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review 2018-05-09 08:00
My Dearest Father
My Dearest Father (Little Black Classics #51) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

I was looking for a book with a music theme for a monthly challenge and this was the first that came to mind so I skipped a couple of books ahead in the Little Black Classics series to this entry by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, although I think his father wrote at least half of it.

Some letters are more musical than others, but this aside this edition was a bit of a mixed bag. On the one end there are the quite boring passages where Mozart and his father quarrel over the expenses of a trip, which is nothing more or less than that and which doesn't make the most thrilling of reads. On the other hand I was quite moved, when his mother falls sick when travelling with Mozart to Paris, and he can only communicate with his father and sisters through letters which take more than a week to arrive. It makes you realise just how spoiled we are nowadays to have instant communication to any place on the globe.

Little Black Classic #51

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review 2014-12-13 23:32
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute: English National Opera Guide 3 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,Nicholas John
bookshelves: winter-20142015, published-1791, music, film-only
Read from December 13 to 14, 2014


Ingmar Bergman's Trollflöjten (The Magic Flute) 1975 02:09:18

After being told by an flister about Cologne Opera's performance of 'The Magic Flute' I decided it would be great to have another foray into this masonic opera, so took the Swedish version, natch!

The arrival of the Queen of the Night. Stage set by Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781–1841) for an 1815 production

Description from wiki: The Magic Flute is noted for its prominent Masonic elements. Schikaneder and Mozart were Masons and lodge brothers, as was Ignaz Alberti, engraver and printer of the first libretto. The opera is also influenced by Enlightenment philosophy, and can be regarded as an allegory advocating enlightened absolutism. The Queen of the Night represents a dangerous form of obscurantism or, according to some, the anti-Masonic Roman Catholic Empress Maria Theresa, or, according to others, the contemporary Roman Catholic Church itself, which was also strongly anti-Masonic (see Papal ban of Freemasonry). Her antagonist Sarastro symbolises the enlightened sovereign who rules according to principles based on reason, wisdom, and nature. The story itself portrays the education of mankind, progressing from chaos (the serpent) through religious superstition (the Queen and Ladies) to rationalistic enlightenment (Sarastro and Priests), by means of trial (Tamino) and error (Papageno), ultimately to make "the Earth a heavenly kingdom, and mortals like the gods" ("Dann ist die Erd' ein Himmelreich, und Sterbliche den Göttern gleich"); this couplet is sung in the finales to both acts.

Fab fun - especially liked the snake being a dragon in this version!
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review 2013-03-25 00:00
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Primary Source Library of Famous Composers)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Eric Michael Summerer I thought this was a great book for Elementary Aged students on Mozart - giving them the basics on his life and best works without overly getting bogged down with detail. Illustrations were very good and appropriate to the content.
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review 2012-05-30 00:00
The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflote) in Full Score (Dover Vocal Scores) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart;Opera and Choral Scores Earlier this evening, Not and I attended a free staging of The Magic Flute given by Piccolo Opera, Geneva's opera school. Most of the performers were students at the school, ranging in age from about five to fifteen. They were reinforced by a few adults, who lent their voices at critical moments or sang parts too low for the children to reach. (One of our CERN friends was Sarastro, which was how we'd got to hear about it). The technical standard was dreadful, but it was a wonderful performance all the same. The kids, singing in German and doing the recitative in French, were often only marginally comprehensible, but I have watched the Bergman movie version a dozen times and was able to supply mental subtitles. Everyone was having fun, and there were some delightful moments. The kid playing Monostatos was about five years younger than Pamina and a head shorter, but he was did his best to come across as a psychotic would-be rapist; he got a big hand from the crowd.

And every now and then, the true magic of the opera shone forth. The Queen of the Night sang her duet with Pamina, where she gives her the dagger and tells her that she must kill Sarastro or never see her again. Usually chilling, this was very cute; the Queen's three attendants, all about eleven and doing their damnedest to look mysterious and sexy, danced around the mother and daughter as the Queen tried to reach the high notes in the coloratura bit. And then the girl playing Pamina relinquished the stage for a couple of minutes to one of the adult stand-ins, who sang her despairing aria with enormous passion and force, and briefly made us feel that she really was mad with grief and just wanted to kill herself.

It struck me that this was an interesting metaphor for life. Most of the time, we muddle along not really knowing our parts, giggling at the most solemn moments and forgetting the key lines. Occasionally, though, we're taken over by someone who actually does know what they're doing and interprets the role as it's meant to be played. And those are the moments we remember years later.

Piccolo Opera is brilliant; we'll be back in July, when they're doing Mary Poppins and La Belle Helène. And if you haven't ever seen The Magic Flute, check it out.
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