Sunday, January 5, 2014

Mozart lived closer to my ancestors than I do to my parents

My kids have been listening to "Mozart's Magic Fantasy: A Journey Through the Magic Flute." I keep finding songs from it stuck in my head. "Pa-pa-pa-papageno!" and the Aria of the Queen of the Night. Which my kids ask me to perform for them, and I gladly oblige. Haha.

I began reading Mozart's wikipedia page. The film "Amadeus" is one of my all time favorites, and so I thought I would know a lot about his life. I was wrong. 

The main way in which I was wrong was in my European geography. Vienna is less than two hours south of Brno! It's about 3 hours from Ostrava, and 3 hours and 20 minutes from Prague. How did I miss this!?

As I read, I noticed that so many of the given names in this article (and his wife Constanze's) were similar to given names of my ancestors. Names like: Johann Nebomuk della Croce, Theresia Constanzia Adelheid Friedericke Maria Anna, Karl Thomas Mozart, Anna Maria, Leopold Mozart, Aloysia Weber, Joseph Lange, Sophie Weber, Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart

I also noticed the mention of Maria Wilhelmine von Thun und Hohenstein - (remember the post about the 5 families who owned 8% of the land?). When the Archbishop refused to allow him to play for her, he resigned his job and went into freelance composing. 

I don't know what kind of access the peasant masses in the Czech lands had to his operas or minuets, but since he was so popular during his lifetime, it seems plausible that his melodies were known on the farms of Bohemia and Moravia. The Magic Flute is still the fourth most popular opera in the world. I wonder if my Czech ancestors also got these same songs stuck in their heads. 

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