Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Since it IS his 250th

Since it IS Mozart's 250th,

Misconceptions and Fun Facts about Mozart

Misconception no. 1: Mozart was penniless a poor money-manager. False. Mozart's spent much of his time paying his wife's medical bills and sending money back to his father and sister. His father was constantly giving him guilt-trips telling him things like "well I guess you don't mind that your father is going around with holes in his socks." He was strapped for cash but not penniless. He did this without scoring an important court-position nearly his whole life, all the while avoiding a Church appointment. When he finally nailed a minor court appointment he made the equivalent of 50k a year. He made money other ways. His Operas brought in some good cash-flow. He taught students and all his piano sonatas were written for students. He wrote 27 piano concertos. One piano concerto paid for a years rent. He wrote 27 and didn't make it to 40 years old. At times, he gave his money away freely but that hardly makes him the financial failure he has been made out to be.

Misconception no. 2: Salieri Killed Mozart. False. I loved that movie but that part wasn't true. The reason for his death is still a mystery. Some sort of fever and the bleeding that took place didn't help much. However, Salieri did go to the end of his life denying that he killed him.

Misconception no. 3: Mozart was buried in an unmarked paupers grave. False. Mozart was buried in a common grave according to the laws of the state at the time, not because he was dirt-poor and couldn't afford a crypt or tomb. It was raining so no one saw the actual place of burial. Some DNA testing has been done but it has been to no avail.

Fun Facts:

Mozart was believed to be less than 5 feet tall. Short little booger.

Mozart LOVED billiards and was very competitive.

Mozart was a potty-mouthed. He wrote dirty poop-joke letters to his sister all the time to gross her out. Normal brother stuff.

Mozart wasn't really in love with his wife. His true love was his cousin and they couldn't be married. Jerry Lee Lewis anyone?

Mozart did have a High and extremely audible cackle of a laugh. People could hear it in a crowd of laughter or coming down the hallway.

Mozart used his musical ability to tell a woman that stood him up for a date that he was displeased with her. He sat down at the paino at her home before starting her sister's lesson and improvised a short aria with these words sung at the top of his little lungs. "Any woman who doesn't love me can kiss my ass and its hole as well" (told you he was potty mouthed)

Mozart taught Beethoven a lesson a time or two. At first Mozart was unimpressed. (It took alot to impress him) Beethoven was a crude pianist, very noisy. Beethoven picked up on the yawning, decided to take action if he was to be accepted as a student and asked Mozart if he would give him a theme to improvise upon. Mozart was at first skeptical. It was well known that Mozart could out-improvise any living pianist so the 18-year-old Beethoven asking to impress him by improvisation was a bold move. It would be like a young basketball player asking Micheal Jordan if he could impress him with his slam-dunk. In the end Mozart obliged and was floored at Beethoven's improvisational abilities. He immediately ran into his billiards room to get his friends waiting on him to finsh and made Beethoven play the whole thing over. His famous statement was "Watch out for this one, he will make a great splash in the world" Some think this statement a myth but it is fun to believe nonetheless. Beethoven had to quit lessons because his mother was sick and near death.

One of my favorite scenes from the movie Amadeus.


Lexie Ward said...

I read in his biography that he was actually going to marry his wife's sister at one time before he wed his actual bride.
The story about Beethoven makes sense. I'll bet Mozart, for all his talent, was very egotistical. Some brilliant people are. They just can't help it.

Lexie Ward said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen said...

Seth, have you seen this site: This group paid $400,000 for the digital-publication rights to all of Mozart's scores, and put them all online for free. The response has been much more than expected so far, so the site has been down a lot. But it looks pretty cool, from what I've seen.

Seth Ward said...

Yeah, before he married his wife he was hot on her older sister Aloysia. She gave him the shoulder and he married her younger sister.

His first real love, Solomon thinks was his cousin. In the love letters to her, you see Mozart as truly himself, totally vulnerable and real. Completely and hoplessly, passionately in love. (remindes me of some other letters I found one time)

There is this incredible biography written by Maynord Solomon called "Mozart, a Life" It is hands down the best biography I have ever read. He is a musicologist AND a psychologist. He takes all of the letters and and is able to really delve into the personalites and the situations with a thrilling insight.

I couldn't put the sucker down.

Stephen. I didn't know about that site! How cool is that? The Jupiter Symphony and the Figaro score are ones that I love to study. The last mvt of the Jupiter symphony is about the most amazing thing ever. He was really getting into counterpoint near the end -something that was out of style at the time. The fugues of Bach were considered old fashioned. However, a few years before he croaked Mozart recieved a copy of the Well Tempered Clavier by Bach and was transcribing the fuges for quratet before he died.

You can see a real Bach and Handel influence in the later works. The Kyrie fugue from the Requiem is a melody found in the counterpoint of Handel's "And by his Stripes" from the Messiah, another score he fell in love with near the end. The unfinished piano fantasy in d minor is modeled after the Bach fantasias. It is one of my favorite Mozart Keyboard works. It is too bad that he never wrote any of his other fantasies down. Evidently he would just sit around and improvise fantasies and fugues to his wife because she liked them. It was because of her prompting him to write it down that we have the one that we have now. (there are two or three but one of the ones in c minor is not really Mozart. He only scetched the first 3 or 4 bars of the piece and someone else finished it.)