Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mozart and Bird

Yikes, I am way behind on this Web log and have to catch up. I have been working on my book. Which is good, but I cannot stand one more day to see that picture of  Fred Mozart.

Let's post a picture of Wolfgang Mozart instead! Even if he was no movie star he is much easier on the eyes.

And this one, I don't care if it is inauthentic.

Howard alerted me the other day to this video of a bird singing the theme from "The Addams Family."

When I was through listening and laughing I was reminded of the bird that Mozart had. It was a starling, so said the music books, anyway, and it could sing the birdlike theme from the last movement of his 17th Piano Concerto.


 Did the bird come up with the theme, and he copied it, or did he come up with the theme and teach it to the bird? These are questions that will have to be answered. But now I have to get back to my book.

 Did the bird come up with the theme, and he copied it, or did he come up with the theme and teach it to the bird? These are questions that will have to be answered.

But now I have to get back to my book.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Mozart vaudeville circuit

Our homage to Don Mozart has smoked out memories of Fred Mozart the former fire-eater.

He started a vaudeville circuit called the Mozart Circuit!

Fred Mozart was brought to our attention by Prof. G, erudite font of music information and friend to this Web log. He learned about it in a book about vaudeville he got as a present. Whoever gave him that book, that is a good friend! Who would not want a book about vaudeville?

We are guessing that book is "No Applause, Just Throw Money."

Here is the excerpt on Google Books. Love the matter-of-fact way the info is presented. It simply refers to "the Mozart Circuit (founded by former fire-eater Fred Mozart) in Pennsylvania and New York."

We could not find a picture of Fred Mozart so instead up above is a picture of George Mozart. He was another vaudevillian. Wow, who knew there were all these Mozarts in vaudeville? I think Mozart himself would have gotten a kick out of it. I would imagine none of these vaudevillians was actually born with the name of Mozart although you never know. George Mozart's real name was David John Gillings.

Meanwhile, in honor of Mozart the fire-eater there is Mozart the fireplace.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The snow can stop now

 We have been seeing more sun these days. Well, I like to think we are! I saw a little bit of sun earlier today.

The other day I heard a mourning dove. I was on my way into the gym and stopped to make sure I heard it right. Yes! There it was again.

I mentioned this to the clerk at the gym as she signed me in but I do not think she knew what a mourning dove was. Hahahaha. It is not easy being smart! Sometimes it is lonely at the top.

I love the Mozart "Komm Lieber Mai" song because its words are about how long the winter is, which we here in Buffalo can identify with. The song also mentions winter pastimes like skiing and building houses of cards and how there gets to be a point when you are sick of them.

A lot of people can identify with this! It is no wonder this song has folk-song status in what we call the German-speaking lands. If you get on YouTube there are all kinds of amateur versions and versions with oddball instruments.

It is only March and we have a long time till May, but still.

Here is the song's translation so that all might enjoy.

Come, dear May, and make
The trees green again,
And let the little violets
Blossom by the brook!
How we'd like to see
A little flower again,
Ah, dear May, how we'd like
To go once for a walk.

It's true that winter days 
Bring many delights too,
We can trot in the snow
And play some evening games;
Build little houses of cards,
We play blind man's buff and off-ground tag,
There're sleigh races
On this dear free land.

Though, when the little birds are singing
And we're jumping, cheerful and nimble,
On the green lawns,
That's something else!
Now, my little baby horse
Has to stay here in the corner,
For, we can't go outside, in the garden,
Because of the dirt.

Ah, if only it were sweeter
And greener outside!
Come, dear May, we, children,
Do pray for you so much!
Oh, come and bring us all
Lots of violets,
Bring also lots of nightingales
And nice cuckoos!

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Mozart you never knew

It is interesting that there are other people named Mozart besides, well, Mozart.

And I am not talking about his great-grandfather in the Fuggerei, either!

There are others!

Take Don Mozart. That is his grave up above, not the big guy's.

I found Don Mozart while wasting a couple of minutes on Find a Grave, a Web site I love but almost never let myself visit because this is what happens.

Don Mozart, born in 1819, was a watchmaker. His life is like nothing you would believe. He emigrated with his parents to Boston, Mass., when he was 3, but was mysteriously kidnapped at 9 and taken out to sea. He made his way back to America seven years later but never found his parents.

His father was a watchmaker and Don Mozart ended up following in his footsteps. Oh, heck, I have to cut and paste. You just cannot duplicate Find a Grave's wording.

At 34, Don settled down, married and opened a jewelry store in Xenia, Ohio. Finding that retail was not to his liking he began spending most of his time experimenting and developing his horological inventions. Soon he closed his store and relocated to New York, then moved on to Connecticut as he strayed from watches to begin development of his complicated clock of which he held several patents, August 1859 and December 1863. All of this resulted in failure due to clock manufacture difficulties. 

After this brief interruption he moved again back to New York and his true love--watches. He invented a 3 wheel watch which was a cross between a lever and a chronometer. His idea was trashed while in Providence, RI and those involved began the New York Watch Company in a new location in Springfield, Mass circa 1866. Meanwhile Mozart moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan and incorporated the Mozart Watch Company in 1867. 

Alas, just like Wolfgang Mozart, this story does not end happily. All this information, by the way, apparently comes from a New York Times obituary.

On 2 December 1876, Mozart, at age 57, was working on improvements to his watches, and overtaxed his eye and brain by working night and day. Already stressed, he began worrying about problems with his jewelry store and business losses, which led to insanity. He was committed to the county mental hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was deemed incurable from his breakdown and was committed to the state hospital where he died in 1877.

Poor Don Mozart!

It is fascinating how they can tie his breakdown to a single day, Dec. 2. Also, that sounds weirdly like W.A., when they talk about overtaxing himself working night and day. It is like Wolfgang Mozart working on his Requiem! And we do not need to point out that Wolfgang Mozart was undergoing those final travails at that exact time of year. He died on Dec. 5.

Much, much to be ruminated on.

Unlike Wolfgang, at least Don Mozart was lucky enough to be buried where we can find him.