Thursday, February 23, 2012

For Mozart fans, a trip back in time

Luckily I did not give up surfing the Internet for Lent. Because I found something really cool.

It is the Mozart Society of America!

You can join it for $40 a year. I am so there. And here is another thing. You do not have to join the Mozart Society to take advantage of some of its amenities.

There are Mozart Resources Online.

And this is really great: You can tap into all these ancient biographies of Mozart! They are there, in their entirety, awaiting your perusal! Click on this link and then look on the right. There is this column with all these old books and papers listed. Click on any one and it will be there all written out for you.

I loved the name Thomas Busby so I clicked on his "Life of Mozart" (London, 1798).

Fascinating! You have to love the old language.

Life of Mozart,
The celebrated German Musician.
Among the illustrious individuals, who by their superior abilities have ornamented and improved the
world, how few have dared to defy the obstacles which envy, arrogance, and contending meanness
opposed to their progress! or indignantly to break the shackles which indigence imposes, and dart through
that obscurity too well calculated to scatter and quench the rays of genius!

And the ending:

Thus have I traced with a faithful though faint pencil, the prominent features of this eminent
musician. And the picture of a mind so highly qualified to ornament and delight society; a mind rich in
talent, cultivated by study, and recommended by a heart, amiable, liberal, and just, cannot fail to impress
the reader with an adequate idea of the exalted merits of Mozart. Drawing his attention with sage
indifference from the emptiness of superficial grandeur, and fixing his eye on real greatness, he will be
filled with those sentiments of respect and admiration ever due to such rare and shining productions of
China-terrace,   Vauxhall-road                                                                                 THOMAS BUSBY.

In between, such lines as:

"His mind was by no means unlettered..."

"But let me ask: had not the active and penetrating Joseph the ability better and less tardily to
appreciate the merits of a man so distinguished in genius and in science?" Busby is blaming Joseph II, the Kaiser, for not having made Mozart's life easier.

And I love this: "His auditors at all times listened to him with admiration: but whenever he played extempore, and indulged the spontaneous and uninterrupted sallies of his fancy, which he sometimes would for more than half an hour, every one was seized with the most enthusiastic raptures, and acknowledged the unrivalled resources of his imagination."

I cannot wait to work my way through these and see what I can find out that I did not know. It would be interesting for starters to see what they say about Mozart's death, what rumors were flying around then. Also it is interesting to see how that era viewed Mozart in contrast to Haydn, say, or Beethoven. Also to see how they viewed Mozart's Catholicism, and Freemasonry, things like that.

Things are referred to differently. In Busby's book "The Magic Flute" is "Le Flutte Enchantee." "The Abduction from the Seraglio" is "L'enlévement du Serail." Mozart himself is identified frequently in these early books as "Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart." Especially in the German books. A few of the books are in German.

I love to look at things through the windows of a different era.

What a resource!


  1. I think it is great to have kids learn how to play piano. From my own experience, it is a joy for a life time…not just for the kids who have learned how to play piano, but the people around. However, one important reminder is that you must be very careful about the kids eye-sight. My boy is near-sighted when he was 6 years. He started playing when he was 4 and spent lots of time. Reading piano music is quite tiring for young kids eyes. I suggest you provide adequate lighting when your kids are playing music. There are very good piano lamp or piano light you can find for both illumination and DECORATION purposes. You can see examples on and as an examples. There are also other brands. These two web sites have very good grand piano lamp as well.

  2. Mozart is so deeply sad, so full of sorrow and despair, because he is absolutely alone on the top of the highest mountain of geniuses. Nobody could reach him! His music conducts this sadness and despair(listen to Piano Concerto #23 2 mvt. and Violin concerto # 1 2 mvt.) to the listener and the same wants to travel back in time and to erase Mozart's solitude. How many people love him and feel unfairness of his contemporaries! Oh foolish people! You had rare opportunity to see, listen, love him and missed it! So great, so misunderstood until now! He went so ahead in the time but his time is not comming yet! Oh, Mozart! Excuse us, poor people! I think he is God's gift for mankind and when God understood that people were not evaluated this gift, he took him back!

  3. Anonymous, I do wonder how it felt to be in the original audiences for Mozart's music. The slow movement of the 23rd piano concerto that you mentioned.. you would not have heard anything before that sounded at all like that. It's not as if he were out to break rules, he just did everything so magnificently. It defies comprehension. And yes, I imagine it had to be sort of lonely for him.

  4. Loved reading this thannk you