When the person I call ‘Monostatos’ came into our lives, it was a very puzzling time. What possible interest could this person have in us, I frequently wondered. Something seemed not quite right, but I could not put my finger on it. I grabbed a hint the first time I was asked to play the flute for him — he played accompaniment to a movement of a Bach sonata. He kept looking up at me from under his prominent eyebrows. He seemed to be lying in wait. But why? As soon as I flipped a page, he pounced, claiming I had ‘missed a beat’. What is going on here, I wondered? Why do I have the impression that it is either him or me?
In hindsight, of course, I wish that I had trusted that impression, for it defined the reality of the following 666 or so days. Stealth, deception, hidden ill-intent were the norm. Early-on, they were so far hidden as to be almost invisible.
And so, with helpful and gentle smiles, he enticed me to practice on the stage at Orchestra Hall after rehearsals, which I was invited to attend. How could anyone resist? So out came the Mozart flute concertos, and two of the Mozart violin concertos. The Khat, the Nielsen, Bach, whatever I was working on, soared through the hall and, so he said, through the rest of the building, as i practiced on the darkened stage.
We were the oddity of the orchestra at the time — the concert master called us “Beauty and the Beast” — the gangly young man with the flute player and her three adorable children. It seemed that everyone knew what was going on except me.
Well, that is not entirely true, as I had been studying with the Pricipal Flute player for a while before that. This argumentative little man, in addition to sandbagging my practice, practically accused me of being responsible for the name change of the orchestra. At the time, that seemed completely bizarre. But again, he knew more than I did. So I did have a heads-up — I just didn’t understand it.
But Monostatos agenda seemed to run afoul one day, after a very simple event. On the stage, once again, he asked me to play the Mozart D Major Concerto. He would accompany me (in a general way, as he was not a keyboard player).One of my favorite pieces. The first one I had performed, in fact, when I was in High School. It was, of course, astonishingly lovely to hear the flute in the acoustics of the hall. Afterword, he seemed nonchalant as usual, but there was a glint in his eye that meant trouble. I had done something again that had upset him. I waited for a verbal attack to come — or worse. But there was none.
Subsequent to that he slipped into a profound depression, spending his days in the darkened room I had long before abandoned, knees to his chest, clutching the sheets. I tried to help, but was pushed away. One day he walked into a psych ward and admitted himself. A few days later he left. Then he admitted himself to an in-patient treatment program (though he did not drink) and then left about a week later. I felt helpless and bewildered. I began to accept that nothing might ever work again, and that I had to prepare to take care of my children.
He would not talk, would not share. But, one evening, after going out for a bite to eat, leaving the children with a sitter, we drove to a new construction area on a street called Smetana Drive. I parked the VW beetle and tried to talk with him. What is going on, I pleaded. And then he whispered, in the dark — “I don’t know if you are an amateur or the most exciting musician since Mozart.” I was baffled, and stunned. What possible connecting thread could there be to all of this?
From that moment on, there was nothing but emotional and spiritual war in the house. He ended up running out one night, never to return. I was so relieved that the war was over I didn’t bother to ask what had motivated his becoming involved with us in the first place, much less the traumatic events that followed…
Have you considered giving a birthday gift to your colleagues in the MO? Let me make a gentle suggestion — why not tell them the truth about die zauberflote? You know, that gift of perfection of sound that caused you to spend about 666 days insinuating yourself into the lives of me and my three little children, only to then run out of our house with your tail between your legs? Hmmm…That gift that caused you to entice me onto the stage at Orchestra Hall to ‘practice’? Then did you not slander me to your colleagues and encourage them to boycott my concerts; thus, in effect, taking food out of the mouths of my children? That gift that, no matter what evil strategy you may have used to attempt to attack me or my children, has, as even you can see, resulted in everything working for our good? That gift which works precisely the way Wolfgang Mozart said it would in his prophetic opera The Magic Flute? “Thy magic tones, they speak for me; my message carry. Thou all cares of heart canst banish, and hate, and hate and wrong before thee vanish?”
Just a thought…:-0
I should preface this post by saying that from the time I was born I felt I had a connection to Wolfgang Mozart. I could identify his music even before I knew his name. With that connection came, what appeared to me as a child, to be an overwhelming burden of responsibility. I was unable to deal with it back then. It seemed he had left everything in a terrible mess and I was too small to pick up the pieces. My birth parents were dangerously immature. I had no help, no support system. So I decided to, in effect, hide the gift I had been given and live a ‘normal’ childhood. That proved to be impossible, but that’s another story…
As a young adult, when my birth family situation became unbearable, I fled to school in the UK. I had numerous opportunities to travel to the continent, and did, on my sparse student budget. I vigorously refused to go to either Austria or Germany at that time, due to their horrible Nazi past. I refused to learn German. And I refused to have anything to do with the opera Die Zauberflote.
Looking back, I can say that the turning point in my relationship with “Monostatos” was when we decided to see the Bergman film of The Magic Flute. By that time, in shell shock having to deal with the attacks against me, and the targeting of my children, I didn’t really give much thought to the fact that I was taking a major step out of my comfort zone. But then, there it was. The horrible mother, who had a split personality — one charming, one vicious — the father in the background — the kidnapping to the frozen tundra of Minnesota, the three little children — all came into focus. I had felt all along that my perspective was different from that of others. At that time I began to realize that I felt I was living inside an opera and trying to explain to others what this reality entailed.
I was able to accept the burden of responsibility, and the pain it involved. I finally accepted the call, as the hero or heroine usually does, when all other alternatives have become unbearable or unavailable..
And I have been fighting ever since…:-)
For a very long time the individual that I have termed “Monostatos” (from a sinister character in Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute) has worked furiously to lock me out of opportunities and possibilities in all the areas of classical music which which this person has a connection. This person has slandered me day and night for many years, attempting also to influence my dear children and family members. This person has even taken food out of the mouths of my children. This has taken an enormous toll on all of us, as this person has ‘credibility’ in the classical musical world, while I (as yet) do not.
I am asking this person to come forward and do the right thing. Seems to me the lid cannot be kept on much longer anyhow. This person’s only real claim to fame is that they did their best to lock out Mozart (me and my three children, with die zauberflote). This has person has led at least one orchestra astray.
How much longer do we have to wait? :-0
Monostatos’ Orchestra seems to be attempting to go through a sort of rebirth. After the contentious and bitter lockout, which may well, in fact, have been in response to their, in effect, locking Mozart out some time ago, in terms of the great gift that I call die zauberflote, they seem to want to put the dismal recent past events behind by making a foray into new performing territory (not a bad idea) and conducting a media blitz intended to showcase them as ‘new’. Frankly, virtually nothing about this organization is ‘new’. In fact, what we may well be seeing is more of the ‘same-old, same-old’. Not that the ‘same-old’ is ‘bad’, just that it is predictably the same — a veneer of ‘grace’ and ‘loveliness’ masking the fact that its ‘voice’ (if you can even call it that) is empty and dead…
Why, you might ask, am I not tempted into mushy sentimentality about the supposed newness of the recent ‘historic’ runout or accompanying schmoozy current ad strategy? Frankly, any group who can put up with the character I call “Monostatos” is not deserving of being taken seriously. It has, in fact, settled its fate in my mind once and for all. Ironically, it appears that one of the previous administrators of this group attempted to oust this person, but in a turn of irony, they were the one to go. So I hold to no illusions about this situation. (I am, in fact, speaking from personal experience. I learned the hard way, and am not about to be fooled again.)
So, what is actually going on here? This is my impression. If this group was, in fact, put under judgment by the Lrd for their treatment, not only of an extraordinary gift of music, but of a gift of the Holy Spirit, they had the opportunity to, for example, come to repentance over the initial lockout during their own prolonged 18-month lockout and make appropriate apologies and amends. They were aware of the facts involving the initial lockout. But they chose to ignore that information and, in effect, ‘rebuild’. Not even simply rebuild, but attempt to claim they have re-invented themselves. I doubt that will work. I sincerely hope that believers will look very critically at having any involvement with this group, especially anything involving their children (yes, they manage to insinuate themselves in many schools). I consider the effect of their music unhealthy.
If I am correct, this glossy sheen of new-found respectability will in time wear thin and the public will once again have no choice but to deal with the grisly reality at the core of this group. As long as Monostatos is being protected there, this is an organization that can only be called Anti-Mozart. And, as we are, artistically speaking, currently in the middle of what I call “Minnegeddon” (this being ‘PartDeux’ as post-MO lockout) — that is the time when all Anti-Mozart is revealed. And so it will be. I could be wrong. But I don’t think so…
*Mozart for Believers…
It is ironic and amazing to me how Gd can take a set of circumstances that seem almost hopeless and turn them into something wonderful. So it was long ago when I made a decision that, unfortunately, resulted in my children and I being sold into a kind of bondage. I had not been treated honestly, but by the time I understood what had happened, great harm had been done. I agonized over how to right the situation, and how to protect my children from any further negative effects related to this situation. I did my best. It wasn’t great.
But then, not long ago, something unusual happened. A 200M arts organization was brought to a grinding halt, it seemed to me, so that the damage done to me and my family could be corrected. And now that has happened. All this angst seems to be turning into a wonderful miracle of healing and light. And all of this battle, it seems to me, has been waged over the sound of a flute, a sound of light over darkness, of goodness over evil.
Minnesota is not even my chosen home — that would be the exquisite San Francisco Bay Area. But Minnesota is where the battleground is, and this is where I have stayed, gritting my teeth for six months of the year, facing a winter that always seems impossibly hostile.
But now my children are grown and love Minnesota, and I have a horse. The quality of my day is grounded more in whether or not he is comfortable and blanketed properly for it than for my own concern.
And so life has come full circle from that ominous day long ago. And there is so much goodness all around. Just another living testament to the fact that all works together for good…:-)
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…