Dittersdorf, Not Beethoven is the Ideal Biopic Subject

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Ralph
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Dittersdorf, Not Beethoven is the Ideal Biopic Subject

Post by Ralph » Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:45 am

From The New York Times:

November 19, 2006
Passing the Baton
Beethoven as Popcorn Idol
By DANIEL J. WAKIN

THE new movie “Copying Beethoven” has one of the great musical highlight reels — a visually stunning performance of the monumental Ninth Symphony, shrunk to about 10 minutes. The piece ends with Beethoven’s audible heartbeats and the sight of a soundless ovation from the point of view of the deaf composer-conductor. Beethoven is turned toward the audience, and the soundtrack activates into clapping and cheering. You want to yell, “It’s the ultimate feel-good musical!”

But this movie, given its limited release and lukewarm reviews, might end up being as memorable as “Wellington’s Victory” (a forgotten symphony composed by none other than Beethoven). It is unlikely to achieve the status of “Amadeus,” the film that left millions with an iconic — if to some distorted — image of Mozart.

As one of the titanic figures of Western culture, though, Ludwig surely deserves his own “Amadeus.” Why has no movie captured the imagination of the masses on his behalf?

It’s not for lack of trying. But there may be something about the nature of the Beethoven myth, and the bare facts of his biography, that challenges fictionalization in a way the Mozart myth doesn’t.

“There is something untouchable about Beethoven, isn’t there?” said Richard Kramer, a musicologist at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. It is difficult, he said, to get past his image as champion of the joyful, universal brotherhood enshrined in the Ninth’s last movement and its “Ode to Joy.”

Among the many composer biopics, at least a dozen have featured Beethoven. They are mostly obscure movies, dating to the silent era. This latest entry, “Copying Beethoven,” is about a young, improbably female scribe who helps Beethoven prepare his Ninth. Perhaps its best-known predecessor is “Immortal Beloved” (1994), an episodic account of the search for the mysterious subject of a love letter written by the composer.

Like “Copying Beethoven,” which was directed by Agnieszka Holland and features Ed Harris in a killer wig, “Immortal Beloved” hits on the main themes: Beethoven’s deafness, his conflicted relationship with his nephew, Karl, the iconoclastic Ninth, genius as a license to be a jerk. Consider this line, uttered by Beethoven to a young lady piano pupil: “Your lack of passion is unforgivable. I shall have to beat you.” Her playfully proffered hand gets a hard smack.

Turned around, the issue may not be the lack of the ultimate Beethoven film but the success of “Amadeus” as a piece of filmmaking — it is based on a brilliant play by Peter Shaffer, about the nature of genius, and has the direction of Milos Forman. It also has the benefit of a great legend — that Salieri killed Mozart — and an earthy, profane yet transcendent central character.

Maynard Solomon, a biographer of both Mozart and Beethoven, said “Amadeus” tapped into a “fundamental myth” about the jealousy of Salieri, a mediocrity, over the genius of the “eternal child” touched by God. Beethoven’s myth is altogether different. “The heroic myth never really reaches us on a personal basis,” he said, “but the ‘Amadeus’ myth does.”

That myth-making began early on. Schumann wrote in 1841 that the mere sound of Beethoven’s name “has the ring of eternity.”

John C. Tibbetts, the author of “Composers in the Movies: Studies in Musical Biography” (Yale University Press, 2005), wonders if filmmakers would do better to focus on Beethoven the revolutionary, the challenger of the aristocracy, the creator of art forms, or the iconoclast. They could even focus on the more socially adept young man.

“It would be fun to see a movie about a young rascal Beethoven,” said Dr. Tibbetts, who introduced the Holland film at a screening in Chicago. “Maybe people just can’t quite shake that mythic image.”

Other specifics of Beethoven’s life do not make it easy for filmmakers. Beethoven’s relationships with women were fraught. He loved several but had no lasting bonds, and his sexuality is strangely inaccessible, Dr. Kramer said. In his music, “he’s passionate about some things, but you don’t get the voyeur’s sense of entering into Beethoven’s erotic zones.”

The matter of Beethoven’s nephew, too, does not lend itself to Hollywood romanticizing, although there is a 1988 movie called “Beethoven’s Nephew.” Beethoven waged a long, ugly battle with his brother’s widow for custody of her son, Karl. His obsessive relationship became destructive for both men. The story is not pretty.

It is hard enough for movies to delve into the lives of artists, where the central action often happens inside their skulls, but one of the signature themes of Beethoven’s biography — a composer who goes deaf — does not lend itself to movie dialogue. In “Copying Beethoven,” the composer’s deafness seems to turn on and off depending on the scene. In “Immortal Beloved,” characters write their words on a slate for Gary Oldman’s Beethoven to read; then they read them aloud for the benefit of the audience. The effect is to slow the action.

Maybe Beethoven’s personality, or at least his reputation, makes him a less attractive subject. “There’s too much lore about his ill temper and unsociability,” said Theodore Albrecht, a musicologist at Kent State University. Actually, Dr. Albrecht said, Beethoven turns out to have been quite a sociable man earlier in his life, and a friend to fellow professionals.

Dr. Albrecht also pointed out that the source material for Mozart’s inner life, and the world of his family and friends, is much richer than Beethoven’s. Mozart and his relatives — especially his father, Leopold — were prodigious letter writers who existed in a literary milieu. “Beethoven was in a very practical musical community and family.” With Beethoven, Dr. Albrecht said, the letters are fewer and more businesslike. Beethoven does have the conversation books, which friends used to communicate with him, but there is little in them from Beethoven himself, and not much in the 137 notebooks has been translated into English.

Maybe one day there will be an iconic film, perhaps about the rebel Beethoven, the vulnerable Beethoven, the young lion Beethoven.

“But what makes this man interesting to the world,” said Lewis Lockwood, a professor of music at Harvard University and a Beethoven biographer, “is the music he wrote.”
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Post by Jack Kelso » Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:17 am

Good article, Ralph. Thanks for sharing it.

But where does Dittersdorf come in?

I like his stuff, too----about as well as Franz Danzi, our own "Maestro". He was born in my town of Schwetzingen, Germany.....now (after some prodding from me and other music-lovers) they've gone and named a square after him ("Franz-Danzi-Platz").

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by SamLowry » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:21 am

I suggest that the writer of the article should have placed the word "mediocrity" describing Salieri in quotes to help in "busting" myths from the movie Amadeus.

I hope they make a movie soon about Dittersdorf. I'm worried that Tim Conway isn't getting enough work.

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Post by Ralph » Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:53 pm

The word is that either Jude Law or Sean Penn will have the leading role in the Dittersdorf biopic that Spielberg is producing.
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Post by Lance » Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:00 pm

Ralph wrote:The word is that either Jude Law or Sean Penn will have the leading role in the Dittersdorf biopic that Spielberg is producing.
I've just heard from Steve Spielberg asking for ideas about music by Dittersdorf to incorporate into the film. I've put him on to you ... so please give him your best.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
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rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Post by Ralph » Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:40 pm

Lance wrote:
Ralph wrote:The word is that either Jude Law or Sean Penn will have the leading role in the Dittersdorf biopic that Spielberg is producing.
I've just heard from Steve Spielberg asking for ideas about music by Dittersdorf to incorporate into the film. I've put him on to you ... so please give him your best.
*****

Will do. Thanks for recommending me.
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Agnes Selby
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Beethoven.

Post by Agnes Selby » Wed Nov 22, 2006 11:33 pm

Salieri was no mediocrity and I am happy to say that many of
his works are now being performed both in Germany and France.
There is a definite revival of Salieri's music and even of his operas.
If anyone is interested, I will be happy to supply e-mail addresses
of my friends in both these countries who have more information than I have.

As for Beethoven's biography in the form of Amadeus (God forbid), he lacked a sister such as was Nannerl to Mozart When Schlichtegroll asked her for details of Mozart's life, this is what she sent him:

"Apart from his music he was almost always a child; and this is the main feature of his character on the dark side; he almost always needed a father's or mother's or some guardian's care; he could not manage his financial affairs. He married a girl quite unsuited to him, and against the will of his father and thus the great domestic chaos at and after his death". This from a sister who had never set foot in Mozart's home in Vienna.

Schlichtegroll published this in his Necrolog of Mozart and although Mozart's wife, Constanze managed to buy out the second edition, the damage was done. Thereafter, writers tried to accommodate
Nannerl's description of Mozart to their own imaginations and this
included Pushkin with his play, "The Murderer Salieri" and the present version of it, "Amadeus". An idiot savant Mozart seemed to everybody's liking, so why not continue in such a well established mode?

It is impossible to make an idiot savant of Beethoven. Such a film would definitely fail. Even the ever present rage which allegedly plagued Beethoven seems to fall apart at the seams.

Perhaps we will be spared some idiocy about Beethoven and we will just simply enjoy his music without that extra bit of misinformation.

Regards,
Agnes.

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Post by Werner » Wed Nov 22, 2006 11:52 pm

But Agnes, how can anything that smple stand the test of time?
Werner Isler

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Mozart

Post by Agnes Selby » Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:36 am

Werner wrote:But Agnes, how can anything that smple stand the test of time?
------------------

Dear Werner,

I do not know how, but it did stand the test of time. Soon after
Nannerl's letter to Schlichtegroll was published, Breitkopf & Hartel
asked Nannerl if by any chance she had some unpublished compositions
left by Mozart when he left his home for Vienna. She had none but she sent B&H the same letter she sent to Schlichtegroll. B&H published the letter in their own house journal. To Constanze's consternation, many articles appeared, some adding further insults to Mozart's memory, such as his womanising - none of which could, of course, be substantiated.

Constanze had contracted Franz Niemetcheck to write Mozart's biography,
giving him all the data available to her. Niemetcheks's Mozart biography did not prove to be as popular as the various articles citing
Mozart's infidelities and childish behaviour.

It was not until Constanze returned to Salzburg from Denmark with her second husband, Georg Nikolaus Nissen that Nannerl, possibly regretting her previous demonstration of jealousy for her brother's life away from Salzburg and from their father, gave Nissen all Mozart family letters and from which truthful information regarding Mozart's life became available.

Yet, fascination with more interesting articles continued. Sex, infidelity and Mozart's childishness and his God-given gift, proved to be more exciting than any scholarly writings. Somehow interest in Mozart's music disappeared during the Romantic era and when it was resurrected, the old stories, helped by Pushkin and other writers, began to interest people more than the actual truth.

I think people prefer sensationalism to actual data. It is the reason why the stories about Mozart, told to Vincent and Mary Novello in Vienna in the late 1820s emerged again 100 years later. I think people just like such stories and never mind the truth.

Regards,
Agnes.

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Re: Mozart

Post by Teresa B » Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:06 am

Agnes Selby wrote: I think people just like such stories and never mind the truth.
Regards,
Agnes.
Dear Agnes,

You got it right there, of course. Who doesn't love a good story?

Mozart's purported personality quirks make him a fascinating and sympatico guy, maybe partly because we find his "weaknesses" (whether accurate or not) humanizing and endearing.

Beethoven seems to be hard to grasp in these terms. His genius, no more inaccessible to us normal mortals than Mozart's, is unopposed by these human foibles. (Deafness made Beethoven more distant somehow, and his irrascibility and strange controlling behavior in the Karl custody case make him unsympathetic, not endearing!)

In any case, I remain glad we have their music!
Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

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Post by Auntie Lynn » Thu Nov 23, 2006 9:18 am

This may be of interest to absolutely nobody but me, but the Dittersdorf/Beethoven piano variations are moving along just fine, thank you. Obviously, anything with Rote Kappchen (Little Red Riding Hood) could hardly lose. The whole thing is very, very charming...played most of it in my piano lesson last Thursday and got a lot of help to make it even more interesting...

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Re: Beethoven.

Post by Opus132 » Thu Nov 23, 2006 10:52 am

Agnes Selby wrote:Salieri was no mediocrity
Compared to Mozart, he was.

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Re: Beethoven.

Post by CharmNewton » Thu Nov 23, 2006 1:47 pm

Agnes Selby wrote: "Apart from his music he was almost always a child; and this is the main feature of his character on the dark side; he almost always needed a father's or mother's or some guardian's care; he could not manage his financial affairs. He married a girl quite unsuited to him, and against the will of his father and thus the great domestic chaos at and after his death". This from a sister who had never set foot in Mozart's home in Vienna.
While this is probably just an excerpt of Nannerl's letter, what I see here doesn't strike me as comments written out of jealossy. Are you saying that Mozart wasn't childish, that he managed his finances well and that the family was happy with his marriage to Constanze? If Mozart was buried as a pauper, how did this happen (and how did Constanze permit this to happen)? I've read that Mozart and Constanze were mutually unfaithful to each other. I do not know if this is true. Anyone who wrote as much music as Mozart had to be a hard worker just to copy it out, even if it flowed from his fingers.
Agnes Selby wrote:
It is impossible to make an idiot savant of Beethoven. Such a film would definitely fail. Even the ever present rage which allegedly plagued Beethoven seems to fall apart at the seams.

Perhaps we will be spared some idiocy about Beethoven and we will just simply enjoy his music without that extra bit of misinformation.
I didn't walk away from Amadeus with the impression that Mozart was an idiot savant or less impressed with him at all. I did (and do) liste to his music more often and developed a great love for the K. 361 Serenade. But I can see where a person who has studied Mozart in depth would be less than satisfied with any presentation that didn't conform to their understanding of the facts. Still many millions continue to make room for Mozart in their lives. Whatever is said of his personal life, Mozart has to be ranked as a great humanitarian for the gifts he has created for posterity.

John

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Mozart

Post by Agnes Selby » Thu Nov 23, 2006 4:01 pm

Dear John (CharmNewton),

I am glad that you liked Amadeus. It had little to do with Mozart himself but it was a good story. I enjoyed it too.

As far as Nannerl is concerned, this excerpt was not the only jealous
outburst as far as her brother was concerned. I do not blame her for a minute. She has my sympathy. Five years older than Wolferl, she
was the apple of her father's eye until Mozart came along to spoil the fun. The father, Leopold, then saw that he could profit more through the little boy.

Nannerl DID comply with her father's wishes, married a man she
disliked, became a nanny to his 6 children from two previous marriages,
gave her own first-born son to her father to bring up and gave up the love of her life to marry the man chosen for her by her father. However, she made up for it through her Will when she asked to be buried not far from her lover's grave.
All this information is available to anyone at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

As for Mozart, first of all he was not buried like a pauper but according to
law established by Joseph II and not repealed until well into the 19th century. Only the nobility were permitted single graves and they alone could have their names engraved on the walls of St. Marx Cemetery.

As for Mozart's financial mismanagement, yes Mozart gambled. Not that long ago a law-suit instituted against him by Prince Lichnowsky was found in Vienna city archives.

However, according to his letters he married a woman he loved. His loving and caring letters stand as testimony to their love. Constanze
Mozart remained Mozart's greatest advocate and for the remaining
50 years of her life after his death, she continued to fight for his music.
Today, we would scarcely have any Mozart compositions if it was not for Constanze Mozart.

No one has witnessed Mozart cheating on his wife. As for Constanze, who was pregnant 6 times during the 8.5 years of their marriage, I doubt very much that she had the desire for extramarital experiences. If you are thinking of Sussmayr, he was happy in his relationship with the Abbe
Pasterwitz who had been his mentor at Kremsmunster Abbey where
Sussmayr lived from the age of 14 years. They were reunited in Vienna
where Pasterwitz represented the Abbey at Court. Police files from
Baden indicate the arrival of Pasterwitz and Sussmayr on at least three occasions and staying together at a hotel in the township. These files are available to researchers in the Baden city archives. On one such occasion, the pregnant Constanze stayed on the "first floor above the butcher's".


We do not know if Mozart was childish. According to his letters, he was a well educated man. He spoke a number of languages, wrote a love letter to Aloysia Weber in French, corresponded in Italian, embraced Freemasonry which at the time represented a political statement supporting the Brotherhood of Men. Freemasonry was in no small way an influence on the French Revolution.

Mozart's silly letters represent the humour of the time. His own mother's letters to her husband from her journey to Paris are a perfect example of the same kind of Salburgische humour. Of course, these letters were only meant to be read by the addressees and not analysed by such luminaries as Freud.

However, John, if you like the stories and the stories make your listening to Mozart more enjoyable, who am I to suggest otherwise.

Regards,
Agnes.

Micha

Re: Mozart

Post by Micha » Fri Nov 24, 2006 6:36 am

Agnes Selby wrote: Constanze Mozart remained Mozart's greatest advocate and for the remaining 50 years of her life after his death, she continued to fight for his music.
Today, we would scarcely have any Mozart compositions if it was not for Constanze Mozart.
How so?

I think it also has to be mentioned that his family, most of all his father, of course, but probably his sister as well, were horrified because Mozart gave up the relative security of employment at the archbishop's court in Salzburg in order to pursue a freelance career in Vienna - at that time a very rare and rather unheard of idea.

It may have been mentioned already, but while there is no Dittersdorf biopic (at least that I know of), there is in fact an autobiography by him which is very interesting to read. It gives you a rare first hand insights into what it was like to be a musician in that age.

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Post by lmpower » Fri Nov 24, 2006 1:13 pm

I am getting tired of movies that distort the lives of great composers. Amadeus was a brilliantly executed piece, which distorted the facts and character of Mozart. His music, letters and freemasonry refute the image of an idiot savant. Some of his letters to Babette and his mother may contain the seed of Shaffer's conception of Mozart. I didn't bother to see Immortal Beloved, because the plot was so totally fictionalized. I accept Maynard Solomon's view that Toni Brentano was the immortal beloved. Why am I not inspired by a new film by a female director, which injects a female genius who corrects Beethoven's work? I suppose the next step is to portray Beethoven as homosexual or partially of African ancestry. My own favorite is Song of Love with Paul Henried, Katharine Hepburn and Robert Walker. There was some bending of the facts about Schumann, Brahms and Clara, but I believe they got the spirit of the story right.

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Re: Mozart

Post by Agnes Selby » Fri Nov 24, 2006 3:52 pm

Micha wrote:
Agnes Selby wrote: Constanze Mozart remained Mozart's greatest advocate and for the remaining 50 years of her life after his death, she continued to fight for his music.
Today, we would scarcely have any Mozart compositions if it was not for Constanze Mozart.
--------------

How so?


Constanze had Mozart's works published

She travelled through German states, unprecedented for a woman of her times, publicising Mozart's music. This included the organisation of concerts as well as opera performances.

She rescued the Requiem from the clutches of Count Walsegg and
had it published. This, after Walsegg had performed the Requiem on two occasions claiming to be its author. (She also saw to the completion of the Requiem by Sussmayr).

For 50 years she found every possible opportunity to keep Mozart's music before the public. This often included bitter exchanges with Mozart's critics.

She saw to the publication of a documentary Mozart biography published by Breitkopf & Hartel. It was begun by her second husband, Georg Nissen and completed (rather badly) by Dr. Feuerstein.
It contained the correspondence of Mozart and his family giving scholars
the rare opportunity to study Mozart without the interference of myths.

This is it in a nutshell but it is the subject of my book, "Constanze Mozart's Beloved".

Regards,
Agnes.

Micha

Post by Micha » Fri Nov 24, 2006 10:11 pm

Thanks for the explanations. I always wanted to read up how much of the story about the Requiem and Walsegg and all that is actually true, and how much is fiction. Can you shed some light on that?

RE Amadeus, I have to say I never had the impression that the film/play wanted to portray Mozart as some kind of "idiot savant". It basically showed him as an exuberant, extrovert, fun loving, very sociable, partying and full of energy person, not as a marble bust sitting on a piano which is more or less the way the "great composers" are often portrayed.

All these character traits are not a contradiction to being a serious, hardworking, sincere person at the same time. Some people think they are, but they certainly aren't.
Of course, Amadeus doesn't claim to show us "what Mozart was really like". But I think the basic way he came across may not have been too far from what he was like in real life.

I remember reading this quote from a noble lady's diary somewhere, she hosted musical evenings in her salon in Vienna. Unfortunately I don't have it word for word anywhere. It basically goes something like this:
"Mozart and Haydn, who I both knew well personally, were people whose behavior did not betray the genius residing in them at all. They were more interested in coarse jokes and silly pranks than polite conversation." And then she goes on to describe how they rearranged her furniture and started playing hide and seek or something like that. Maybe you have the quote somewhere.

In any case, I think that Amadeus plays as much with Mozart's image as with the preconceptions some people have about what a "genius" looks like and is suposed to behave like.

I found that movie "Song of Love" very kitschy and clichéed, the marble bust cliché full steam ahead. A much better movie about Schumann is "Frühlingssinfonie" and there also was an extremely good mini TV series about Schubert with the title "Mit meinen heißen Tränen". Apparently, it was just released on DVD under the title "Notturno":
http://www.amazon.de/Notturno-Standard- ... UTF8&s=dvd

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Mozart

Post by Agnes Selby » Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:05 am

Dear Micha,

Oh, yes, that was Caroline Pichler who had Haydn and Mozart jumping all over the furniture. It comes from her diary. Somehow I could never imagine old Haydn jumping up and down over the furniture and dancing atop tables but it is a possibility. Some scholars doubt the veracity of her reporting as the rest of her diary has other claims which are difficult to believe.

Thank you for asking about the Requiem. I will post it under a separate heading tomorrow - Australian time.

Kind regards,
Agnes.
-----------------

Micha

Re: Mozart

Post by Micha » Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:25 am

Agnes Selby wrote:Dear Micha,

Oh, yes, that was Caroline Pichler who had Haydn and Mozart jumping all over the furniture. It comes from her diary. Somehow I could never imagine old Haydn jumping up and down over the furniture and dancing atop tables but it is a possibility. Some scholars doubt the veracity of her reporting as the rest of her diary has other claims which are difficult to believe.

Thank you for asking about the Requiem. I will post it under a separate heading tomorrow - Australian time.

Kind regards,
Agnes.
-----------------
Ah, yes, Pichler, I remember that name now. Do you have the original quote handy? It is pretty funny.
Whether or not Haydn and Mozart actually jumped over (or just climbed or just generally messed around with) her furniture or not is probably not so important though. What is interesting and probably "factual" is that some people were a little indignified by the way Mozart and Haydn behaved, because it did not conform with their ideas and preconceptions of how a dignified person or even a "genius" should behave.
And that is something we still see all the time. You have a lot of people who act the genius or the serious artist who are taken much more seriously by people who don't understand what makes a true master of his craft, while true masters are often not seen because they don't "act the part". Although Pichler seems to have grasped that Haydn and Mozart were somehow extraordinary artists.

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Re: Mozart

Post by CharmNewton » Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:30 am

Agnes Selby wrote:Dear John (CharmNewton),

As far as Nannerl is concerned, this excerpt was not the only jealous
outburst as far as her brother was concerned.
Nannerl's comments still do not sound like jealousy to me. I'm sure she knew her brother well when he was in Salzburg. She may have believed what she was saying was true. She may also have felt betrayed on some level, which is an anger different from jealousy.
Agnes Selby wrote:
I do not blame her for a minute. She has my sympathy. Five years older than Wolferl, she
was the apple of her father's eye until Mozart came along to spoil the fun. The father, Leopold, then saw that he could profit more through the little boy.

Nannerl DID comply with her father's wishes, married a man she
disliked, became a nanny to his 6 children from two previous marriages,
gave her own first-born son to her father to bring up and gave up the love of her life to marry the man chosen for her by her father. However, she made up for it through her Will when she asked to be buried not far from her lover's grave.
All this information is available to anyone at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
Nannerl did make her choices, and chose to please her father. Whether she could have succeeded on her own like her brother, I do not know.
Agnes Selby wrote: As for Mozart, first of all he was not buried like a pauper but according to
law established by Joseph II and not repealed until well into the 19th century. Only the nobility were permitted single graves and they alone could have their names engraved on the walls of St. Marx Cemetery.
Thank you for pointing this out. Did Mozart have any kind of service where he was honored by his friends and patrons?
Agnes Selby wrote: However, according to his letters he married a woman he loved. His loving and caring letters stand as testimony to their love. Constanze
Mozart remained Mozart's greatest advocate and for the remaining
50 years of her life after his death, she continued to fight for his music.
Today, we would scarcely have any Mozart compositions if it was not for Constanze Mozart.

No one has witnessed Mozart cheating on his wife. As for Constanze, who was pregnant 6 times during the 8.5 years of their marriage, I doubt very much that she had the desire for extramarital experiences. If you are thinking of Sussmayr, he was happy in his relationship with the Abbe
Pasterwitz who had been his mentor at Kremsmunster Abbey where
Sussmayr lived from the age of 14 years. They were reunited in Vienna
where Pasterwitz represented the Abbey at Court. Police files from
Baden indicate the arrival of Pasterwitz and Sussmayr on at least three occasions and staying together at a hotel in the township. These files are available to researchers in the Baden city archives. On one such occasion, the pregnant Constanze stayed on the "first floor above the butcher's".
As I said in my post, I didn't know whether Mozart was quilty of infidelity. Some of my doubts that he was unfaithful are based on the sheer volume of music he wrote, which had to take up time. Writing music is tough work, but he may have viewed it as writing in another language, which may have made the task easier if not more pleasant.

I don't know if Mozart lived and socialized among those who wrote diaries or recorded impressions. But if there is no evidence, there is no need to smear his reputation.
Agnes Selby wrote: However, John, if you like the stories and the stories make your listening to Mozart more enjoyable, who am I to suggest otherwise.
This just sounds like a snide remark as I never said the "stories" made listening more enjoyable. Amadeus has brought Mozart's music to tens of millions of people. That is quite an achievement, don't you agree?

John

Regards,
Agnes.[/quote]

Agnes Selby
Author of Constanze Mozart's biography
Posts: 5568
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 3:27 am
Location: Australia

Re: Mozart

Post by Agnes Selby » Sat Nov 25, 2006 6:29 am

CharmNewton wrote:
Agnes Selby wrote:Dear John (CharmNewton),

As far as Nannerl is concerned, this excerpt was not the only jealous
outburst as far as her brother was concerned.
Nannerl's comments still do not sound like jealousy to me. I'm sure she knew her brother well when he was in Salzburg. She may have believed what she was saying was true. She may also have felt betrayed on some level, which is an anger different from jealousy.
Agnes Selby wrote:
I do not blame her for a minute. She has my sympathy. Five years older than Wolferl, she
was the apple of her father's eye until Mozart came along to spoil the fun. The father, Leopold, then saw that he could profit more through the little boy.

Nannerl DID comply with her father's wishes, married a man she
disliked, became a nanny to his 6 children from two previous marriages,
gave her own first-born son to her father to bring up and gave up the love of her life to marry the man chosen for her by her father. However, she made up for it through her Will when she asked to be buried not far from her lover's grave.
All this information is available to anyone at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
Nannerl did make her choices, and chose to please her father. Whether she could have succeeded on her own like her brother, I do not know.
Agnes Selby wrote: As for Mozart, first of all he was not buried like a pauper but according to
law established by Joseph II and not repealed until well into the 19th century. Only the nobility were permitted single graves and they alone could have their names engraved on the walls of St. Marx Cemetery.
Thank you for pointing this out. Did Mozart have any kind of service where he was honored by his friends and patrons?
Agnes Selby wrote: However, according to his letters he married a woman he loved. His loving and caring letters stand as testimony to their love. Constanze
Mozart remained Mozart's greatest advocate and for the remaining
50 years of her life after his death, she continued to fight for his music.
Today, we would scarcely have any Mozart compositions if it was not for Constanze Mozart.

No one has witnessed Mozart cheating on his wife. As for Constanze, who was pregnant 6 times during the 8.5 years of their marriage, I doubt very much that she had the desire for extramarital experiences. If you are thinking of Sussmayr, he was happy in his relationship with the Abbe
Pasterwitz who had been his mentor at Kremsmunster Abbey where
Sussmayr lived from the age of 14 years. They were reunited in Vienna
where Pasterwitz represented the Abbey at Court. Police files from
Baden indicate the arrival of Pasterwitz and Sussmayr on at least three occasions and staying together at a hotel in the township. These files are available to researchers in the Baden city archives. On one such occasion, the pregnant Constanze stayed on the "first floor above the butcher's".
As I said in my post, I didn't know whether Mozart was quilty of infidelity. Some of my doubts that he was unfaithful are based on the sheer volume of music he wrote, which had to take up time. Writing music is tough work, but he may have viewed it as writing in another language, which may have made the task easier if not more pleasant.

I don't know if Mozart lived and socialized among those who wrote diaries or recorded impressions. But if there is no evidence, there is no need to smear his reputation.
Agnes Selby wrote: However, John, if you like the stories and the stories make your listening to Mozart more enjoyable, who am I to suggest otherwise.
This just sounds like a snide remark as I never said the "stories" made listening more enjoyable. Amadeus has brought Mozart's music to tens of millions of people. That is quite an achievement, don't you agree?

John

Regards,
Agnes.
[/quote]
---------------

Sorry, John, I did not mean it as a snide remark. Many people, including myself, have enjoyed Amadeus. And, indeed, his antics were seen very humanising by some people I spoke to who enjoyed his music the more because he seemed less remote to them.

As far as infidelities are concerned, no, there is nothing in the diaries of Caroline Pichler or Zinzendorf. The infidelity stories surfaced only after Mozart's death.

Regards,
Agnes.

---------------------

lmpower
Posts: 877
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 2:18 pm
Location: Twentynine Palms, California

Post by lmpower » Sat Nov 25, 2006 10:14 am

Allright, "idiot savant' is an overstatement, but I think Shaffer's thesis is that the worthy Salieri was offended by God choosing this unworthy kid as his musical mouthpiece.

lmpower
Posts: 877
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 2:18 pm
Location: Twentynine Palms, California

Post by lmpower » Sat Nov 25, 2006 10:38 am

Song of Love was a product of it's time and therfore highly romanticized, but then that might be appropriate for the most romantic of composers. What often redeems these musical biographies is the quality of the acting and the music. Think of the scene between Hepburn and Walker as Brahms announces he's leaving the Schumann household, and then between Hepburn and Henried as she breaks the news. There is also a gem of a scene between Brahms and the maid. I would like to see Fruhlingsymphonie, but I don't think it's available. Perhaps we can agree that "Song of Norway" was the worst musical biography. "A Song to Remember" about Chopin was responsible for introducing me to classical music, which lead to a lifelong love of the great composers.

Agnes Selby
Author of Constanze Mozart's biography
Posts: 5568
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 3:27 am
Location: Australia

Re: Mozart

Post by Agnes Selby » Sat Nov 25, 2006 2:46 pm

CharmNewton wrote:
Agnes Selby wrote:Dear John (CharmNewton),

As far as Nannerl is concerned, this excerpt was not the only jealous
outburst as far as her brother was concerned.
Nannerl's comments still do not sound like jealousy to me. I'm sure she knew her brother well when he was in Salzburg. She may have believed what she was saying was true. She may also have felt betrayed on some level, which is an anger different from jealousy.

--------------------

Nannerl's diary is now available at the Mozarteum bookshop.

"Marie Anne Mozart
meine tag ordnungen".
Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg.
Verlag K.H. Bock.

Regards,
Agnes.
----------------------

Agnes Selby
Author of Constanze Mozart's biography
Posts: 5568
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 3:27 am
Location: Australia

Re: Mozart

Post by Agnes Selby » Sat Nov 25, 2006 5:51 pm

.
[/quote]

Thank you for pointing this out. Did Mozart have any kind of service where he was honored by his friends and patrons?

[quote]
---------------------

Yes. A memorial service was held five days after Mozart's death
at St. Michael's Church. The service was organised by Schikaneder.

It has been reported that Mozart's Requiem was performed on this occasion but this is disputed. I wrote to St. Michael's Church and was told that although a list of performers exists in the archives of the Church and even how much they were paid, whose Requiem was performed had not been noted. I sent this letter to Dr. Zaslaw who had the same information sent to him.

There was also a Memorial Service in Prague on December 14, 1791, held at the Parish church of St. Niclas. On this occasion the Requiem composed by Franz Anton Rossler was performed. One hundred and twenty leading performers took part in the performance under the direction of Joseph Strobach conducting the orchestra of the Prague National Theatre. Proceeds of this concert went to Constanze Mozart and Mozart's two sons.

Regards,
Agnes.

Micha

Post by Micha » Sat Nov 25, 2006 10:06 pm

Allright, "idiot savant' is an overstatement, but I think Shaffer's thesis is that the worthy Salieri was offended by God choosing this unworthy kid as his musical mouthpiece.

I think that's the way Shaffer used the characters in his play. I don't know if it's his "thesis" though, it's just a play, not a musicological treaty.
lmpower wrote:I would like to see Fruhlingsymphonie, but I don't think it's available.
It is available on DVD:

http://www.amazon.de/Frühlingssinfonie- ... UTF8&s=dvd

http://www.amazon.com/Spring-Symphony-A ... UTF8&s=dvd

Dunno what's wrong with my links, but if you copy them and paste them in your browser's address window, they will take you to the items.

Yes, it's Herbert Grönemeyer from "Das Boot" as Schumann!

Also check out "Mit meinen heißen Tränen" or "Notturno", as it is apparently called on the new DVD release. I gave the link in my post above.

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