On the death of Mozart

Mozart died 224 years ago yesterday.  I forgot and shouldn't have.

I have to admit that I am not his biggest fan.  I've studied music, performed it and conducted it for 55 years now, and started playing in groups that performed his work perhaps 60 years ago...ages ago.  These were my first encounters with his mind. 

The conductor of the local orchestra was in awe of the music - as if he were conducting gold. At his house one day, he showed me something; All the melodies to the 24 or so little country dances Mozart wrote in one little collection. He had the music laid out on 24 lines of music paper so every measure lined up one over the other vertically; the first measure of music of #1 directly over the first measure of music in #2 and so on. His point was you could take the first measure or two of music from #1 and follow it with the next measures of music from #8 and so on randomly and all you did was create another perfectly constructed 16 measure melody.  It was as if a computer had a "program" that would take in all the possibilities and simply re-arrange them at will.  Endlessly. This was, of course, before computer science as we know it now or any computer we could put our hands on. In Mozart's time, it was nearly sorcery.  

As much as I felt his music to be a little sterile, I'm not entirely stupid.  A gift - such an incredible gift - comes along almost never. A brain that speaks in the language of sound on paper made of space.

If you remember the movie Amadeus, you might remember the scene below.  What preceded it was just as marvelous - and by the way, if you could act this well your fortune would rightfully be made in the theater - where Salieri notes that Mozart never made "drafts" of his work - he just wrote them out. No errors. No re-writes. First time - one time...and many times he just wrote out the parts for the individual orchestra members as if he were copying from the "score" that existed only in his head.  

Anyway - rejoice that God puts an occasional genius among us.