Those of you who have heard our Mozart lectures know that we always like to stress that there was no animosity between Mozart and Salieri, maybe a little misunderstanding here or there and a little venting about it to family, but nothing more. This is very much supported by the fact that there is even a recently rediscovered cantata that the two collaborated on. Entitled “Per la ricuperata salute di Ofelia”, it was written in 1785 by BOTH to celebrate the recuperation of the famous singer Nancy Storace of a vocal affliction. She premiered the role of Susanna in Mozart’s Figaro, and knowing in how much detail Mozart catered to the specific voices of his stars, any vocal trouble she felt must have affected him too! Unfortunately, not even this cantata gave her back her pervious vocal luster… but it bears testimony to the fact that Salieri and Mozart thought enough of the other to at least write a “musical get-well card” with him.
The other day, we had to move Walter’s “Inside the Vienna Philharmonic”-talk to a lovely conference room at Hotel Bristol, just across from the Vienna State Opera. The venue was great, and we appreciated the company we had…
Well, with Monday night’s “Vienna 1900”-Lecture the spring season of 2014 is all wrapped up. We will be back for Road Scholar in September, but even in the meantime the tours will receive a good amount of our attention. We are busily working on new material all our groups will be receiving from fall 2014 on: lecture outlines, a CD, even nicer program notes… Apart from that, we also have a “little” flute camp coming up the end of next week, with almost 50 flutists of all ages. Afterwards, we will withdraw to a secluded cabin on an Austrian glacier and sleep for a week. No, just kidding. We have three kids, we know that sleep is overrated, anyway. Afterwards is the Salzburg Festival, which is still tour-free this summer. We will use some of our free time to prepare our talks for the Salzburg Festival tours in 2015! Road Scholar, you are always on our minds…
And: we got mail! A gentleman who took part in the last “Composers of Europe”-tour was so kind as to send us this:
“I was on the recent RS tour at which Julia and a marvelous quartet performed on May 24 at St. Salvator. All the tour group felt most privileged to be invited. During our time in Vienna we saw Traviata and a number of small concerts, but yours was the most interesting because of the excellence and esprit of the musicians.”
Well, thank you very much. That is really appreciated.
We had one of those special Road Scholar moments just before our lecture concert on Sunday. A lady approached us and told us that she had signed up for this tour on recommendation. And seemingly one of the main reasons for the recommendation was us, Julia and Walter! We definitely feel very flattered – thank you so much, Doug and Lilly!
And speaking of recommendations: in August 2015 there will be a series of Salzburg/Lucerne Festival tours. We will be with the groups during the Salzburg part of the tour thrice, and the program in general sounds fantastic. We’d actually love to take it ourselves if we weren’t working there. But we can definitely recommend the tour- it would be lovely to reencounter some of you there.
Since there’s a couple of lectures coming up, I’m brushing up on my Mozart. And I came across a little detail surrounding the Requiem I wasn’t aware of before and that just begs to be shared.
So, you all know that Mozart never finished his Requiem, a work “secretly” commissioned by Count Walsegg-Stuppach who wanted to pass it off as his own composition (something he was known to do, so he never fooled anyone but himself…). After Mozart’s death, his widow Constanze, in dire need of money, sought to fulfill the contract and had the Requiem completed from sketches, word of mouth and conjecture by Franz Xaver Süßmayer, one of Mozart’s pupils/assistants. To fool the Count into believing that Mozart had completed the Requiem himself, he copied out the finished parts, added his parts, all while attempting to mimick Mozart’s handwriting. He even faked his signature on the cover with “di me W:A: Mozart”, and here comes the juicy tidbit I want to share with you: he committed the blunder of blunders by continuing with “mpr/792“. Completly forgetting the small, but not unimportant detail that Mozart had died the previous year, in 1791…
Even so, the Count either didn’t spot it, or he didn’t care.
And some more unconnected Requiem-trivia:
Constanze sold the Requiem five times: to the Count, to King Friedrich Wilhelm II. of Prussia, one for an “official” first performance, and two to publishers. Quite the businesswoman, and not the flighty airhead some earlier biographies would have us believe!
To round things off, a “Curse of the Requiem” story: the Viennese composer Joseph Leopold Eybler, who was asked first by Konstanze to complete the Requiem, but who gave up after some attempts, suffered a (non-fatal) stroke while conducting the Requiem in 1833…
As you know, we work almost exclusively for Road Scholar. This company seems to unfailingly attract the kindest, nicest, most interested and interesting people – we love meeting you and are always almost sad to see you go. This is especially true of the music groups that we see thrice during their time in Vienna. We’re really looking forward to the Salzburg Festival groups that will start in 2015 because it will give us another opportunity to get to know „our“ groups more closely.
Just as an example, here’s an email that a former Road Scholar participant sent to Walter during his tour to the US in March:
„I want to tell you how much I enjoyed the VPO at Weill Hall in Cotati, California, on Tuesday March 11. I was so happy to see you and to hear you, after having met you and your lovely wife in October, 2012, when you hosted our Road Scholar group to a private recital. That evening, the rehearsal in the Musikverein [of Das Paradis und die Peri], and the chat our group had with you in the Vienna State Opera House, are among the most precious memories I have of that trip.
Also to tell you: The woman sitting next to me Tuesday evening—a stranger to me—also recognized you, because she took the Road Scholar tour in the autumn of 2013. You have fans here in northern California!
Thank you for the enjoyment you give to your audience.“
What an incredible coincidence! Thank you for sharing!