Back to the world ...
... of music and Mozart
Quotes of the week
“In Bach, Beethoven and Wagner we admire principally the depth and energy of the human mind; in Mozart, the divine instinct.”
“To regret the past, to hope in the future, and never to be satisfied with the present: that is what I spend my whole life doing”
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
"Twenty years after Tchaikovsky's death, in 1913, Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring erupted onto the musical scene, signalling Russia's arrival into 20th-century music. Between these two very different worlds, Tchaikovsky's music became the sole bridge."
Anthony Holden (British writer/broadcaster/critic)
Another week of music, but also a trip and an exciting tour into the past. I left Sweden on Saturday to fly to Salzburg to meet up with Martin. We decided to stay in this beautiful city for the weekend and enjoy the cultural activities available here. But, before going away I had an unusual experience in a concert hall.
Tchaikovsky in a relaxed manner
Our local concert hall has dedicated this year, and will hopefully continue, to a health year. It is connected to music, of course. On the upper balcony they have made available relax seats and yoga/medication places. You can bring your own mat, or use an existing one, do your exercises and listen to the music at the same time. My friend Lena and I choose the second option; a seat where you can relax with your feet on a foot pall. It came with socks, one of those blinds you put in front of your eyes, and a shoulder rest that you can use while travelling to relax your head and shoulders. Lean back, close your eyes and listen to music.
It was a very nice experience, and what better than to listen to Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music. They gave his 3rd and 5th symphonies. The acoustic is fantastic in this hall and it was such a pleasure to enjoy the music in this way. In stead of sitting straight, with people of either side.
Tchaikovsky is another of my favourite composers. Since I had the advantage of listening to Beethoven some days earlier, and Mozart some days later, it gives you an account of the difference in the composer’s music. If Beethoven is a lot of strong, pompous music, Tchaikovsky’s music, although strong at times, easily ventures into beautiful tunes, thinking you are running over a summer field, full of flowers and insects.
The conductor said that while composing the 3rd symphony Tchaikovsky was rather unhappy, but with the 5th he had overcome some private obstacles. And so it seemed. The 5th had a happier tune, promising good things, while the 3rd might have had a more melancholy tone. All in all a wonderful experience to listen to music. And no, we did not fall asleep. I think with softer music you might dose off from time to time.
Mozart in Salzburg
You really can’t avoid Mozart while in Salzburg. We had prepared and book ticket for a dinner/concert at the Stiftskeller St. Peter. It is considered the oldest restaurant in Europe and was first mentioned in 803. Located within the St. Peter’s Abbey complex it is definitely on historical grounds. We were treated with a three course dinner and music. We were treated with ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’ and singing from operas Don Giovanni, Figaro’s Wedding and The Magic Flute. A magic evening indeed.
On the Sunday we went to a concert at the Mirabell Palace. Built in 1606 by prince-archbishop Wolf Dietrich for his beloved Salome Alt. Today the palace is used as an administrative building and for wedding and concerts. The concert took place in the Marble Hall, which was the banquet hall at the time. Leopold Mozart (the father) and Wolfgang and Nunnery (Mozart’s sister) performed here. The stairway leading up to the concert hall is quite fantastic, decorated with cherubs.
We were treated to a clarinet quintet, a clarinet concert, Salzburg Divertimento F-Dur and the overture to Figaro’s Wedding. We were sitting in the first row, and it was only about 2 metres to the stage, so we could admire close up, the skills of the musicians. Often you sit far away and don’t see so much, so certainly an extra treat. Apart from the overture, the music played was new to us. As usual with Mozart’s music there were happy and playful tunes, where the clarinet added and extra touch.
You can’t leave Salzburg without visiting the two houses where Mozart lived. There is the house in which he was born, and the house where they moved to and he lived in growing up. Both are museum and highlights his and his family’s lives. The history of the family is provided in both museums, but they are otherwise quite different, and both worth a visit. The Mozart family seemed to have been a tight one, and there are a lot of correspondence proving this.
Mozart was travelling a lot during his life time, a total of 17 voyages. That is travelling for 3.720 days, which amounts to 10 years, 2 months and 2 days, around one third of his life time. The first trip went to Munich when he was only 6 years old, and the last one to Prague in 1791, to attend the premier of his opera La Clemenza di Tito, only three months before he died.
More to come next week.