our first score for #25_K183 ...not that Mozart's most famous works' scores were particularly difficult to find on the web, despite all kind of pressure by the bastard commercial idiots against nice people that only wanted to spread knowledge.
Censorships attempts at scores are particularly ludicrous and anti-historical, since the (correct) trend is to go more and more on line with all classical music scores of the world for free.
For Mozart we should specifically take advantage of the very good NMA (Neue Mozart Ausgabe digitized by the international stiftung Mozarteum).
Just input the K number (for today's session: 183 or 550) and retrieve the scores you need. I am sure that, were not for the backward fights of the stupid patent holders, we would nowadays all been able to fetch directly and immediately not only the scores but also THE MUSIC we wanted, from any composer, from any director, in lossless format (well, we will get it anyway, after all :-)
Don't get me started on patents: why should a music student from -say- Africa, that lives on a budget of few euros a month, be deprived from the joy to play (or enjoy a good edition of) the Sol minor symphonies (or whatever else Mozart wrote)? Mozart didn't patent his works after all, bastard patent holders! There, I said it again. Enough.

Another side-benefit of this kind of "broad" searches is that we can almost always find in our searching nets, together with the music, some scholar "lessons" about our targets, and various interesting material. Suffice a simple pdf query ¤ (incidentally the same query will give us also plenty of opportunities to fetch another free score for #40_K550).

Of course if you are interested in books (and you should, about any target) you better always begin your search visiting both the relevant parts of Project Gutemberg and of google books (&as_brr=1, full view, to catch books un the public domain and &as_brr=0, all books, patented or not, VERY useful to find relevant snippets and gather angles for further searches) ¤.

Let's refine the query above, eliminating some commercial crap:
| K183 | symphony-*-25 "K 183 " -site:.com
While still extremely simple, this is after all not so bad a query, judging from the results. Pruning com sites is very often very useful to lower noise on the web.¤
In fact we can now begin to gather some mp3s. The first beef of this session.

Two caveats about our present and future results: the first and most important caveat regards bitrates, the second, far less important, regards patents (i.e. copyrights):

  1. FORMATS: The most used 128 kbit/s bitrate, while common, is barely acceptable for audiophiles: note that lossless uncompressed audio quality snippets, FLAC or physical CDs, usually carry bitrates above 1,400 kbit/s. Nowadays a bitrate of 192/44 is more and more used for mp3. Your mp3s should at least have the 192/44 minimum (250 or 320 kbit/s would be even better).
  2. PATENTS: We will find on the web some music snippets that might be, in some country, subjected to the usual -and rather silly- patents or copyrights laws. Though I hate copyright enforcers, that I consider enemies of knowledge and hence low life forms, I don't condone violating laws. The material you can find on the web is usually in the public domain, however sometime it can be of rather dubious provenience. This applies to the results of today's searching session as well. If in doubt, simply DO NOT DOWNLOAD the stuff we will find, especially if your country (or if the country of the proxy you are using) is subjected to copyrights and patents enforcing laws (not all countries have signed the relative conventions, if you live in -say- S.Marino, you can happily ignore patents and copyrights).
    Once again: in case of doubt, just do not download the target files, just hear the music on line without burdening your hard disk and do not worry in the least: since you are (to become) a good searcher, you will never need to hoard stuff on your harddisks, you will always be able to find again in a few seconds whatever you want to hear, see, read or use, fetching it on the fly from somewhere on line.
Using the anticommercial query listed above we find both our easy targets, in mp3 format, at once: here the -I suppose in the public domain- first movement of our #25_K183 (Allegro con Brio) in a good 192/44 bitrate for a conspicuous, 10.2 megabytes long, mp3: http://kata.ro/index.php?search=allegro&page=53. Alas! The quality simply isn't inside there: this 7:23 long "Allegro con Brio" of the "little" target, as you can see, carries no information whatsoever about director and orchestra. Has only the tag "MOZART EFFECTS III - INTELLIGENCE" which is probably a reference to volume III "Mozart in Motion" ("best used during times you want to accelerate your creativity" sic) from the baloney American theory that listening to Mozart can increase newborns' intelligence.
We might as well use the same link's search facility to download a 128/44 bitrate, probably in the public domain as well, 7 megabytes long snippet of our target #40_K550, again, no information whatsoever about director and orchestra. Tssch.
There's another 7:49 long 182/44 "Amadeus soundtrack" #25_K183 MP3, no indications, but if it is the soundtrack of the film "Amadeus", it must be conducted by Marriner.
Finally I will add the 10:14 long, bitrate 192/44 #40_K550 second movement andante from the same source. Just to let you have a small taste of the real Andante.
Enough. Let's simply take note, for our searching exercise, of the incredible quantity of #25_K183s and #40_K550s MP3s that float around the web. It's a celebrity, it is easy to find. Quod erat demonstrandum.
So so. "Have mp3s, any mp3s, will travel"? Have we searched enough, did we dig in depth? Nope. That's a poor catch of dubious quality, unworthy of a seeker.

The searching process and its phases
Let's see if we can find better stuff. We are almost halfway in what I would describe as our "searching process". Whenever we begin trailing the web for a target, we go through a series of equally important searching phases: gathering our searching angles in order to start our query with a quiver full of correct terms, realising the complexity (or to be more precise, the complexities) of our task, which will allow us to gather even more angles and to finetune our searches, becoming experts (well, "sortof" experts, take this cum grano salis) on matters that we didn't necessarily master 5 minutes before. We began to walk on the right paths, but there's still much to do. We must now prepare our wider nets and then we will have to carefully evaluate the results we will gather and without pity prune them out, throwing away all those small, zapping, results and keeping only the juicy sound, high quality, ones. And we will have always to keep in mind that there is noway to find all relevant results that may indeed exist on the web. Whatever search strategies we might use, some parts of the web will not be trailed by us and we will never gather a really "complete" catch (this "impossible completeness" is another law of searching that would deserve a nicer name).   structureofasearchprocess

Preparing our wider nets
Let's try a "wider" search:
"(zip OR rar) ("music mozart" OR "music classical mozart " OR "music classic mozart")
What have we done here?
  1. we presumed that whomever might offer our target has some logic directory structure we can maybe guess ¤.
  2. we presumed that our targets will NOT necessarily be in MP3s but rather in a zipped "zip" or "rar" file format (in fact you could add the whole list: gz, ace, and so on) ¤.
In fact the results are quite interesting: As you can see we can for instance now at once gather (or just simply hear on the fly) some MP3 collections, ripped from Trevor Pinnock's edition with a decent 192/44 bitrate, that contain all four movements of our target #25_K183 (it's inside Pinnock's disk 7, so we get as an added bonus also symphonies #24_K182, #30_K202 and #31_K297 "Pariser"). Ditto for our second "simple" target #50_K550: it's easy to find, inside disk 11, together with the equally famous Symphony #41_K551 "Jupiter". And we are not limited to Pinnock. Examining the results of the previous query you'll quickly find a link to Carl Bohm & the Berliner Philharmoniker's #40_K550 (coupled together with Symphonies #39 and #41) which comes along in a very good 256/44 bitrate edition and could actually satisfy minor searchers.

Let's see now a "dedicated search", and check -say- if we can find our first target directed by the first item in our "directors' list" above: so we do want a nice #25_K183 under Abbado direction? It's there! Harnoncourt? Yessir! Bohm? Of course!
Well, I fear that our searching studies are after all overkill for such an easy target. Even with an extremely simple & banal query we land smack in signal_zone. Just filter the results nationally and keep only countries that seem less obsessed by copyrights ¤ :-) Quod erat demonstrandum: "facilia" abundant in tela.

Least but not last, we might as well prune this bunch of results in order to gather "The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia" by Cliff Eisen & Simon Keefe, Cambridge University Press (ISBN 0521856590), January 2006, that -judging from its frequency on the web- seems to have been now released in the public domain. In doubt, we wont download it. Let's just consult it on the fly and use it at once in order to check back on our own three targets, thus gathering more angles and more "expert" knowledge. This "further refining as you progress" is a common practice when searching and is particularly important for long term searching exercises ¤. Our "G minor" searchlavine is rolling down the webhills: go go go!

Some alternative searching approaches
  • A possible, if rather haphazardous, search alternative would be to comb the web for radio stations ¤that might allow us to download our target snippets. As an example, check one of the most famous stations: the danish radio station, where you can regularly download some fairly good editions of classical music (today they offered for instance the second symphony of Beethoven). Our #40_K550 target was for instance on offer for free some time ago.
    Alternatively, if you are using GNU/Linux, point streamtuner (after having installed streamripper) to the "classic" tag and look for your own targets among the many stations listed... with easy targets like ours, chances are that some station, somewhere, is sending out Mozart's symphonies right now :-)
    The wealth of stations offering music for free on the wev is astonishing ¤.
    However, be aware of the fact that for all radio station the maximum bitrate is usually just 128.

  • Another approach in order to limit the scope of your searches is to find, and listen to, the snippets proposed by on-line sellers and re-sellers, for instance Barnes&Noble, such an approach enables you to quickly judge if a given target is -at all- worth to buy (or -rather- if it is worth download elsewhere for free) ¤.

  • A further possible approach is the [messageboards|forum|webrings|specific dedicated sites] approach ¤. I will give only a couple of examples, you can easily find more: in order to find all possible "messageboardish" targets, just comb the web or visit the usenet galaxies.
    • • Be aware of the fact, however, that some messageboards (for instance The Mozart Cafe) are next to useless in a web where stale sites abound. It is important to know how to quickly skip all non-promising results. Negative evaluation rules apply in this context (again) ¤.
    • • The BBC third channel has a couple of messageboards: "CD review" and "Performance". In the European Union you can in fact "go shopping" for "third" radio channels dedicated to classical music, that you will find in almost all member states, even the smallest, for instance: be (click on "ecouter en direct"), ie (listen live) and dk ¤. The huge advantage with classical public or national channels, is that they still (at least in part) views their listeners as citizens seeking knowledge and not just as consumers of the product on offer. The disadvantage, is that such an approach is very time consuming and should be used only for "long term" searching purposes.
    • • When searching messageboards that may carry links to music files, it is worth remembering that some of the most useful are in far away countries ¤. Some time ago "The Economist classificated the piracy levels in different countries: these data are instructive for searchers. Note that almost all main search engines can be limited to results pertaining only to specific country codes (e.g., in google, the parameter &cr=countryID means "only Indonesia").
    Do not underestimate this kind of regional searching: One could for instance quickly find Ter Linden's (good) execution of our #40_K550 through some specific "audio search engines" (at acceptable rates: 256/44 mp3s, I=13.7MB, II=18.1MB, III=7MB, IV=12,9MB).

  • On usenet, the most important groups are
    rec . music . classical
    rec . music . classical. recordings
    There is a HUGE wealth of comments and information to be combed here. A "must visit" stop for this kind of searches.

  • Some specific "dedicated sites" can result useful as well:
    • • http://www.mozartforum.com/ has a collection of short articles in its library.
    • • Also the "musical settings" of both symphonies can be seen in a graphical display, courtesy of www.studio-mozart.com, a awful cookies & flash obsessed site: 183 and 550

  • Finally it is worth underlining the importance of going regional with our searches, which means, to seek information and targets in other languages, not only English. Note that you don't really necessarily need to know these languages to find your way ¤.
    Here an example: "symphonie en sol mineur" 550. As you can see, once you go regional the searchscape changes dramatically, and you can find useful findings like this complete list (in french) of the "Brilliant" edition (120 pages).
    Note that you can (and should) repeat the search for any relevant language, for instance 550 sinfonie "g moll" filetype:pdf will quickly give you another nice score for the "great" sol minor Symphonie.
    While in today's session our targets are so easy to find that such "regionalisation" is not really necessary, in so doing we can still find little jewels like the wondrous snippet from George De Saint-Foix (written in the late thirties of last century), that describes (in French) the beauty of the "great" sol minor #40_K550. If you understand French, is it by all means instructive to follow the music we found with this text in your hands.

  • Third attempt
    Our easy searching task would seem completed, but in fact it isn't completed at all.
    We have barely touched the "good" results.
    We have to find our "easy targets" 25_K183 & 40_K550 in a good music format, i.e. a LOSSLESS, uncompressed format, which means flac (the best one) or Monkey (APE) or wav, we cannot be satisfied with a compressed format like MP3, AAC, or Vorbis. That's good for the car-stereo while concentrating on something else, but won't help any serious understanding of the nuances of Mozart's music.

    We might try a first "brutal" approach: mozart symphonies flac
    Yes, it works, but it is not very elegant, is it?
    Let's see if we can do better, it's often just a matter of filtering out the crap ¤:
    mozart 40 550 (flac OR ape) -"your cart" -store: Bum! Harnoncourt, Schwarz, Pinnock, Mackerras, Levine, Kraus, you name the director...

    Repeat for #25_K183: mozart 25 183 (flac OR ape) -"your cart" -store
    Yep, as the results of the previous search underline: maybe slightly (slightly!) less web-present than the "great" G minor sister, but quite easy to find as well... ...Quod erat demonstrandum.

    So we have found both our targets, directed by a palette of (hopefully) good directors. We have of course also found the scores of both targets and, nebenbei, we have even gathered some interesting texts and books about mozart and his works. Our approach was instructive I hope, and the search was easy. Let's see how easy it is to find a less famous target, let's see if the direct relation between "celebrity" and "findability on the web" holds true.

    The hard target: Finding "L'Oca del Cairo"

    Let's begin our "hard" search. What do we want? We want "L'oca del Cairo", K422, we want the music... if possible various choices of the best interpretations ever made, AND the libretto, if possible with a translation in English for those among us that do not understand Italian, AND the score... in case we want to play "l'oca" ourselves... and maybe interpretate and/or sing it better :-)
    Let's see what "angles" we already have for our query (or what angles we can rapidly find out, for instance through the long description inside the Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia we have found before, or more simply through good ole wikipedia):

    Looks like a simple search, doesn't it? Let's try a diagonal approach: "le perrucche di strigonia"
    A small typo will help us distinguish between two versions. Note how typos are VERY USEFUL to differentiate "families" of results ¤:
    +"strigonia" +"la camicie a centinaia"
    +"strigonia" +"le camicie a centinaia"
    Ah, here we have a complete version of the libretto, not just a couple of scenes from the first act.

    Of course we can always fetch both libretto and score from the :NEUE MOZART AUSGABE. A possible alternative for "libretti" is Public-Domain Opera Libretti and Other Vocal Texts at Stanford.

    So we have the libretto(s), let's begin our musical search: can we just start "from the bottom" of our previous searches and see if we can find our Oca at once in flac format?
    mozart 422 (flac OR ape) -"your cart" -store
    Not yet! We are also hampered by the noise due to Krip's "Philips 422 476-2" disk. Noise due to haphazardous similarities (there are many kinds of typos, some even "on purpose", see adnominatio, metonimy, human malapropism and paronomasia) can sometime be a great ostacle when searching ¤. Let's eliminate it:
    -Philips +mozart +422 +(flac OR ape) -"your cart" -store
    Now the water is more clear. We can see that in the "Complete Mozart Edition ", by Decca, there are various versions of the Oca conducted by Peter Schreier. There is a "Disk6", a "Disk39" and a "Disk 9" of "Box 14", all referring to the "Middle Italian Operas" collection: "L'oca del Cairo, K.422 Reconstructed by E. Smith" Inga Nielsen (vocals), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (vocals), Douglas Johnson (vocals), Edith Wiens (vocals), Christine Schornsheim (harpsichord), Anton Scharinger (vocals), Pamela Coburn (vocals), Berlin Radio Symphony Chorus (choir, chorus), Chamber Orchestra "Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach", Peter Schreier (conductor) (Together with "L'oca" you'll find in these disks also Mozart's K_430 "Lo sposo deluso")

    Let's try to clear this mess a little using arkivmusic.
    It seems that we have
    1. A "Complete Mozart Edition 14 - Middle Italian Operas" (2006), 9 disks, Philips
      Complete Edition Box 14: Middle Italian Operas (9 CDs), The Oca being inside CD 6
    2. A "Complete Mozart Edition Vol 39" (1991) Philips
      Conductor: P. Schreier (Disk 39): Mozart - L'oca del Cairo - Anton Scharinger - bass | Inga Nielsen - soprano | Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau - baritone | Douglas Johnson - tenor
    3. A "Hans Rotman edition" (1999) Cpo
      Hans Rotman Antwerp Chamber Opera Orchestra (Orchestra), Herman Bekaert (Performer), Bernhard Loonen (Performer)
    4. A "Mozart 22 - The Complete Operas" (2007) Deutsche Grammophon DVD series, from the 2006 Salzburg Festival. This huge collection contains a DVD that is also sold independently alone: DVD "Camerata Salzburg" edition (2007), with a version from the Salzburger festival, Conductor: Michael Hofstetter, prepared by director Joachim Schloemer and the Camerata Salzburg, but we will ignore it and don't search anything related since Schloemer has added "prerecorded dog barking and yiping that interrupts the music". You see -once more- how useful users' comments are in order to avoid similar crap.
    Gee, only three editions: Schreier, Rotman and Hofstetter/Schloemer!

    The strange thing is that according to some links L'oca del Cairo seems to be inside disk 6 and not inside disk 9. I thought that this was just confusion, due to the fact that there are 9 disks in Schreier "box 14", but in fact it dovetails with one image found on the web, where we can clearly see the number "9" on the Oca del Cairo disk. As we will discover, this is quite relevant in order to finally find this opera.

    Let's finetune our search onto our three possible paths:
    going deeper
    Yep, there's some signal in here, but a lot of noise too.
    Let's try the other edition:
    39 complete.mozart "oca del cairo"... ahh, much better, more promising.
    What about the Rotman edition?
    "rotman" "oca del cairo", nope, does not seem to give much signal.

    Proceeding from the searchstrings above, I could finally find our target (only in flac format!) using the following "strange" searchstring:
    "box 14" CD9. This proves, once more, than you don't really need extra complex searchstrings, once having taken the time to delve a little inside the different "aspects" that your target's definition (in fact its "name") can assume on the web ¤.

    Now, AFTERWARDS, it is easy to see that from the beginning we got less noise just having added the term "FLAC" to our musical searching queries. Hindsight is always 20/20.
    A related observation: When we were searching for our Mozart's symphonies in G minor, we could find tons of mp3s relating to each and every symphony of Mozart. For "L'oca", however, this simply isn't true. See, the problem with such "rare" musical targets is that no one bothered to put specific mp3s on line, if we find L'oca, is just because it is contained in some "complete collections" of the Author. In this case, being the author Mozart, there are several editions of such collections floating around: this completely confirm our "legge dell'oca": there is a direct relation between celebrity and findability. Quod erat demonstrandum (I'm saying this for the fourth and last time: we have finished).


    What have we done today?
    We have confirmed a web searching law, and we gathered every target we wanted, just following some of the simple google links we tried today (gosh we didn't even need to use any other of the main search engines, nor to really go regional, nor to visit usenet). All this was probably overkill anyway :-(
    I simply gathered and continued to search until I had at least one lossless format for each target. Then I stopped. Therefore I did not gather some "important" editions (for instance directors George Szell or Bruno Walter) that of course are on the web as well. This will be left as an exercise for the reader.
    I will not give below (one never knows, in the current patent-paranoia climate) direct links to material that could not belong to the public domain (where it should belong). In doubt, hear the music on line. As said, respect the laws of your country of residence, or of the countries of the proxies you use.
    Links'nature is in any case rather ephemere, while for seekers links are quite superfluous: we have cosmic power... once you know how to search, you will find whatever, whenever, wherever it may have been linked away.
    Here follows the "beef": every one of these different versions of our targets (and of course much more) can be found just studying this essay, exactly as I found them.

    What did we find NOT?
    Nothing there's nothing we didn't find, I even found a copy of the libretto of K422 in English (I found one in Spanish, as well).
    Yet the english version of the libretto of K422 was not easy to find. Not at all. So I wont link to it. It could in fact be a task where those that had the patience to read until here could apply their (hopefully improved) searching skills :-)

    So did we prove the "Legge dell'Oca"? Is there a real direct relation between "findability" and "celebrity" of a target? Indeed there is, as those readers that took the time to follow the links we have used in this essay will surely have noticed. But we also determined that the "findability" curve never vanish: rare and obscure subjects are surely more difficult to find than ubiquitous targets like Mozart's "great" G minor symphony K_550, yet even such rare targets ARE lurking somewhere in the deep deep web. So even when approaching maximum rarity levels the chances to find a given "rare" target remain constant ¤.

    It was a good catch, tired after we had to delve with the commercial web-morasses we may now rest, unzip our seekers' anoraks and take our wet boots off, taste a glass of good Porto, alight a small fire in the chimney and listen carefully to the wondrous duetto between Auretta and Chichibio, in "L'oca del Cairo": "Il padrone e' gia' sortito, Il Marchese non c'e' più", or wonder about the various versions of the strange "beethovenian" Andante of #25_K183... How comes I prefer Jaap Ter Linden to Abbado, Pinnock and Marriner?

    On line resources

    Classical CD Rebiew, check index of composers
    Classical Inkpot ("proudly made in Singapore"), for instance for #40_K550
    Classics today, tons of reviews
    Music web, Uk site. For instance, for #40_K550
    zweitausendeins use "suchen" in order to search.


    Best interpreters for all Mozart's symphonies, detailed
    Extract from "The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia" by Cliff Eisen & Simon Keefe
    Description of all movements of the Symphony #40

    NOTE 1)
    An interesting, if a tag preposterous, comment by Jeffrey Lipscomb , found on amazon:
    best interpreters for Mozart's symphonies, detailed.
    The special challenges of Mozart's symphonies defeat all but a very few conductors. 
    Excellent ensemble is required - which eliminates most "budget" offerings. Excessive 
    speed and hyper-fierce attack must be avoided (goodbye Toscanini, Reiner, Solti and Karajan). 
    There should be a certain degree of humor and wit (adios to Davis, Fricsay, Krips and Tate). 
    Charm and grace are essential (exit Bernstein, Harnoncourt and Mackerras). Being brusque or metronomic 
    is a no-no (pace Klemperer). The playing must be rhythmically secure and avoid bathos (farewell Walter, 
    despite lovely moments). Above all, Mozart requires passion and conviction, which takes out the 
    sterile Marriner. The latter's execution is immaculate, but so is the conception.
    While I prefer to hear Mozart from a variety of conductors, this Bohm effort strikes me as the 
    finest current "complete" set. However, Bohm is out-classed in several symphonies by individual 
    accounts from other conductors.
    Here is a brief summary. Abbreviations used: BPO (Berlin Phil), BSO (Boston Sym), CPO (Czech Phil), 
    CRS (Cologne Radio), DPO (Dresden Phil) DSRO (Danish State Radio), LPO (London Phil), LSO (London Sym), 
    MCO (Moscow Chamber Orch), NCO (Netherlands Chamber Orch), NPO (Netherlands Phil), PO (Paris Opera), 
    RPO (Royal Phil), SCO (Saar Chamber Orch), SR (Suisse Romande), VPO (Vienna Phil), VSO (Vienna Sym), 
    and WS (Wintherthur Sym).
    #1-22. These works are juvenile efforts: Bohm offers well-played, streamlined accounts. 
    		Otto Ackermann (1909-60) recorded 1-28, 30-31, 38 & 41 (CHS LPs) in 1952-55. 
    		Most were done with NPO, the rest with WS. These are more "gemutlich" than Bohm's, 
    		and they remain my first choice for #1-22.
    #23. I prefer Schuricht/DPO (Berlin Classics) and Ackermann.
    #24 Scherchen's step-son Karl Ristenpart (1900-69) was a superb Mozartean who recorded #24-26, 
    		28-31, and 34-41 with the SCO on French LPs. He re-did 24, 28 & 34 in stereo (MHS LP - sadly, 
    		I only have the latter). CD reissues are badly needed. I prefer his #24 to both Bohm and Ackermann.
    #25. Ackermann & Bohm are excellent.
    #26. Koussevitzky/BSO (LYS) is incredibly virtuosic.
    #27. Bohm & Ackermann are excellent.
    #28. Ristenpart, Maag/SR (London LP), and Ackermann are tops.
    #29. My favorite: Szymon Goldberg/NCO (Epic LP). Scherchen/VSO (Tahra) and Koussevitzky/BSO (LYS) 
    		are also great. Bohm is too Walter-ish here.
    #30. Bohm's is the best I've heard.
    #31. One of Beecham's greatest (RPO on Sony).
    #32. Maag/LSO (Decca) is a clear winner.
    #33. Erich Kleiber/CRS (Cetra LP) and Carlos Kleiber/VSO (Melodram) are very special.
    #34. Ristenpart's is utterly magical. Beecham/LPO (Dutton) and Schuricht/BPO (History) are great, 
    		but both omit the Minuet.
    #35. One of Bohm's finest, along with Beecham/LPO (Dutton) and Schuricht/VPO (EMI).
    #36. Busch/DSRO (EMI) is superb, as are Scherchen/VSO (Tahra), Otterloo/VSO (Epic LP), Bohm, and 
    		Beecham/LPO (Dutton).
    #38. Maag/LSO (London LP) is magnificent. Other greats: Otterloo (w/36), Sejna/CPO (Supraphon), 
    		Ancerl/CPO (Tahra), and Schuricht/PO (Scribendum).
    #39. This is the highlight of Bohm's set: superb. My other favorites are Weingartner/LPO (EMI) and 
    		Erich Kleiber/CRO (Amadeo LP).
    #40. Fritz Lehmann/VSO (DG LP), Scherchen/VSO (Tahra) and Beecham/LPO (Dutton) are my favorites.
    #41. Barshai/MCO (Melodiya LP) is a cut above Bohm. I also like the slightly fussy Beecham/LPO 
    		(Dutton - NOT his heavy EMI version), Schuricht/PO and Ackermann.
    Unfortunately, many of these are out of print or hard to find. So here's wishing you happy 
    hunting and many hours of delightful Mozart listening! 

    NOTE 2)
    Extract from "The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia" by Cliff Eisen & Simon Keefe, Cambridge University Press (ISBN 0521856590, 2006) that we have found on the web searching for the "easy target":

    About #25_K183: "K183, typically acknowledged as a milestone in Mozart's symphonic output for its concentrated intensity and its status as his first minormode work in the genre (and sometimes referred to as the 'Little' G minor Symphony to distinguish it from No. 40 in G minor, K550), is especially striking [for boasting large wind sections and prominent roles for constituent members]. Scored for four horns as well as two oboes, two bassoons and strings, it contains numerous engaging instrumental effects. The main theme at the beginning of the first movement, for example, is replete with standard Sturm und Drang characteristics, such as syncopation, frenetic activity and dotted rhythms all at a forte dynamic, but is completely transformed in the restatement and continuation. Here, the oboe floats mellifluously in semibreves over accompanimental material in the strings and horns, aligning the highpoint of its melody (bbemoll) both with the low point in the cellos/basses and with a moment of gentle harmonic intensification (German augmented sixth). Later, in the final two bars of the development section, the oboes and four horns play a crescendo in semibreves from piano to forte unaccompanied by strings for the only time in the movement, thus carrying by themselves the important structural responsibility of directing the music towards the recapitulation."

    About #40_K550: "The G minor Symphony, K550, stands alongside the string quartet K421 (1783), the piano concertos K466 (1785) and K491 (1786) and the string quin- tet K516 (1787) as Mozart's finest minor-mode instrumental work. But unlike K421, K466 and K516, Mozart's unremittingly intense finale continues in the minor right up until the final chord. The high esteem in which the work is held by the musical public at large originated at the beginning of the nineteenth century; issues of the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung praise K550 as 'a true masterpiece' (1804), 'Mozart's symphony of all symphonies' (1809) and a 'classical masterwork' (1813). Not the least of its qualities are the intricate, idiomatic writing for winds - in evidence throughout - and the passages of harmonic audacity, such as at the beginning of the development sections of the outer movements."

    About L'oca del Cairo: " L'oca del Cairo, K422 (The Goose of Cairo) (1783-4). Early in 1783, Mozart was on the lookout for a new opera libretto; Joseph II had just established an opera buffa troupe in Vienna and Mozart was eager to show himself equal to the challenge of Italian comic opera after the success of Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail (1782). Searching for a suitable subject, he worked his way through more than a hundred texts sent to him from Italy. Finding nothing that inspired him, however, Mozart eventually resolved to request a brand-new libretto from Giovanni Varesco, the chaplain to the Archbishop of Salzburg; the result was the ill-fated project L'oca del Cairo, an unfinished opera buffa that survives only as a fragmentary first act.
    Varesco had collaborated with Mozart before, on the opera seria Idomeneo, commissioned in 1780 by the Munich court. That Varesco had been resident in Salzburg had given Mozart ample opportunity to intervene in the design of the libretto during the early stages of its composition; with the constant help and mediation of his father, Mozart likewise became closely involved in the creation of the text of L'oca del Cairo. Indeed, Mozart's constant tinkering with the libretto for Idomeneo had caused considerable friction between the composer and the poet, and one can surmise that the composer's rather demanding attitude, coupled with Varesco's own shortcomings and relative inexperience as a librettist, were contributing factors in the premature demise of L'oca del Cairo. It certainly does not seem that the difficult experience of collaborating on Idomeneo with Varesco had diminished Mozart's self-assurance: on 21 June 1783, he wrote to his father that Varesco 'must alter and recast the libretto as much and as often as I wish'.
    An important letter of 7 May 1783 makes Mozart's specifications for his new libretto quite clear. He wanted the text itself to be absolutely new and by no means an adaptation of an older libretto - above all, something 'really comic'. He further stipulated that there be two substantial female roles of more or less equal importance, one of which should be serious, the other light-serious or 'mezzo carattere', as it was sometimes called; any other female parts and all of the male roles could be 'entirely buffa' if the plot required it. The following June, in response to the composer's commission, Varesco sent Mozart a synopsis of L'oca del Cairo.
    Although Mozart was moderately pleased with the opera to begin with - unlike Varesco himself, who began to express doubts about the quality of his work almost as soon as it was on paper – it rapidly became clear that certain elements of the plot needed to be curtailed or altered, while others needed to be removed altogether. Indeed, most modern critics agree that Varesco's rather inexpert handling of the story was foremost among the reasons for the failure of the entire project. Without a doubt, the storyline that survives is a rather scrambled concoction, although recent research by J. Everson has helped to clarify some of its more outlandish details, not least the eponymous goose. Indeed, because the opera remained unfinished, there is no single 'plot' to speak of, especially since the original synopsis that Varesco sent to Mozart and the scraps of surviving libretto appear to diverge a great deal. Suffice it to say that the story concerns an old nobleman, Don Pippo, whose wife has fled into exile and spread rumours of her death owing to her husband's persistent ill-treatment, and lives in disguise on the other side of the city. Don Pippo, thinking himself a widower, resolves to remarry a young friend of his daughter's, at the same time compelling his daughter to marry an old count. Since the two unfortunate young women already have lovers, the tyrannous nobleman imprisons them in a high-walled garden, although he loses no time in challenging his daughter's young suitor Biondello to enter the garden and woo her (helpfully setting the time limit of a year). Surprising as it may seem, this complicated set-up is merely the backdrop for the story. The action within the opera itself concerns Biondello's plan to breach the walls of the garden with the help of Don Pippo's wife - a ridiculous scheme to approach Don Pippo's palace concealed within a giant mechanical goose. The action of the fragmentary first act as Mozart set it is, however, thoroughly confused by a lack of any reference to the back-story and much superfluous detail relating to servants and other minor buffo characters. J. Everson has argued that the peculiar element of the goose from Cairo (about which Mozart perhaps understandably had his reservations) derived from a distant model for Varesco's libretto – a novella from the romance Il mambriano by Francesco Cieco da Ferrara, parts of which continued to circulate as cheap pamphlets in Italy and Austria even into the nineteenth century.
    As it stands, almost all of Mozart's music survives only in a skeletal form - as melody and bass-lines, with important instrumental parts also added. Aside from a few unfinished scraps, there survives an opening A major duet and a pair of arias with a light, buffo character. Mozart also completed the barest outline of a D major aria for Don Pippo, an E flat quartet for the two imprisoned women and their young lovers, and a large-scale finale that begins and ends in B flat. The fullest part of the surviving score did not come to light until the middle of the twentieth century, however - a more or less completely orchestrated setting of Don Pippo's aria 'Siano pronte alle gran nozze', which unexpectedly becomes a trio (including the two servants Chichibio and Auretta) at roughly the point at which the other sketch of the piece breaks off. The trio had been in the collection of the Bavarian-born composer Johannes Simon Mayr (1763-1845); it seems to have come into his possession through Constanze Mozart at some time in the early years of the nineteenth century.
    In a letter dated 10 February 1783, Mozart informed his father that he was putting aside his opera in order to work on more profitable projects; there is no indication that he considered the opera a lost cause at this stage; indeed, it seems clear that he believed that he would eventually return to it. Of course, this might have been wishful thinking, or perhaps the reluctance of a son to disappoint his father, who had been closely involved in the project from the very beginning. As it is, L'oca del Cairo survives only as a record of Mozart's abortive first attempts in the world of Italian comic opera.
                                                                                                                    Nicholas Mathew

    J. Everson, 'Of Beaks and Geese: Mozart, Varesco, and Francesco Cieco', Music & Letters (1995), 369-83
    W. Mann, 'The Operas of Mozart' (London, 1977), 322-30
    H. Redlich, 'L'oca del Cairo', Music Review 2 (1940), 122-31

    NOTE 3)
    Description of all movements of the Symphony #40
    From: Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart, sa vie musicale et son oeuvre,
    Essai de Biographie critique, par G. De Saint-Foix,
    ed. Desclée de Brouwer 1939
    Vol.IV: L'épanouissement 1784-1788, pagg.349-355
    Symphonie 40, K 550

    Symphonie en sol mineur, pour deux violons, deux altos, violoncelle et basse, une flûte, deux hautbois, deux bassons et deux cors. Comme pour la précédente symphonie, la date portée ci-dessus marque le moment de l'achèvement de l'oeuvre magnifique qui va nous occuper maintenant.
    L'orchestre comportait primitivement, outre le quatuor des cordes (les violoncelles étant distincts des basses), une flûte, deux hautbois, deux bassons, et deux cors. Mozart, plus tard, a remplacé la partie des deux hautbois par deux clarinettes, auxquelles viennent encore s'adjoindre les deux hautbois, mais avec une partie modifiée: il n'y a ni trompettes ni timbales. Comme on le voit, l'orchestration primitive devait procurer une saveur plus acide et plus incisive, un timbre plus "vert", dirait-on volontiers, par suite de la primauté du rôle de ces deux hautbois.
    Sans aucune introduction, Mozart entre dans le vif du sujet, hâtif et inquiet. Seuls, les violons exposent le thème, se détachant sur un accompagnement des altos divisés; à la deuxième exposition du thème, les "vents" inscrivent des tenues surmontant celui-ci, et la suite du premier sujet, forte, en si bémol, fait l'office d'un second sujet où se montre aussitôt l'ardeur enflammée qui inspire l'couvre tout entière.
    Après une mesure de pause, l'atmosphère change et le véritable second sujet, piano, sujet qu'empreint tout le charme mozartien, s'expose aux cordes seules; la réponse est faite par les hautbois et les clarinettes, mais lorsque se répète ledit second sujet, il y a interversion du rôle des instruments. En effet, le voici exposé cette fois par les "vents", auxquels répondent les cordes. Une énergique ritournelle débutant piano, en ré bémol, ramène en coda le rythme du premier sujet, qui se répète deux fois pour conclure dans le ton de si bémol, après une brillante ritournelle s'achevant à l'unisson. On sent en tout ceci, après l'accalmie du second sujet, couver un feu intérieur que rien ne pourra plus calmer.
    Avec une brusquerie géniale, débute l'un des développements les plus originaux de Mozart et, ajoutons-le hardiment, l'un des plus beaux de toute la musique instrumentale! Un même accord qui figurait, isolé, avant les barres de reprise, est de nouveau arraché, deux fois de suite, par l'orchestre entier, et sert à ouvrir le développement: ces deux accords répétés ont suffi à amorcer le ton le plus éloigné (fa dièze)! C'est donc - dans cette dernière tonalité que, sous les tenues des "vents", se dessine le thème initial: le voici qui module et s'étend sous un dessin très énergique et nouveau des violons; il reparaît ensuite, grondant aux basses, dans le ton de mi mineur. Les dessus er les basses, dans une puissante et somptueuse amplification, se renvoient le sujet et le dessin qui le suit, et l'on assiste, émerveillé par leur alternance, aux phases diverses du combat.
    Mais ce dialogue - ou plutôt ce duel, - va persister: le sujet demeure cantonné aux seuls violons, et les "vents" leur opposent en contrepoint une réponse modulée. Ces derniers, bientôt, font revenir en arrière, ou plutôt retournent sur elles-mêmes les deux premières croches du thème. C'est ici que semble s'ouvrir maintenant un nouveau combat: le dessin initial du thème, comme laminé et trituré, fait l'objet d'un échange en mouvements contraires entre les dessus et les basses, an milieu de modulations chromatiques. Tout à fait à découvert, les "vents" présentent une transition destinée à ramener la rentrée et les modulations chromatiques donnent audit passage une expression poignante. Ces quelques lignes tâchent à traduire ce que nous nommons le premier développement qui, on le voit, demeure strictement thématique.
    Voici la rentrée: elle est, d'abord, pareille; mais la suite du premier sujet va donner lieu à une nouvelle lutte que l'on peut considérer, à bon droit, comme l'aliment d'un second développement contrapuntique, entre les dessus (premiers violons) et les basses, tandis que les seconds violons continueront à moduler leurs vigoureux dessins en croches; nous aurons même l'impression que cette suite du premier sujet a remporté la victoire, lorsqu'elle reparaîtra dans le ton principal. Ici encore, le second sujet revient, séparé de ce qui le précède, par une mesure entière de pause; son expression est beaucoup plus intense, puisque nous le retrouvons en sol mineur, et sa suite se trouve allongée expressivement.
    Le résumé psychologique de ce morceau, dont l'impuissance de nos lignes ne peut pas plus évoquer la force que la délicatesse, se condense dans une coda, non séparée du reste par des barres de reprise: cette coda se base sur le début du thème initial et parvient, en quelques mesures, à évoquer toute l'expression contenue dans ce premier morceau. C'est l'expression d'une énergie qui prend, lors des dernières pages, un caractère d'exaltation farouche, pour céder, à la fin, à un sentiment de lassitude et de résignation, processus sentimental à peu près constant dans les grandes oeuvres de Mozart.
    Ainsi que le constate ici H. Abert, le double contrepoint joue dans cette symphonie un rôle fort important: on peut dire que de toutes ses forces, il agit et offre un caractère particulièrement dramatique, tellement que peu de développements mozartiens sont pénétrés d'une telle énergie animatrice. Cette constatation du musicologue allemand répond pleinement à la réalité: nous y ajouterons simplement que ce double contrepoint aboutit à un double développement dans le cours de ce premier morceau, à la grande différence de ce qui a lieu dans la précédente symphonie.
    Notre ambition de décrire l'Andante (en mi bémol) dépasse toutes les velléités; car cet andante a quelque chose d'indicible qui lui donne son sens véritable. Nous nous rappelons le temps où il nous faisait l'effet d'une énigme redoutable! Aujourd'hui, la nudité austère de son début nous fait songer à Bach: cette entrée en imitations du thème qui, à son début, ne paraît être qu'un accompagnement, forme, pour nous, une annonce qui promet autre chose... Et cette annonce recèle bien complètement les quatre notes d'un thème qui semble avoir hanté Mozart presque toute sa vie, et que nous retrouverons comme magnifié et donnant toute sa mesure dans la fugue qui achève sa dernière symphonie, la suivante. Au second exposé du thème initial, les violons font planer très haut un chant qui se dessine au-dessus de ce rythme scolastique; alors, la suite du premier sujet passera à la basse, et de cette même suite, s'envolera un dessin ascendant, fait de deux triples croches isolées lequel sillonnera le morceau tout entier, s'élevant ou s'abaissant dans le ciel, tel un vol d'oiseaux. Le dessin, comme essaimant dans les airs, montera donc ou descendra, entourant de son vol la phrase mélodique qui, dans le ton principal, achèvera cette double exposition du premier sujet. Remarquons, dans tout l'andante, l'importance croissante du rôle des basses, qui s'amplifiera encore davantage dans l'andante de la symphonie suivante. Comme dans le premier morceau, qui, d'ailleurs, offre maints rapports de concordance avec notre présent andante, le second sujet, ici, est isolé de ce qui le précède : attaqué forte en si bémol, il est suivi d'une réponse qui est faite au moyen du dessin précité, s'échappant de la flûte et des hautbois, pour conclure en fa majeur. Le thème initial, aux cordes, réapparaît, toujours contrapuntique, dans le ton de ré bémol; à partir d'ici, les modulations prennent un caractère de plus en plus acerbe, qui nous semble particulièrement "moderne". Au-dessus de l'implacable fixité du thème, ou plutôt du rythme initial du morceau, les "vents" se mettent à égrener, en un dessin devenu maintenant descendant, les triples croches aériennes qui semblent de petites nuées aux teintes irisées, flottant ou fusant au-dessus de ces sombres profondeurs. H. Abert voit dans ce dessin aérien un motif qui n'interrompra rien, mais, au contraire, aura un rôle constructeur, et prendra même la direction du discours musical. Mais l'atmosphère, au cours du développement sera trop troublée pour que ces vapeurs sentimentales l'allègent! Puis, une cadence forte, dans le ton de la dominante, est suivie d'une réponse imprévue et naÏve, qui étonne un peu, après ce lourd et angoissant problème sonore: H. Abert y trouve une ressemblance avec l'appel solitaire d'un rossignol. Nous y reconnaissons surtout la divine simplicité mozartienne qui, après les problèmes les plus abstrus, trouve telle inflexion, généralement si touchante, que notre primitive surprise se change en attendrissement! Mais, les modulations qui suivent. aussi rudes, aussi hardies que les précédentes, donneront, par contraste. un caractère plus angélique ou plus mozartien à la ritournelle finale de la première partie, que le quatuor et les "vents" se partagent.
    La profondeur expressive du développement demeure, à notre sens, quasi unique: le rythme du premier sujet de l'andante y est frappé à l'unisson sur un do bémol, effet qui, chose bien rare pour des procédé purement instrumentaux, a été décrit littérairement. A ce rythme obstinément grave et pesant, va s'adjoindre, tantôt s'échappant des instruments à vent, tantôt glissant sur les cordes, le dessin en triples croches qui, nous l'avons dit, survole tout l'andante: il parconrra jusqu'à son aboutissement dans le ton de la dominante d'ut mineur les tons les plus variés; et c'est d'abord par une gamme chromatique descendante qu'il se chargera de ramener dans ce ton d'ut mineur le premier sujet de l'andante qui, cette fois, sera attaqué par les "vents". Et sur ce premier sujet va s'échafauder maintenant un nouveau dessin chromatique, d'allure élégiaque, tout à fait wagnérienne, et ultra-expressive; il a un caractère si moderne et si poignant, dans sa briè veté, que son rôle ne pouvait se borner à celui d'une simple transition destinée à ramener la rentrée: Mozart l'a si bien compris qu'il le fait reparaître au cours de celle-ci, en lui donnant un tour peut-être encore plus expressif.
    Ces éléments qui donc ont figuré dans le développement si remarquable de l'andante, reparaissent au cours de la rentrée: et celui que nous venons de signaler n'est qu'une transposition de la seconde mesure du thème initial. A partir de la rentrée du premier sujet dans le ton de sol bémol, où se reproduisent les audacieuses modulations de la première partie, les changements qui existent ne résultent plus, en général, que de la transposition de ces éléments dans le ton principal du morceau. Que pouvons-nous dire de cet approfondissement, de cette modernisation de toute cette rentrée, sinon que Mozart y a intégré les dernières conquêtes de son art et de son style? Les deux termes rassurants de Menuetto allegretto ne répondent en rien, pour nous, à la lutte âpre et sans merci qui reprend dans ce menuet: nous atteignons au paroxysme de la tension nerveuse, traitée par une utilisation volontaire de la rudesse contrapuntique des vieux maîtres. Par deux fois, le contrepoint se renouvelle en se resserrant pendant la seconde reprise du menuet : ce thème attaqué par les basses, après les barres de reprise, va descendre par échelons, tandis que les dessus l'étireront avec violence vers les hauteurs, et voici que, après de rudes accords conclusifs, les premières mesures du thème exposées piano à découvert, par les "vents", glissent apaisées, et affirment ainsi le caractère élégiaque de la symphonie entière! Surprise merveilleuse, et dont l'intime résignation n'est réellement qu'à Mozart.
    Quelle unique et charmante éclaircie que celle du trio majeur! Quel repos, quelle douceur idyllique règne ici! Les courbes charmantes du thème sont dessinées par les cordes, auxquelles succèdent les a vents s qui leur répondent; l'épisode élyséen de la seconde partie de ce trio, avec sa grâce et sa pureté, nous fait momentanément oublier la tragique aventure que dépeint toute la symphonie. De nouveau, comme dans le premier menuet, les "vents" seuls dessinent la dernière période, créant ainsi le lien d'une profonde unité entre les deux menuets, - ou plutôt entre le menuet et son trio; ces "vents", accusent le caractère viennois; ou allemand du Sud de la danse, auquel les cors ajoutent la magie du coloris romantique, tout voisin de Schubert.
    Les principales phases du premier allegro vont se retrouver dans le finale Allegro assai; mais, sauf pour ce qui est du second sujet correspondant avec symétrie à celui du premier morceau, le caractère élégiaque du premier allegro disparaît ici, étouffé par une hâte fougueuse et endiablée, qui enflammera aussi bien tous les thèmes que tous les traits de ce finale. Le thème, muni de son refrain, est contenu entre des barres de reprise, donnant lieu à une double exposition du thème; ledit refrain est suivi d'un long trait en croches à l'unisson des violons, puis en imitations entre ceux-ci et les basses, où se manifeste déjà l'emportement furieux qui soulèvera le morceau entier. Le second sujet, exactement comme dans le premier morceau, est entièrement séparé du premier; il est exposé piano par le quatuor, puis il passe à la partie des "vents", qui le varient, le modulent, l'élargissent jusqu'au retour de la ritournelle, ainsi que des imitations qui marquent le début. Considéré froidement (ce qui est difficile!), c'est un morceau de sonate régulier dont la première partie s'achève, nettement et normalement, par de grands accords en si bémol majeur. Mais comment ne pas se sentir pénétré par l'exaltation de ces septièmes, par cette fièvre combative, par ce tumulte et cette violence?
    Avec le développement, tout semble comme poussé à bout, le rythme, l'harmonie, jusqu'au contrepoint: c'est une force crispée, quasi démoniaque, qui ne laisse point de répit. Crise, certes, inaccoutumée, accès génial! Voici le paroxysme de l'exaltation; plus de liberté, c'est une contrainte, une tension forcenée qui pèse sur l'auteur. Mais, malgré l'absence d'air respirable, malgré l'âpreté d'un tel conflit, rien n'entame la beauté de l'oeuvre, ni l'équilibre entre les parties, ni même le coup des idées heurtées par des chocs aussi violents et cruels.
    Aucun développement du maître n'a, croyons-nous, jamais été attaqué avec une telle brusquerie: nous sommes en si bémol mineur. Quelques notes se détachent, entrecoupées de silences, puis une nouvelle attaque du thème en ré mineur, sol mineur, ut mineur, fa mineur des contrepoints se dessinent, amorcés par la flûte, et ensuite par le basson: après quoi, c'est un grand fugato qui s'établit au quatuor.
    Ce fugato, nous l'avons dit ailleurs, nous a toujours paru être un des monuments de toute la musique. Ici, la force contrapontique se concentre et, avec un prodigieux élan, nous fait voir quel est le "potentiel" de ce thème. Avec une audacieuse liberté, Mozart transpose les moyens de l'ancienne musique pour des fins toutes modernes. La fureur et l'exaltation sont devenues délirantes.
    Après une page de combat, les imitations s'échangent, non plus au quatuor, mais à la partie des "vents" et des basses, dont le rôle est capital. Après les silences du début, ce sont les "vents" seuls qui ouvrent, par des notes tenues, le couloir où va s'engouffrer le torrent musical, qui finira par entraîner tous les éléments de ce développement volcanique! Les chocs s'exerceront dans les tons les plus éloignés de celui du morceau; l'intensité de la lutte est alors arrivée à son comble, tandis que retentissent les sombres et impérieux appels des cors. Ce paroxysme dure pendant près de deux pages entières; par des retours insistants, des audaces croissantes, nous parvenons à un accord de septième diminuée sur lequel, enfin, le combat s'arrête. Peut-être nous taxera-t-on d'exagération: H. Abert parle de sauvagerie démoniaque, de modulations incroyablement actives et furibondes. Il voit dans ce finale l'expression la plus poussée du pessimisme fataliste, et remarque que Mozart n'est jamais revenu dans cette sombre sphère pour en tirer les mêmes conséquences, exemptes de tout sentiment de pitié. Il remarque, dans les deux mouvements vifs de la symphonie en sol mineur, le commun et unique emploi des thèmes constitutifs dans les développements, et le forte qui se maintient pendant tout leur cours.
    La rentrée est d'abord pareille au début, mais il y a suppression de la double reprise du thème; le second sujet ne se trouve pas allongé, mais varié et modulé. Nous ajouterons que la tonalité de sol mineur en décuple les effets, car elle revêt toujours, chez Mozart, une signification passionnée. Ce second sujet, de même que celui du premier allegro, demeure absent du développement, et cela se conçoit si l'on se rappelle son caractère élégiaque; c'est lors de la rentrée qu'il acquiert son véritable sens.
    Seule, la ritournelle finale est allongée de plusieurs mesures, qui n'apportent ni apaisement, ni sentiment de résignation. Mozart épuise ici les possibilités musicales dans l'expression d'un sentiment qui est celui d'un emportement presque constamment furieux, et qui ne s'amende point. Et cela sans abandonner les sujets principaux sur lesquels les développements du premier allegro et du finale sont tous les deux uniquement basés. Nous pourrions même dire: les quatre développements, car le finale en comporte deux, comme le premier morceau. La symphonie en sol mineur, pour conclure avec H. Abert, n'est qu'une station sur le chemin du développement spirituel de Mozart. C'est un caractère de réalité et d'absence de toute réserve qui vaut à la symphonie la même force déchaînée qu'à Don Juan. Et c'est cette même symphonie qui inspire, à l'époque des romantiques, l'idée d'une aimable bluette, ou d'une oeuvre issue de la contemplation des chefs-d'oeuvre helléniques! Plus encore, peut-être, que la série des quatuors dédiée à Haydn, elle a été écrite avec le sang même de Mozart


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