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

Cover of Hypermetric Manipulations in Haydn and Mozart: Chamber Music for Strings, 1787–1791