Tuesday, May 31, 2005

SALZBURG: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Everywhere you go in Salzburg, at least in Old Town, Mozart (1756-1791) beckons you: to buy his chocolate Mozartkugeln (= Mozart balls!), ride his bus, buy his souvenirs, and listen to his music. For the natives, Salzburg is Mozart. Salzburg is NOT The Sound of Music to them, even though one in eight tourists is American and is probably there because of the movie (but that's another post).

Mozart was born on the fourth floor in this modest house (below left) on Getreidegasse No. 9, the most frequently visited place in the city (up to 5000 visitors every day in high season). His mother bore 7 children here, of which only two lived--Mozart and his sister, Nannerl, 5 years older (back to her in a minute). The Mozart Monument (below right) was inaugerated in 1842 and was attended by Mozart's 2 sons, Carl Thomas and Franz Xaver.

We couldn't resist a candlelight dinner-concert in Salzburg's magnificent Hohensalzburg Fortress on Sunday (another post for that castle alone!) to hear Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, one of his most famous works, along with some Haydn and Dvorak. The chamber concert was cozy for maybe 200 of us. As you can see, we were close enough, in the second row, to watch the great camaraderie amongst the 7 players. A night to remember forever. BTW, Mozart's given name on January 27, 1756, was Johannes Chrisostomus Wolfgangus Theophilius Mozart. Thank God they called the 1984 movie simply Amadeus, the name Mozart called himself from age 14 on! He died in 1791 at the young age of 35. Makes me want to see the movie again.

Now, a brief word about Mozart's sister, Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart, called Nannerl. She also was a composer and a pianist and played many duets with Amadeus in their touring years together. However, because of the place/role of women in that day, her performance life basically came to an end at 16 when she was of marriageable age. According to what we read in the Mozart museum, none of her compositions were kept. Since she, too, had been considered a Wonder-Child, it makes you ponder what her concerts would have been like!

I told Donica that while we're playing W.A. Mozart on earth, God is playing Nannerl Mozart in heaven! Sounds fair to me.

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