Sunday, July 11, 2010

Joseph and his brothers

One more thing about "Amadeus" and then I promise we will drop it and go on to something else.

It is funny how you can dwell long and hard on Mozart and Salieri and their respective characters. There are people in life who are the Mozarts (not many of them admittedly) and people in life who are the Salieris.

However this also occurs to me:

There are a lot of people who are Joseph II's!

You know Kaiser Joseph II in this movie. Well, they call him "Emperor" in the play because what with everyone's historical ignorance these days, people get all bent out of shape over the word Kaiser. But Joseph II was the Kaiser (Kaiser being German for "Caesar," the way the Russians say "Czar") and Mozart wrote the Kaiser song about him.

Ha, ha! I love the line "Constantinople werde mein!" Meaning, if I were the Kaiser, Constantinople would be mine. That city would come with its problems, you have to say that. There is also "Die gold'ne Zeiten fuehrt ich ein!" "I would usher in the golden age." I love that too.

I also love the voice of that singer. Ezio Maria Tisi. I have never heard of him.

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's voice sounds so light in comparison. We are having a Kaiser Song sing-off here!

Back to Joseph II. He is a marvelous character. In the movie he is played by Jeffrey Jones, pictured at the top of this post. Joseph II's signature phrase is a quiet: "Well, there it is." I remember when the movie came out that was a big hit and people would go around saying that.

Joseph II is a music lover and supports music and is, I believe, a genuinely good guy. However after a point he just does not get it.

We all know people like that! Greatest people in the world, but they honestly cannot tell why Mozart is better than, oh, Michael Haydn. Or, for that matter, Salieri! Such as the classical radio station announcer I heard once blithely telling us that if we heard Mozart and Salieri side by side we would not be able to tell the difference. She was not an idiot or anything. She was a Joseph II!

You do not want to argue with the Joseph II's in your life because they are so charming and they are big supporters of the arts and what the heck, we love them anyway. There are also Joseph II's in other areas: painting, literature, whatever. Sometimes they are your boss, the way Joseph II was in effect Mozart's boss.

There will always be Joseph II's and when you run into them there is only one thing to say:

Well, there it is.


  1. Hmmm--Jeffrey Jones--born in Buffalo.
    Also, unfortunately, a convicted sex offender.
    You can't have everything, I guess.

  2. Ward, ach du lieber! I did not know that!

  3. I'd like to know the offense...these convictions cover a lot of ground, but the stigma is the same. Now that I think of it, back in my single days I can think of a platoon of women I knew who found the idea of sex with me offensive, which, I guess makes me a sex offender. It's all in the spin.