Marjorie Weston Emerson Award
The Mozart Society of America invites nominations for the Marjorie Weston Emerson Award, a $500 prize given annually for outstanding scholarly work on Mozart published in English during the two previous calendar years. The Award will be given in alternate years to books and editions, and to essays and articles. The 2024 Award will be for the best essay or article published in 2022 or 2023.
The selection is made by a committee of Mozart scholars appointed by the President of the MSA, with approval from the Board of Directors.
The Society reserves the right not to award the prize in a given year.
The 2023 Marjorie Weston Emerson Award goes to Professor Danuta Mirka for her book Hypermetric Manipulations in Haydn and Mozart: Chamber Music for Strings, 1787–1791, published by Oxford University Press. This masterly book forms a companion piece to the author’s earlier Metric Manipulations in Haydn and Mozart, which examined the same repertory of string quartets and quintets. “It can safely be assumed,” Mirka writes, “that all listeners will hear strong and weak beats above the level of measures,” meaning that “they will have perceived hypermeter,” but the complications attendant upon that perception are numerous. Demonstrating an unparalleled understanding of eighteenth-century theoretical approaches to meter and rhythm, Mirka systematically and rigorously works through the many possibilities. Her ability to combine “authentic theory” with aspects of contemporary research is a notable strength of her study, which is densely packed with revelatory insights into not just individual works and movements but also this style period as a whole. Mirka’s approach counters a long pedagogical and critical tradition that has neglected rhythmic factors in favour of an emphasis on areas such as harmony and form. This has resulted in a view that later eighteenth-century art music is technically simpler than what came both before and after. However, as Mirka shows in extraordinary depth, if we are alive to the operations of rhythm, on all its levels, there are endless subtleties in this repertoire, and these do much to explain the vitality and perennial fascination of the style.
Winners of the Marjorie Weston Emerson Award
- 2023: Danuta Mirka, Hypermetric Manipulations in Haydn and Mozart: Chamber Music for Strings, 1787–1791 (Oxford University Press, 2021)
- 2022: Martin Nedbal, “Heinrich Wilhelm Haugwitz and the Reception of Mozart’s Operas in Early Nineteenth-Century Moravia,” Musicologica Brunensia (volume 56, no. 1; 2021)
- 2021: W. Dean Sutcliffe, Instrumental Music in an Age of Sociability: Haydn, Mozart and Friends (Cambridge, 2020)
- 2020: Sarah Eyerly, “Mozart and the Moravians,” Early Music 47/2 (2019): 161-182
- 2019: Edmund Goehring, Coming to Terms with Our Musical Past: An Essay on Mozart and Modernist Aesthetics (University of Rochester, 2018). Now available as an Open Access eBook!
- 2018: Austin Glatthorn, “The Imperial Coronation of Leopold II and Mozart, Frankfurt am Main, 1790,” Eighteenth-Century Music 14 (2017): 89-110
- 2017: Edward Klorman, Mozart’s Music of Friends: Social Interplay in the Chamber Works (Cambridge, 2016)
- 2016: Justin Lavacek, “Mozart’s Harmonic Design in the Secco Recitatives,” Theoria: Historical Aspects of Music Theory 22 (2015): 63-97
- 2015: Matthew Riley, The Viennese Minor-Key Symphony in the Age of Haydn and Mozart (Oxford, 2014)
- 2014: Nicholas Baragwanath, “Mozart’s early chamber music with keyboard: traditions of performance, composition and commodification,” in Mozart’s Chamber Music with Keyboard, edited by Martin Harlow (Cambridge, 2012)
- 2013: Simon P. Keefe, Mozart’s Requiem: Reception, Work, Completion (Cambridge, 2012)
- 2012: Roman Ivanovitch, “Mozart’s Art of Retransition,” Music Analysis 30/1 (2011): 1-36
- 2011: Daniel Heartz, Mozart, Haydn, and Early Beethoven, 1781–1802 (Norton, 2009)
- 2010: Dorothea Link, “The Fandango Scene in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro,” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 133/1 (2008): 68-91
- 2009: Ian Woodfield, Mozart’s ‘Cosí fan tutte’: A Compositional History (Boydell, 2008)
- 2008: Karol Berger, Bach’s Cycle, Mozart’s Arrow: An Essay on the Origins of Musical Modernity (California, 2007)