Tag Archives: Minnegeddon

Minnegeddon — one day when ‘Monostatos’ (almost) told the truth…

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…



#MinnegeddonPartDeux — when all anti-Mozart is unmasked…

There are really only two kinds of people — those who get Mozart and those who don’t.  Many of those who don’t brazenly pretend to be Mozart experts — even taking to performing his music while holding him in contempt, using the music as some sort of victory banner, so to speak.  They arrogantly seem to think that they can do so without consequence.  After all, Mozart is the one who is dead, isn’t he? they think.  Many of those who detest Mozart are, in fact, extremely knowledgeable about his life and music.  They can tell you great detail about both — while missing the point of the unique position Mozart really represented.  

But now, at this time in the history of music, the two camps have separated. Just as the I35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis in 2007, the bridge of confusion seeming to connect the two groups has been destroyed.  Those who genuinely love Mozart and his music are protected by the glorious sound of die zauberflote; those who do not are camped on the other side — they get to face the cacaphony of the Night Magician and what one called his ‘riding-crop voice’ and try to pretend their lives will not be affected.  They sometimes even seeth with rage and grit their teeth as they try to find someway to escape the fate they are starting to understand that they may have brought upon themselves.  

And so, this is the essence of Minnegeddon, pre-MO lockout and MinnegeddonPartDeux, post lockout.  MinnegeddonPartDeux also includes in its scope the lockout of the Other Mozart by the cadre “Monostatos”, which has grown to include, it appears, those who attempted to turn the bridge tragedy into art, as well as a couple of area musical groups and some schools. Hopefully, by now all of those who are truly anti-Mozart are unmasked, so those around them can see for themselves what they are dealing with.  And perhaps for some there will be a bit of chastening, and a return to the glowing shelter of die zauberflote…

“The Other Mozart” — why a blog and not the Crowned Heads of Europe? :-0

There is so much known about Wolfgang Mozart’s life, but so little valid information about what he was like as a person.  Most people end up believing a lot of misconceptions about him.  Many of them are summed up in the movie “Amadeus,” which tends to focus on and even exaggerate his character defects.  The clear implication is that he didn’t ‘deserve’ to be so richly endowed with genius because he was in fact a nasty person.

To my mind, this is both unfair and wrong.  Mozart was shot out of a cannon at an early age onto the world stage.  He didn’t have a chance to grow up normally.  He knew his gifts were extraordinary, and he knew he had to work as quickly as possible with whatever time he had.  In short, I think he knew his own shortcomings better than anyone, but was determined to fulfill the mission given to him despite them, and in spite of the backbiting and negativity of his colleagues.

Ultimately, of course, the earthly voice of Mozart was silenced.  There is ample reason to believe his untimely death was not of natural causes.  Certainly, the contempt and deceit of his contemporaries served at the least to discourage him and shorten his days on earth.  His music was stolen away from him.  It was then even paraded like a banner by some who hated him, to try to show the world that they were as good as he was.  Many counterfeit or anti-Mozarts have tried to lay claim to being another Wolf. Nobody has succeeded.  They never will.

And so, here I am.  As I said to one of the ‘professional’ players of the MO,”I feel I have a drop of what Wolf had an ocean of.” (Excuse my grammar).  I believe that I can talk about his life from the inside, not the outside.  Every mistake he made has been of benefit to me.

People tend to think of Mozart as ‘exclusive’.  They seem to think he had a gift inaccessible to anyone else, and then they hated him for it. That is false.  Unfortunately, Wolf himself contributed to that lie.  So I am speaking to you with a simple voice, in a manner intended to be inclusive.  My family and friends can verify that there is absolutely nothing extraordinary about me.  In fact, they insist on telling me that frequently. :-0

I live an ordinary life and do very mundane (compared to Wolf) things.  I live simply.  I am passionate about my family, my friends, and my horse.  And every time I pick up the flute to play I am humbled, sometimes to the extent where I am unable to accomplish much at all.  And so, before most of you hear me play, before you learn more of “P2A”, I want you to know me as a person.  What better way than a blog? :-0

In addition, though my adversaries will undoubtedly disagree, I feel that it is in Gd’s plan for me to live in an out-of-the-way town in “the Heartland” of this country.  This is a gift for the ‘salt-of-the-earth’, the ‘common people’ who are just extraordinary in their kindness.  It is these people who have supported my children and me while  “Monostatos” did its best to lock me out and target my children.


#Minnegeddon — angst at its finest…but is it Mozart, or anti-Mozart? :-0

The locked out MO players have banded together with the almost-equally-distressed Minnesota Chorale this weekend, in a program of sadness — the Britten War Requiem and the piece most distasteful to Wolf in his last days — the Mozart Requiem:


It is ironic, of course, that the MO has a connection to the anti-Mozart movie “Amadeus”, in that the score was conducted by its then director, SNM, who reportedly was upset when he realized there was no Oscar category for a movie score not composed for the movie. 

It is also ironic that back in the 70’s the then-conductor SS, along with the help of the Board, decided to change the name of the treasured and highly-regarded Minneapolis Symphony to the “Minnesota Orchestra”.  Apparently, none of them had done their homework.  In fact, SS is known to claim that he ‘loves Mozart’ yet seems to have very little understanding of what the real Mozart was all about.  Hence, the new name of the MSO is quite similar to that of the wicked servant in Sarastro’s temple — Monostatos.  Ironically, too, of course, there was no “Minnesota” in 1791 when Mozart wrote his last major opera Die Zauberflote, so one might open the door to the possibility that Mozart was either psychic or a prophet.  

And then we have the saga of the MO, in which a handful of players decided (without bothering to inform the MOA) to try to entice the Other Mozart onto the stage at Orchestra Hall to practice, in order to make them a target for destruction.  All of the information regarding these events have been made available to all of the parties involved.  As yet, it seems that no one has, as yet, been able to see the forest for the trees.  And now we have the locked-out players appearing to prefer the highly controversial Mostly-Mozart Requiem of Wolf to providing a proper introduction for the living one which they continue to try to keep locked-out.  Irony, indeed….


#Minnegeddon — who should bear the angst of the Orchestra Hall rebuild?..s d reply…

I don’t recall a referendum for the citizens to vote on, per se, on the issue of the rebuild of orchestra hall. The MN legislature may have. I wrote to Gov. Pawlenty asking him to allow the uber rich patrons of the MO to take on the burden of the hall rebuild rather than the already overtaxed ordinary taxpayers of MN. Of course, that didn’t happen.



#Minnegeddon — Minnesota players or SOSMN begging for help opening the hall?

DA said, “Pamela, you seem to be implying that my statement above about SOSMN’s relationship with the Musicians is incorrect.”

If that is the case, you have missed the point I was attempting to make. My point is simply that distancing oneself from something where one wants to have some ‘plausible deniability’ seems a tad political. It makes one wonder if perhaps the public is supposed to perceive these actions as a ‘spontaneous uprising’, when in fact there may be a lot going on behind the scenes.


#Minnegeddon — Darkness in the tomb of the MOA

Despite the investment of tens of millions of dollars, Orchestra Hall remains dark for yet another New Year’s Day.  The place is silent, except for performances of those few who dare to face the wrath of the union and its players by performing there during the lockout.  Is there a lesson to be learned, other than the obvious one — that union and management must support each other no matter what the cost or both will go down in flames?

This situation calls to my attention the recollection of my experiences on the darkened stage, where, at one time, I was enticed and even encouraged to practice by a handful of the players.  The sound soared throughout the hall, from pieces not only from the flute repertoire, but from the violin as well.  Players crept onto the stage to say remarkable things, then slink into the background to whisper behind my back.

At the time I was convinced doors would open for me and die zauberflote. How could they not — didn’t everyone love Mozart? But, sadly, that was not the case — not only does it turn out the real Mozart (not the fictional “Amadeus” version) was almost universally despised — but that he was perhaps even murdered, to blot out the extra gift he had that no one told him about.

I recall wondering at the time if music was really about a battle between light and darkness.  It seemed the darkness was trying to blot out the light.  Perhaps those who played Mozart’s music while secretly holding him in contempt blotted out at least some of that extra gift?

But then, after this big organization ground to a halt, I began to wonder if it was possible there was a connection between that lockout and what happened to me some time ago on that stage.  And I began to wonder, if light were to triumph over darkness, that is — if what people recall of the old Orchestra Hall might not be that at one time I practiced there?

#Minnegeddon…What about those the players have locked out?

As we enter this new year with excitement and perhaps a bit of trepidation, we find ourselves almost automatically in sympathy with anyone who is without work in their chosen field.  And so it is with any musician locked-out of their place of work, unable to fulfill the contract they believed would provide them with a steady income.  And so we should.  Nevertheless, is there even more to a situation such as this than what we are being told?

The public tends to view professional musicians as gentle, giving souls who have sacrificed all for their art.  The reality, however, can be a bit more grisly.  First of all, anyone who starts their employment by having not only to fight their way to succeed over countless other contenders, must then fit in perfectly with a pre-existing organization led by a conductor who makes ordinary micro-managing look blase.  In other words, these players are on the firing line every day.  While they may love to tell the public how soothing and uplifting the music is that they perform, the fact is that much of it, in a large ensemble anyhow, is far too loud for most ears, and can even create permanent damage.

To be realistic — these people are tough as nails.  They have no choice.  If they were not, they would fail.  One of them even said to me, “You have to have the killer instinct to survive in this business.”  Yet these are the people we welcome into our schools, blissfully turning our children over to their tender care and instructions, proud that we have managed to give our child lessons with a professional musician.  The truth is, some of these people are hardly angels.  They may choose to teach one student and refuse to teach another (while keeping your money).  They may even appear to nurture those with ‘promise’ while doing their best to weed out any potential competition.  They may have such little self-esteem that they could even deliberately try to lead a potential star of music astray.  One would certainly hope most players would never behave in an unethical manner, but if even a handful did, must we not do our due diligence and ask about those they may have themselves locked out? How much concern did they give to those people the players themselves may have locked-out?  What about the children of those people?

#Minnegeddon and Die Zauberflote…a bit puzzling…

With the ongoing angst of the MO lockout still not yet resolved, it seems just a bit curious that those professionals who have experienced what they have called ‘the real magic flute’ personally continue to stay mum about the possibility that there is a connection between it and the lockout.  Has anyone even bothered to wonder if this difficult situation is not just an act of fate, but perhaps a consequence of events that happened some time ago, some of them even on the stage at Orchestra Hall?  Just a thought…