This essay, based on an examination of the finales of Mozart's operatic contemporaries in Vienna, will attempt to characterize the buffo finale more accurately than has until now been possible and correct certain misconceptions about the principles on which it is built. At the same time such an investigation reveals the limitations of basing an understanding of Viennese opera on the works of Mozart alone. And it illustrates the possibilities of an essentially new approach to this repertory: the critical evaluation of Mozart's operas, for the first time, within the stylistic context provided by a detailed knowledge of the operatic works of his contemporaries.
The Journal of Musicology
The Journal of Musicology Copyright 1989 by the Regents of the University of California.