As I watch the headlines this week, with the hostage siege in Sydney, a massacre in Philadelphia, and now a terrible event at a school in Pakistan, I find there are additional challenges for me as I prepare for our Die Zauberflote Holiday concert, which will be this Sunday, December 21, 2014, at 8 p.m. in the Mall of America Rotunda. The last time we did a holiday concert was on the same date in 2012. That happened to be just days after the terrible Newtown disaster. I felt I had to change the theme, from a ‘Slightly Wigged Out Last Day on Earth” concert to performing the carols as though I were playing my children to sleep at night. This year the theme is Baroque — Handel’s amazing Messiah, performed with lavish ornamantation on my antique (silver Louis Lot) French flute. This time there is not much to change, as Baroque improvisation is relatively limited in scope, and the theme is, of course, eternal. But still, I have to wonder what additional turbulence might take place prior to Sunday, and pray and play for peace and healing for everyone…
Even I can’t make this stuff up, and, you may have noticed, I have a fairly good imagination. But no, this has completely taken even me by surprise. During the course of one week two different venticellis made there way from halfway around the world (one Croatia, the other West Africa) to locations that have a connection to me (one to a library in the town where I live) and apparently my pony and I were slated to have been set up for sacrifice (so to speak) on a plain in the Twin Cities (read ‘the plain of Mediggo’ in Revelation…:-0).
I have been talking about a Minnegeddon in the Twin Cities since I found myself under attack (for no other reason than being good) as a flute performance major at the UofM. That was quite a while ago. I brought up this concept again during the lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra, particularly as it had occurred to me that my three (at the time, little) children and I may have had a tangential connection to it. As a result, I even wrote to different people at the orchestra — Mr. Henson, Mr. Sprenger, and even Mr. Vanska, asking for an opportunity to play for them on the stage where I was once encouraged and even enticed to play by a tiny cadre of players, again, long ago. But I was not even granted the courtesy of a reply. Instead, there seems to have been waves of controversy that threatened to engulf my family and me. There have been hidden agendas and dirty tricks, all of which have been discouraging. People I hoped would be eager to help have run away, throwing others to, apparently, act as proxies in their place.
In other words, this has been very confusing. But during this time I have had a safe haven. Almost every day I go to visit and ride my horse. Out into the country — beautiful rolling hills with stunning horse estates…There was a terrible accident a few weeks ago at the barn. One of my friends’ horses was severely hurt in what seems to be a freak accident (nobody was watching) and had to be put down. I was at the barn that day. This was very traumatic. Once I realized I was getting worried looks from Miles, my horse, I left, realizing that I was no help to anyone that day. About a week later I was asked if I wanted to play the flute for a wake that would be held in the pasture where the accident took place. Full of sadness and wanting to help, I said I would consider it. I was then told that they would love to have someone lead my horse out to the pasture while I played. All of this would be advertized in a flier to be handed out. Last but not least, they would be including my birth family name (which I stopped used at the level of the press some years ago) in the flier. I found myself with a bad case of dread. I speak at times of feeling that I am under attack by a dark angel that I call Lermontov. This concept seemed to me to be pure Lermontov. I decided to decline, and was met with a great deal of pressure to do this, using a great deal of emotional and flattering rhetoric. When it became evident that I really did mean ‘no’ I finally had a sense of relief. And so the wake went off beautifully, led by a bagpiper who played on the plain as the sun was starting to set…if anyone thinks “Minnegeddon” is just a concept I invented, I ask you to think again. Plus, it is my thinking that all of this could have been prevented if those in the know at the MO had given me the opportunity to validate my credentials as the Other Mozart and had then confirmed them at the level of the press. But then, as the ringleader of the cadre I call “Monostatos” (I’m not being cute, I don’t want to be sued by using a real name) loves to say, “Some people just have to do things the hard way”…:-0
Who is this person? What do they think they are doing? Just about every time I post to Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc blog, this person using the alias “Amy” pops up to try to hijack the thread and make it about me. Then “Amy” attempts to insinuate that I am using different identities, which is false. All this is done while hiding under an alias, of course. Why would someone apparently go out of their way to do this? It makes no sense to me.
Here is the latest attack:
There is something changing in the underworld of music, but nobody will talk about it at the level of the press, except for occasional small slanderous rants, such as that of a Chicago music critic some weeks ago. Why is this?
Well, you could consider this a kind of opera in which there is a mystery, a curse, and a deadly plot. At the center of it is, not exactly a person, but a sound. It is the sound that seems to cause phonies to run away. It is a quality of sound that gentle people seem to love.
Rather than tell anyone what to think, I would like to invite you to listen and decide for yourself what to think. I ask that you listen with your ears and not with your head, as there are some who have seemed to pit themselves against this gift with words that are deliberately misleading…
Here is one sound file. It is intentionally not something composed by Mozart, as it is simpler to hear the quality of sound alone…
I always knew that I could ride like the wind. Some of my very first memories are riding behind my Father, a cowboy-turned-metallurgist in the hills outside of a small SD town. I sat behind him, saddle or bareback, and hung on for dear life. We took off at a gallop on the wiry quarter horses, stopped on a dime, and had an exciting and rambunctious time. I felt more at home flying through the air on a horse than I did with my feet on the ground.
But things happened, and life changed us all. My father nearly took his own life when I was eighteen. I was never told why. Instead, nebulous accusations were floated about that what happened was my fault. My Father, Mother and sister circled the wagons, and refused to talk to me about it.
And so I lived the best I could and stumbled around a lot with questions that were not considered worthy of answers. My Father became successful and lived the rest of his life well, so I knew that good had come out of it all.
Having had a few scary experiences doing white-knuckle Western riding, including a horse managing to runaway with me on the grass next to a major highway heavy with early morning traffic to New York City, I waited until recently to learn how to ride correctly. After spending a great deal of time and money with teachers who in some instances seemed more scary than the horses, I found my horse Miles and myself in a dressage clinic with a great classical equestrian who saw through my issues and helped me realize I was blocked from achieving all my goals because of something, or things, that had happened in the past.
So I quit taking regular lessons and tried to focus both on my horse, learning everything from the ground up, building a relationship with him (I am still a fairly new horse owner — three years now) and using riding to help unleash the issues of the past.
Gradually things began to become more clear, and an extraordinary and unlikely pattern of events presented themselves to me.
As a child I was very healthy. For some reason, this seemed to make my Mother unhappy. (She was a horse of a different color, that I will discuss in another post). But there were times when I would be completely felled by nausea and vomiting. At that time she was always her lovelies and most conciliatory. In fact, it was almost as though she were begging me to be comfortable being ill, knowing that she would be pleasant to me (our normal relationship was not). At one point she even made a statement that puzzled me for years. She said, “Why don’t you just die and go to heaven like all the other good little children.” That made no sense to me at the time. In hindsight I can say that she was a sick woman. But she was also brilliant and able to charm just about everyone, including me, whenever she wanted. So her vicious and unbalanced streak was largely hidden by what seemed to be a sophisticated and witty gentleness. Few who have seen her rage are ever again completely naive, but all of us were at one time or another almost hopelessly vulnerable to her charms.
Our typical family dinners, especially during my high school years, involved my being served a plate heaping with heavy and fattening Midwestern food — mashed potatoes, roast beef and gravy — in short, things I had no interest in eating. I was forced to eat everything on my plate. My pleas and tears went unheeded. My Father said nothing. My sister said nothing. After dinner, my sister was excused to do her homework, while I was given the task of helping with the evening dishes. We did not have a dishwasher at the time, and the process seemed endless. My Mother, in particular, seemed to manage to find a spot on a dish or a piece of silverware that required doing the entire piece all over again. I was utterly mystified at the time. Now I wonder if I was kept in my Mother’s line of vision to make sure I was digesting the dinner.
As I prepared to leave home for college, a sea change began to take place in our house. My Father was coming apart, but, having no frame of reference, I was unable to properly assess what was happening. It was a few months after I left that he nearly succumbed. He ate poison. Rat poison.
And so, while riding my horse, feeling more comfortable again in the saddle than with my feet on the ground, it began to occur to me years later that the riding block I was dealing with might in fact have had a connection to the fact that my Father was aware that my Mother had tried to make attempts on my life through poison. And once I lived away from home I would realize that I was no longer becoming ill. That realization did not dawn on me until much later, because all I could think about was this terrible near-tragedy that had happened to my beloved Father.
This photograph was taken by one of the cadre of players that I call “Monostatos”. I was introduced to this person at Orchestra Hall and since this person was also an avid amateur photographer they asked if they could photograph me. I was looking for a photo for an upcoming recital and was delighted at the offer.
When this person arrived at my house for the photo session , I was practicing in my studio with the windows open. I happened to be practicing a Mozart violin concerto. When I went to open the front door they practically burst in and almost literally ran around the first floor, whispering, “Mozart! Mozart! Mozart!” I laughed, and said, “Yes, that is what I was playing,’ but they then gave me a horrified look, as though I didn’t understand. At that point I became puzzled. I have since been told that some people think they hear the voice of Mozart in the sound of die zauberflote, but at that time didn’t really have a clue. (I am not aware of hearing any voice, for the most part.) Later I did ask their help in getting me a proper introduction to the Music Director, but they declined to do so. I was, of course, puzzled and disappointed. Some time after this, this person contracted a terminal illness and died.
For those who thought I was not supportive of the current players during the lockout, I ask you to look at this situation from my somewhat unique and eccentric viewpoint, which is that if I did not care about them I would have remained silent and not bothered to try to warn them about the one of the clique who remains who may have led them astray. And I would have to have that burden on my conscience as well…
Initially this post was intended to provide some food for thought until the complete replies were posted to resolve Andrew Patner’s vicious and unwarranted attack on the Slipped Disc blog:
On further consideration, spending any significant effort on what anyone with a reasoning mind can see is drivel is hardly valuable…
Mr Patner, the Chicago music critic blindly said, “Pamela Brown has been called ‘the most exciting musician since Mozart’ and her playing ‘the real magic flute’ by ‘professionals’ we will just refer to as “Monostatos”, who then shunned have attempted to lock her out.” PB also tells us that these people were known to “target my children.”
Mr. Patner’s lack of curiosity here speaks volumes. Considering the fact that Mr. Patner has given indications of knowing precisely what I am talking about and has decided to attempt to ridicule it, the appearance of ennui speaks even louder.
During the MO lockout I referenced a cadre of players who targeted me and my children by calling them “Monostatos”. Those events took place some time ago. Some took place on the stage at Orchestra Hall, behind the back of MOA. (Not all of these players are dead or have left the MO; one still seems to be leading others astray.) It was “Monostatos”, in fact, those very people whom Mr. Patner appears to respect, who made those statements to me in person but declined to do so at the level of the press.
Perhaps Mr. Patner or anyone else who might be looking for consistency in my posts might consider dragging themselves away from the myriad fabulous performances of those of whom they approve of , and sitting down with a vocal score or libretto of Mozart’s last major opera, The Magic Flute, and then reading it with an open mind. Even Mr. Patner might be surprised. :-0
Let me provide a link to one for handy reference:
In addition, let this thread give anyone who has begun to ask themselves just how ‘credible’ Mr. Patner’s stance is an opportunity to ask themselves a serious question — do you listen with your head or with your ears? I ask this because I can assure you that there are many who will happily present themselves as ‘credible’ in order to steer you to where they want you to go. In short, they will be happy to do your thinking for you. If you listen with your head, you will be vulnerable to being deceived and led astray. If you listen with your ears, your chances of staying grounded are considerably stronger.
Then, if you wish, you can ask yourself another question — do you really believe that those who claim to be professionals and insist that they have a trained ear are unable to discern the unique sound of Mozart when they hear it?
If Mr. Patner and “Monostatos” know that what they hear is indeed the essence, or inner voices, of Mozart in die zauberflote, and they are telling you to ridicule this, what does this mean?