Mozart in the Age of Enlightenment
This is just a quick post to point you to a new album on Magnatune called Mozart in the Age of Enlightenment. Like all of the recordings on Magnatune.com, you can stream the whole thing for free, or download uncopyprotected versions in a variety of file formats at very low cost.
It's a collection of pieces played on the fortepiano, which was the bridge instrument between the harpsicord and the modern piano. The theme, the age of enlightenment, is interesting also. From a brief piece on NPR:
Much of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life and music were shaped by the Enlightenment and its principles. Mozart began his career as a servant to the Archbishop of Salzburg. In fact, up until this period, composers were often just highly-skilled servants to the church or royal courts. But Mozart’s travels to England and France had exposed him to the ideals of independence and equality. He sought to sever his obligation to the arcane hierarchy that employed his services so rigidly. Eventually, Mozart found greater freedom in Vienna, where he supported himself with public concerts and commissions, and through teaching engagements. Mozart’s opera “The Marriage of Figaro” epitomized the new ways of thinking by giving servants a central role. Previously, servants were comic figures to be laughed at; but, building on ideas in the play by Beaumarchais, Mozart presented them as equally worthy of serious attention as any noble aristocrat.
So listen, enjoy and be uplifted.