Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The bug that got Mozart

Today thanks to the London Telegraph and my alert Twitter friends I see there is a new story about how Mozart died. He died from a "super bug," scholars now think, that was spread by soldiers.

That is Mozart above in a painting I love by Anton Romako. Hmmm, I am sitting here reading that Romako link. What a curiously sad life he led. He died in poverty like Mozart. Well, I love that picture.

Back to Mozart. This is weird but I have never been that curious as to what Mozart died from. To me it is a miracle that anyone in the 18th century lived past the age of 3.

And, I mean, can't someone die just of a conglomeration of things? I am sure that back then people could and did.

What I cannot stop thinking about this morning is this one viola quintet the radio happened to play lastnight. The slow movement. That melody that begins right before the one-minute mark.

That is a sweet old recording with William Primrose. There is a part of my book about him because Leonard Pennario worked with him and Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky. That shows Primrose's stature. Heifetz and Piatigorsky went out and got the greatest musicians they could. On piano they got Pennario and on viola they got Primrose.

The recording I heard lastnight was less holy and more overtly passionate. I think it was that Takacs Quartet. I think that is what the radio said.

Such rapturous music. It can be whatever you want it to be.

To think of all Mozart achieved before the super bug got him.

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