Tag Archives: Wolfgang Mozart

Songs from the darkened stage at Orchestra Hall…(or Mr. Heifetz and me…)…:-0

Long ago, when my flute lessons took place at Orchestra Hall, my teacher, the then-Principal Flute, Sid Zeitlin, would turn me loose to practice on the darkened stage afterward.  “Monostatos” did that as well, once or twice a month.  Needless to say, it was a heady experience.  Apparently whoever was playing on stage was piped throughout the building.  I didn’t let that bother me. The sound of the flute with the acoustics at OH was sufficiently fascinating to take the edge off of any discomfort.  However, as if by some sort of dark magic, players would crawl out from the woodwork to attempt to insinuate themselves into my life through flattery.  I learned later that they were slandering me behind my back.  Such is the life when one is born with a target on their back. :-0

For as long as I can remember I cherished every recording I could find made by Jascha Heifetz.  My parents went to hear him once, at the Stratford Theatre in Connecticut, and refused to take me with them.  It took me years to forgive them for that. That sound, that grace, those chops.  I was mesmerized.  When I began to play the flute seriously I realized that I wanted to play it as though it were a violin.  I began to dream of somehow becoming one of Heifetz’ students, but even I realized that he would probably balk at having to deal with a flute player (or, more likely, roll his eyes and fall on the floor laughing) :-0 I would have been deliriously happy as a gofer, just sitting on the floor and listening to him play and teach, actually. I even had family in the LA area. I had everything figured out, I thought.  I had the privilege of hearing one of Heifetz students perform the Haffner Serenade with the Minnesota Orchestra.  The exquisite quality of Adam Han-Gorski’s sound and technique brought me to tears.  Heifetz, the master, had done his job well.  I tried to convince Mr. Zeitlin to write a letter of introduction to Heifetz for me, but he declined.  So I wrote to him on my own.  But a few months later he was dead, and my dreams were crushed forever.

So now I own the Complete Heifetz, and can honestly say that I have listened to virtually everything he ever recorded.  The whole is far more patchy than the parts — in pieces where I would have expected him to be brilliant, he might sound annoyingly ordinary.  Some of the itsy bitsy’s he so loved just make me grit my teeth. Some of his playing seemed stilted, as though he had not quite found the soul of the piece but was playing it anyway.  Some of his playing (horrors!) sounded even ordinary.  But on the whole I found I had uncovered one of the mysteries of his mastery — that when he learned a piece, he owned it, as though he were the composer.  Not only did he know every nuance of style and phrasing, but he understood the architecture of the piece.  He structured his performances so that there was only one real climax per movement.  His playing was never flashy, it was always in proportion to the music.

I have heard it said (when he was alive many people said this) that Heifetz’ playing was ‘cold’.  That, I feel, is another of his mysteries.  Heifetz was from Vilnius, in Lithuania.  He had the heart of a gypsy, but his playing was cool and his style eminently classical.  Because the fire was controlled, it shone through the cool technique.  The result was, as we know, simply breathtaking.  During the years after that, when my chidren and I were locked out of Monostatos’ Orchestra, I found, as one of the clique I call “Monostatos” was a string player, that I could not longer tolerate the sound of stringed instruments.  Except for Heifetz.  During all the times of struggle and disappointment, his music was my lifeline.  It still is.  I do listen to other string players now, and recently enjoyed Hillary Hahn’s new recording of the Mozart V#5.  She is splendid, and the recording is wonderful.  Then I said, “Hmmm…how did Heifetz interpret this piece?”  Different — light and delicate, yet with considerable power and speed.  Flawless…

So, back to the darkened stage, where, at that time, I practiced not only the Mozart flute concerti, the Neilsen, the Khat, Bach, etc…but also parts of the Mendelssohn, the Brahms, even the Tchiakovsky. During the next few weeks I plan to record excerpts from some of those pieces.  Stay tuned…:-)


And by the way…

On this auspicious day I am adding a new blog — the Other Mozart… http://theothermozart.wordpress.com/  On this blog I will be focusing on looking at the life of Wolfgang Mozart from a different perspective…well, mine.  I will be exploring the nebulous topic of Wolfgang Mozart as a Christian; something that is rarely tackled.  I will be including posts with a Bible slant, and label them so (MFB– Mozart for Believers)…and hopefully I will make some inroads in defining my unique position, which seems, in many instances, to be akin from living inside an opera…well, ahem…yes…

Wolfgang Mozart — How many other musicians came with venticelli? How about a vortex?

Wherever Wolfgang Mozart went he seemed to create controversy.  It seemed people either loved him or hated him.  Most tended to fall into the latter category.  As he began to take over the territory previously owned by the ‘older, established composers’ the tumult became even worse.  He could not possibly have composed an opera as a teen-ager, they said.  Surely, Leopold must have composed it for him.  They seemed to forget that in all his days Leopold had never composed an opera attributed to himself.  

The minute Wolf would arrive in a town, the word went out.  Whispers began.  What would he do?  What would he say?  What outrageous piece would he compose today?  How would he, by inference, humiliate his peers who struggled to compose and edit while he tossed off pieces he seemed to pull out of his head?  

And this is how the vortex began.  The whispers of the venticelli turned into a general agreement that something must be done.  This obnoxious overlord had to be stopped.  And so they banded together in agreement over his demise.  They treated him as though he were already dead.  Then they waited for something to happen.  Every time he moved, every time he stumbled, they rejoiced.  And they lay in wait. The vortex of slander grew larger as Wolf became more vulnerable.  He succumbed to the vortex of the evil eye, and they rejoiced.  They stole his music to parade like a banner — they had defeated the great one, the one who could not be imitated because of a unique gift of shalom which caused them to gnash their teeth.  They could perform Wolf’s music using their energy and remain unscathed from its effects.  Or so they believed…

It’s always the ‘little horn’…or what actually happened to Wolf and why…

If you are reading my posts and find yourself tempted to ask, ‘who does this person think she is?’ I would ask you to just bear with me for a moment.  And, if you are interested, ask why, when so many people have heard die zauberflote, you have yet to hear of me from them…

It is a fairly accepted concept that when someone is doing something really different they are likely to attract a lot of flak.  In fact, it may seem that all sorts of odd people even crawl out of the woodwork to try to stop the change.  This is what happened with Mozart.  Due to an ineffable quality of his personality, that we also hear in his music, and which has been labeled “the Mozart effect”, he created controversy wherever he went.  It didn’t matter what he did or what he said.  His mere presence in a room was sufficient to create a vortex of energies. He had a tendency to polarize people — a few ‘got’ him and were astounded by his gifts; the rest despised him and slandered him at virtually every opportunity.  Since much of this antipathy occurred behind Wolf’s back, he was unable to assess the potential for damage to his good name and credibility and takes steps to protect himself.  In addition, he had an annoying habit of being ‘right’ about everything connected to music.  He was on a mission where he did seem to sense he had to move as quickly as possible, and naively believed others would understand that and have some empathy, not to mention respect, for his advice.  

It is my thinking that it was not until toward the end of his life that Mozart began to understand what he was up against.  In fact, there was virtually no one whom he could trust to look out for him.  Certainly not the sweet little wife, Constanze, always so helpful, such a saint, so patient with him.  I doubt that there was a more dedicated antagonist in Wolf’s life than his wife.  They were separated during those last months, due to her needing more treatment at a spa for health issues.  But was she sympathetic to him, or watching and waiting for the poison she doled out daily in tiny doses when they were together to take hold? 

In the Bible, it is the ‘little horn’ who becomes the most wicked Anti-Christ.  It is someone who stays in the background, appears to follow all the rules, appears to be a team member, but who has a hidden agenda, that can create the most confusion in the end.  And so I think it was with Mozart…

#Minnegeddon — Piper to the Alternative Scoring…

At this point it seems almost inevitable that the soundtracks for the earlier episodes of P2A will consist of new music, perhaps in the style of those who end up with Wolf in the room on Rauhensteingasse in “Vienna Mystery”.  However, it is my thinking at this time that there is only one piece of music that would be appropriate for the epilogue, currently called “Revenge of the Mozarts” — and that is the Requium that he was forced, by need of money, to write under another’s name.  Although Wolf was not allowed to live long enough to complete it — he was, in fact, digging his own grave in composing it, and was aware of that — there are many ideas and motifs that accurately represent not only his sublime musicianship, but his character and attitude at what seemed inevitably to be the approach of an untimely death.  

Wolfgang Mozart and Salzburg, Austria…

We all know that Wolf was born in Salzburg, and grew to hate it.  He left for Vienna when he was able, and never returned. However, the story of why Wolf lived such a short life may have a connection to his relationship to Salzburg.  How?  Let me explain.

When Leopold realized that he had not one (Nannerl) but two child prodigies in his family, he looked around and despaired at what he saw.  Salzburg was out-of-the-way, provincial, dull.  It grew very cold in the winter.  How could a loving Gd possibly give him such amazing children and expect them to grow up and flourish in such a place?  He was deeply offended by the shortcomings that Salzburg presented.  

Leopold knew that his children represented the royalty of music.  Why not then present them to royalty of this world?  They were the best, so only the best for them would do.  With all the earnest zeal of the children’s greatest mentor, he pushed them onto the world scene.  He demanded that the world pay attention to them.  He refused to allow them to be ignored and die forgotten in Salzburg.  He was adamant that this is what Gd would want.  

Unfortunately, as history shows, Leopold’s vision was false.  His family became divided, turning on one another.  His daughter’s gifts became forgotten as excitement over Wolf’s increased.  In a last desperate trip to find Wolf a permanent spot at court, Maria Anna died in Paris.  Leopold held Wolf responsible.  It was easier to do that than look inward and acknowledge that it was his plan that had brought on destruction of his family.  Arrogance and pride held sway, and he never managed to apologize for Wolf for his mistaken vision.

In fact, the truth was right under their noses.  Being Catholic, they didn’t spend much time with the Bible.  In fact, the probably expected the priests to tell them everything they needed to know about it.  Had they looked within, they might have noticed a statement about ‘the salt of the earth’.  Salzburg was just that.  A town with a great salt mine that produced salt for the entire region.  It seems to go down for miles.  At the bottom is a lake.  A symbol of the depths of human character.

What if Gd wanted the Mozarts to be what they were — common people, ‘salt-of-the-earth’?  What if Nannerl and Wolf’s gifts had been allowed to mature in a small-town environment, away from the ridicule and gossip of the courts?  What if Wolf had been able to mature emotionally instead of being stuck in the role of an immature and conditioned puppet? Might Leopold have been able not only to assess the height of Wolf’s gifts, but also their depth?  



Comparison of a the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s last major opera, The Magic Flute and Mildred Payne in Piper to the Alternative…

Perhaps the most extraordinary role in Mozart’s beloved singspiel The Magic Flute is the star-flaming Queen of the Night.  Her arias soar with the most exquisite tenderness or viciousness.  It almost seems at times that there are two very different Queen of the Nights — the tenderhearted Queen terrified of the fate of her abducted daughter Pamina or the vengeful Queen, ordering Pamina to kill her stepfather Sarastro or be damned to hell.  Mozart, in fact, received some criticism that the character of the QOTN was not clearly defined.  Nonetheless, one way or another, everything comes to a stop when she appears on the stage. She is simply unforgettable.

Mildred Payne is the character who represents the QOTN in Piper to the Alternative.  She is not a queen by birth, but has great aspirations.  She charms everyone she meets and then manipulates them to her own ends.  She is not a great beauty, but manages to convince everyone that she is.

In TMF, the QOTN has three handmaidens.  In P2A, she has a couple of wannabees…:-0


Why Mozart was killed…

Yes, I do believe he was done away with.  No, I don’t think it was Salieri.  Mozart said he felt as though he was being poisoned.  He even described the type of poison he thought had been used — agua toffana.  But what possible motive would there be for getting rid of Mozart?  What threat did he present?

For one, he had an unusual gift (no, not those of musical genius per se) that caused great consternation in anyone who actually knew him.  There was something about him that was ‘different’, and it was something more or other than simply his gifts.  It is what I call a gift of “shalom”.  Someone else has labeled it in his music as “The Mozart Effect”.  We all know what that means — we listen to his music and cannot help but become at least a bit more centered and relaxed, if not happier and emotionally stronger.  This gift as we hear it in his music is what makes Mozart’s music the most exciting music there is.  In real life, however, there was more to this gift than what we can hear in his music.  There was a sort of challenge of energies, so to speak, between him and those around him.  He set people on edge.  He was disliked.  He was considered obnoxious.  He didn’t help himself because he thought he was protecting these priceless gifts of musical talent.  But this extra gift that he had managed to turn his birth family upside down and destroy his family relationships.  He was virtually disinherited by Leopold. His Mother died tragically on his watch.  His sister and his wife are buried at opposite ends of Salzburg.

This gift of “shalom” had a connection to creating substance.  Of course he thought that if he composed enough great music he would be rewarded with ample resources as a result.  That was not the case.  It was more complex than he realized, due to the unusual qualities of this gift.  This gift of ‘shalom’ could only work in his favor if he held no negative thoughts.  We can see from all his letters that he was intensely critical, at times to the point of arrogance — more of the music of others, but also, by inference or directly, of the people themselves.

So the negativity worked against Wolf, as did his arrogant assumption that he understood “God” and that he was a good servant.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He was Catholic, indoctrinated with all the dark mysteries of that false gospel.  He became a mason — darkness and mystery to the extreme.  Spiritually speaking, he was living in a counterfeit world.  Only his music was honest.

At the same time, Wolf was an exploited child, conditioned at an early age to give adults (namely Leopold) what they wanted.  He operated on rote as an adult as a result.  So it is possible that he was too immature and frightened to analyze what was going on in his mind in regards to money.  I doubt that he did.  So here he was with this great gift, but one that could only be used for good — and his ego was weighing it down.  He lived at the center of a vortex.  Those around him realized that if they could trip him up and slander him, they could, in effect, steal money from this gift of his.  And so the noose tightened.  He became surrounded by what I would call an “evil eye” — a group of people in agreement to his murder.

And so it happened.  His music was, in effect, stolen by those who performed it pretending to be him.  And these murderers and their descendants have continued this practice for over 250 years.  They claim, because of this, that they have stolen the “Mozart G’zillions” that, had he used his gift properly, could have belonged to him.

“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.