The night has come, Mozart… 6 December 1791.

The papers of divorce 

between the world and the genius

were deposited

in the common grave of the Vienna cemetery

on 6 December

1791,

there where,

to its glory,

the World

threw Mozart

under the  septic lime

of final oblivion.

And since then

the scene

has kept repeating. 

The night has come, 

Mozart…   

mozart-1783-lange.jpg

He drew his last breath on the day of 5 December, at one in the morning, watched by his wife’s sister. His body was washed by loyal friends. They accompanied him when he left his house for the last time. It was them again who brought him to the Saint Stephen Cathedral, in a chapel in which he would wait for the religious ceremony – a simple one, according to the low fee of the third class funeral paid for by Baron Van Swieten. His wife had left the house a few hours after his death, “out of too much pain”, and would stay with friends for the next days. She didn’t keep vigil over his dead body, she didn’t follow him on his last journey. It was winter in Vienna, it was cold, it was almost night… God, what a terrible night of mankind!… One by one, the living abandoned the funeral convoy, and so by the time the hearse had passed the Stubenthor and reached the graveyard of St Marx, Mozart‘s lifeless body was being attended only by the driver of the carriage. By that time, in St Marx there had already been two pauper funerals. Mozart was the third. His body was deposited in the common grave, uppermost, by the gravedigger’s assistant and the driver of the hearst. Then came the night. 

Mozart left alone. He remained alone. His wife, “dearest, most beloved little wife”, as he would address  her in his letters, didn’t look for his grave for eleven years (some biographers say seventeen). Although her state of health seemed to have quickly improved, since only a few weeks after his demise she was already corresponding with a few well-known editors with a view of selling his manuscripts. And never again, after his death, was she in need to go to Baden for cures; she capitalized his musical inheritance, she remarried, she rewrote his life together with her second husband, and she outlived her first husband fifty years. 

None of his close friends, none of those who knew and loved his music and being, no one looked for his grave, not after one day, not after one month, not after one year. It was the “custom” of the time. Relatives and friends paid homage and said goodbye at home, at the church, then the body was taken to the cemetery and buried. Visiting a grave was not customary – there were no Sunday mornings at the cemetery, with flowers and candles. The regulations of the time indicated the deposition in a “common” grave according to the amount of money paid (by the Baron in Mozart’s case), but they did not forbid the placing of a funeral stone on the cemetery wall. Neither Constanze Mozart nor his friends, or the nobles he had ennobled with his feeling and creation, or the Viennese who would hum his melodies in cafes, no one felt the need to mark his resting place, no one searched for him in all those years, no one felt the need to prove their respect and affection by remembering the place where, on top of other bodies, he found his rest… 

Ten years after, the common grave was opened, the bones taken out, to make space for other mortals. This was what the third class funeral meant: a grave which confined more bodies together for ten years, and that was all. After ten years, a pile of bones, taken out to be deposited where?… we will never know. A higher class funeral would have (possibly) meant a grave in the family’s property in the St Marx Cemetery. But it would have cost more. And none of those who knew him, who were close to him, none of those whom he had honored with the divine touch of his being, no one felt that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart deserved a funeral of a higher class. 

The papers of divorce 

between the world and the genius

were deposited

in the common grave of the Vienna cemetery

on 6 December

1791,

there where,

to its glory,

the World

threw Mozart

under the  septic lime

of final oblivion.

And since then

the scene

has kept repeating. 

The night has come, 

Mozart…   

Rest in peace, beloved friend! 

Mozart-Grab

“The night has come, Mozart…” © Claudiu Iordache – published with the author’s permission. 

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Mozart. An endless sorrow.

Mozart painted by Lange in 1783

It is 5 December. For 222 years humanity has been waiting for you to come back. Your music has survived and will go on. But we miss your living heart, your soul enlightened by a divine feeling of harmony! For you have been His gift, and few of us have understood… 

You, Mozart, harrowing light in the darkness that surrounds us! In your park clad in mourning dress, the leaves of winter are whispering your name. It is 5 December. A serene calm overtaken by the night until the world abandoned itself to the despair of understanding it had lost you forever! If only we could, through our love, resurrect your fragile being, so you could smile to us again, you, Mozart, majestically  sleeping in our soul! If only you could feel our hurt, knowing you were summoned forever there where only angels listen to you, shivering in the divine beauty of your music! Oh, Mozart, it is night, a neverending night in a day of 5 December! A day in which both you and us died a little… 

Mozart… Mozart… Mozart… celestial echo of humanity’s child… 

Mozart-Grab

schneeglockchen

So beautiful it hurts…

A music from another world, heartbreaking, soul-harrowing…

Breathtakingly beautiful.

Whenever I hear it, I breathe its light. 

Melancholy… longing… resonance… 

 The feeling that I am ONE with it. That in its callings I find myself… 

Sventurati miei sospiri
se quest’alma non scioglierete,
molto poco voi potete
molto lieve è il mio dolore.
Atrocissimi martiri
che in umor gli occhi stillate,
poco è il duol se non stemprate
tutto in lagrime anche il core.
 
Sì disse la gran Madre
in vedendo spirar l’amato Figlio,
insensata per duol tosto divenne
e priva d’ogni senso al suol poi svenne;
ma tosto al chiuder gl’occhi
dell’eterno Fattore,
udissi intorno un fragor di sassi,
un crollar della terra,
un vacillar del suolo,
sì del morto Signor l’agita il duolo.
Ha decretati Iddio
tre terremoti universali in terra:
un nel morir del Verbo,
nel suo risorger l’altro,
e il terzo alfine, – ahi nel pensarlo io tremo,
a quel che fia -, nel gran Giudizio estremo.
 
Pari all’ amor immenso
fu immenso il suo patir.
E solo allora atroce
gli fu la propria croce
che di sue pene il senso
gli tolse il suo morir.
 
Or se per grande orror tremò la terra
morir vedendo un Dio fra tormenti sì rei,
uomo, trema ancor tu che terra sei! 

The sacred Cantata “Il pianto di Maria“, long time attributed to Haendel, seems to have been written by the Venetian composer Giovanni Battista Ferrandini (1710-1791) – a contemporary of the “beautiful Venetians”: Vivaldi, Albinoni, Marcello, and of Mozart, with whom he has met: in 1771, during their Italian trip Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart have visited Ferrandini in Padova, at his home. 

Giovanni Battista Ferrandini

Ferrandini‘s Virgin is anything but fallen to the ground and acquiescent. “Il pianto di Maria” is a troubling portrait of a mother in deep sorrow who cries out her suffering, and accuses Divinity for having abandoned her son with daring, threatening words. And the aria “Sventurati miei sospiri” seems to be out of this world.  

Composta da Giovanni Ferrandini - autografo

La “Cantata Sacra” a été longtemps attribuée à Händel ; depuis 1991 et grâce à une copie du célèbre Padre Martini sa création revient au compositeur vénitien Giovanni Battista Ferrandini (dont l’opéra seria nettement plus galant “Catone in Utic”a de 1753 a récemment été sorti de l’ombre par Oehms). Dans “Il pianto de Maria”, le chant et les cordes nous font traverser tous les stades de la désolation, depuis la profonde et latente cavatina “Se d’un Dio fui fatta Madre” jusqu’à l’explosion du désarroi et des sanglots du “Sventurati miei sospiri” pour terminer sur le plaintif et tragique “Pari all’amor immenso”.” 

Muse Baroque 

La Vierge de Ferrandini est tout sauf abattue et résignée. C’est une mère rebelle qui hurle sa douleur, accuse le Ciel d’avoir abandonné son fils et ose des paroles menaçantes où semble poindre un désir de vengeance, à moins qu’il ne s’agisse d’une prophétie : “Si, à notre grand effroi, la terre tremble maintenant, à voir un Dieu mourir parmi les tourments des criminels, tremble aussi, Homme, car tu es terre !” L’injustice, la cruauté du sort qui frappe Jésus lui arrachent des cris de souffrance et de colère et lui inspirent des accents tour à tour farouches et tendres. 

Giovanni Battista Ferrandini. Elève de Biffi, ce Vénitien arriva enfant à Munich où, de simple hautboïste, il devint le compositeur attitré de l’électeur Karl Albrecht. L’ouverture du nouvel Opéra de Munich en 1753 avec son Catone in Utica donne une idée de la renommée qui fut la sienne en tant que compositeur d’opéra. Autre témoignage d’estime, et non des moindres : Leopold et Wolfgang Mozart lui rendirent visite dans sa dernière demeure à Padoue, en 1771.” 

ForumOpera 

“Mise en branle par la Renaissance puis par les Lumières, la sensibilité religieuse devient plurielle. “Il Pianto di Maria” de Ferrandini illustre parfaitement cette pluralité. Quel est donc ce Giovanni Battista Ferrandini ? Il s’agit d’une figure d’italien germanisée qui passa l’essentiel de sa vie à la cour de Bavière et compta l’électeur Maximilien III Joseph parmi ses élèves. Les spécialistes se souviennent encore de lui pour deux raisons. En premier lieu, parce que son opéra ‘Caton d’Utique’ inaugure le Théâtre de la Résidence à Munich, le 12 octobre 1753. Ensuite parce que Mozart et son père viennent lui rendre visite au cours de l’été 1771. 

Ouvre longtemps attribuée à Haendel, ses “Lamentations de la Vierge” témoignent d’une piété aussi sincère qu’élevée. Tragique et tourmenté, le ‘Ah me felice’ met en scène l’incertitude d’une âme en proie au doute. Ferrandini use ici de procédés habiles propres à suggérer l’hésitation : on passe fréquemment et sans transition du mode majeur au mode mineur, de la Marche à l’Andante cantabile’. Page d’une suprême beauté la Cavatine ‘Se d’un Dio fui fatta Madre’ déploie lentement un lyrisme digne des plus belles cantates de Bach. L’aria ‘Pari all’amor immenso’, anticipe pour sa part sur l’opéra italien du XIXe siècle. Ces “Lamentations” longtemps oubliées semblent ainsi contenir les germes de deux formes musicales « sécularisées » du XIXe siècle : l’opéra romantique et le lied.” 

Qobuz.com 

“… j ‘ecoute comme un enfant qui découvre le plus beau trésor du monde… quel beau souvenir… la terre c’est arreté de tourner, mon ame est envouté par cette voix, cette musique… les larmes… merci… 🙂

 TheDali2574 

“… wonderfully sad…”

“… absolutely beautiful…”

MES CARNETS VENITIENS: GIOVANNI BATTISTA FERRANDINI 

“Merci pour cette magnifique découverte de Ferrandini!!! Sublimement vénitien!” 

Francois 

“C’est beau, émouvant, élevé, comme la vie à laquelle la spiritualité donne sens.” 

Anne 

“C’est un plaisir de la partager avec vous. Je suis complètement sous le charme de cette musique déchirante.”  

AnnaLivia  

Joyce DiDonato singing 'Sventurati miei sospiri'

11 February 1785: the Premiere of the D Minor Concerto

“Heavy snows and freezing temperatures accompanied Leopold and Heinrich to Vienna. They arrived on 11 February 1785 to find the apartment a hive of activity as Mozart oversaw the copying of a new piano concerto he was to play that evening at his first Mehlgrube concert of the season. During the performance, Leopold marveled at the orchestra’s ability to cope with the “superb” concerto it had to play well at sight.” 

Piano Concerto 20 - 5

On a stormy evening in February 1785, the elite of Vienna gathered to hear a new work of Austria’s leading virtuoso pianist, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The importance of what lay within this masterpiece was known to only one man: Leopold Mozart, the composer’s estranged father…   

The d Minor Piano Concerto was first performed by Mozart at the Mehlgrube Casino on 11 February 1785 (one day after he had entered the work in his Thematic Catalogue). This was the first of six weekly ‘Friday concerts’ given by Mozart during spring 1785. Leopold Mozart arrived in Vienna, after a very difficult trip, just in time for the Premiere of The d Minor Concert. In a long letter written between 14 and 16 February, Leopold described the event to Nannerl, Mozart’s sister:  

“On 11 February we drove to his first subscription concert, at which a great many members of the aristocracy were present. Each person pays a souverain d’or or three ducats for these Lenten concerts. Your brother is giving them at the Mehlgrube. … The concert was magnificent and the orchestra played splendidly. … we had a new and very fine concerto by Wolfgang, which the copyist was still copying as we arrived, and the rondo of which your brother did not even have time to play through, as he had to supervise the copying.”   

Neuer Markt, Mehlgrube on the right - 1760 painting by Canaletto

To read more about the Premiere of The D Minor Concerto, click here.

228 years ago, at the Mehlgrube, this is how it must have sounded like… 

Mozart - portrait by Lange

6 December 1791. The night has come, Mozart…

The papers of divorce 

between the world and the genius

were deposited

in the common grave of the Vienna cemetery

on 6 December

1791,

there where,

to its glory,

the World

threw Mozart

under the  septic lime

of final oblivion.

And since then

the scene

has kept repeating. 

The night has come, 

Mozart…   

Mozart - portrait by Lange

He drew his last breath on the day of 5 December, at one in the morning, watched by his wife’s sister. His body was washed by loyal friends. They accompanied him when he left his house for the last time. It was them again who brought him to the Saint Stephen Cathedral, in a chapel in which he would wait for the religious ceremony – a simple one, according to the low fee of the third class funeral paid for by Baron Van Swieten. His wife had left the house a few hours after his death, “out of too much pain”, and would stay with friends for the next days. She didn’t keep vigil over his dead body, she didn’t follow him on his last journey. It was winter in Vienna, it was cold, it was almost night… God, what a terrible night of mankind!… One by one, the living abandoned the funeral convoy, and so by the time the hearse had passed the Stubenthor and reached the graveyard of St Marx, Mozart‘s lifeless body was being attended only by the driver of the carriage. By that time, in St Marx there had already been two pauper funerals. Mozart was the third. His body was deposited in the common grave, uppermost, by the gravedigger’s assistant and the driver of the hearst. Then came the night. 

Mozart left alone. He remained alone. His wife, “dearest, most beloved little wife”, as he would address  her in his letters, didn’t look for his grave for eleven years. Although her state of health seemed to have quickly improved, since only a few weeks after his demise she was already corresponding with a few well-known editors with a view of selling his manuscripts. And never again, after his death, was she in need to go to Baden for cures; she capitalized his musical inheritance, she remarried, she rewrote his life together with her second husband, and she outlived her first husband fifty years. 

None of his close friends, none of those who knew and loved his music and being, no one looked for his grave, not after one day, not after one month, not after one year. The regulations of the time indicated the deposition in a “common” grave according to the amount of money paid by the Baron, but they did not forbid the placing of a funeral stone on the cemetery wall. Neither Constanze Mozart nor his friends, nor the nobles he had ennobled with his feeling and creation, neither the Viennese who would hum his melodies in cafes, no one searched for him… No one felt the need to prove their respect and affection by marking the place where, on top of other bodies, he found his rest – he, the angel God had sent to the earth of humans who never understood and loved him in truth… 

Ten years after, the common grave was opened, the bones taken out, to make space for other mortals. This was what the third class funeral meant: a grave which confined more bodies together for ten years, and that was all. After ten years, a pile of bones, taken out to be deposited where?… we will never know. A higher class funeral would have meant a grave in the family’s property in the St Marx Cemetery. But it would have cost more: for his wife, for his close friends, for his admirers, for Vienna! And none of those who knew him, who were close to him, no one of those whom he had honored with the divine touch of his being, no one felt that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart deserved a funeral of a higher class. 

The papers of divorce 

between the world and the genius

were deposited

in the common grave of the Vienna cemetery

on 6 December

1791,

there where,

to its glory,

the World

threw Mozart

under the  septic lime

of final oblivion.

And since then

the scene

has kept repeating. 

The night has come, 

Mozart…   

Rest in peace, beloved friend! 

Mozart-Grab

“The night has come, Mozart…” © Claudiu Iordache – published with the author’s permission. 

Rest in peace, beloved soul…

Mozart - 1782-1783 Vienna, portrait by Joseph Lange

It is 5 December. For so many years humanity has been waiting for you to come back. Your music has survived and will go on. But we miss your living heart, your soul enlightened by a divine feeling of harmony! For you have been His gift, which we have not loved enough when He took you back. 

You, Mozart, harrowing light of the darkness that surrounds us! In your park clad in mourning dress, the leaves of winter are whispering your name. It is 5 December. A serene calm overtaken by the night until the world abandoned itself to the despair of understanding it had lost you for ever! If only we could, through our love, resurrect your fragile being, so you could smile to us again, you, Mozart, majestically  sleeping in our soul! If only you could hear how it hurts to know you were summoned forever there where only angels shiver as they listen to you! Oh, Mozart, it is night, the total, endless night in a day of 5 December! A day in which both you and we died a little… 

Mozart, Mozart, Mozart, celestial echo of humanity’s child…  

20090127-Mozart-St.-Marx-Copyright-by-Merisi-002

Click on the image to be there. To leave a rose where he rests. To feel tears in your heart reading the emotional poetry of Merisi’s words and images. To say a prayer for the one loved by God: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and thank him for the precious gift of his divine, uneven music. 

schneeglockchen

 

 © Claudiu Iordache – published with the author’s permission

Happy Birthday, Johann Sebastian Bach!

“Bach, the immortal God of harmony” (Ludwig van Beethoven)     

“Now there is music from which one can learn something!” (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – on hearing Bach choral motets in Leipzig)   

“Bach is thus a terminal point. Nothing comes from him; everything merely leads to him.” (Albert Schweitzer)  

“In Bach, the vital cells of music are united as the world is in God.” (Gustav Mahler)   

“Music owes as much to Bach as religion to its founder.” (Robert Schumann)  

“Bach is Bach, as God is God.” (Hector Berlioz)  

“Not Brook, but Ocean should be his name.”   – Ludwig Van Beethoven (“Bach” is the German word for “brook”) 

“Oh, you happy sons of the North who have been reared at the bosom of Bach, how I envy you!” (Giuseppe Verdi)  

“You can’t have Bach, Mozart and Beethoven as your favorite composers. They simply define what music is!” (Michael Tilson Thomas)  

“And if we look at the works of JS Bach – a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity – on each page we discover things which we thought were born only yesterday, from delightful arabesques to an overflowing of religious feeling greater than anything we have since discovered. And in his works we will search in vain for anything the least lacking in good taste.” (Claude Debussy)  

“Bach is a colossus of Rhodes, beneath whom all musicians pass and will continue to pass. Mozart is the most beautiful, but Bach is the most comprehensive: he has said all there is to say. If all the music written since Bach’s time should be lost, it could be reconstructed on the foundation which Bach laid.”  (Charles Gounod)  

“If Bach is not in Heaven…..I am not going!” (William F. Buckley)   

“Bach opens a vista to the universe. After experiencing him, people feel there is meaning to life after all.” (Helmut Walcha)  

“Study Bach. There you will find everything.” (Johannes Brahms)  

“Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass?” (Michael Torke) 

“The poetry, the atmosphere, the intensity of expression, the beauty of the preludes and fugues grip, overwhelm, and stimulate us. Let us not be afraid of the supreme contrapuntal science of the fugues, nor be overawed by the stern appearance and heavy wig of Father Bach. Let us gather around him, feel the love, the noble goodness that flow from each one of his phrases and that invigorate and bind us by ties strong and warm.” 

    – Carl Friedrich Zelter, the teacher of Felix Mendelssohn (letter to Goethe, 9 June 1827) 

“There was a time when silence was heard, when trees were in harmony with the grass and the song of flowers, when the afternoons were gardens of fragrances and twilights threaded their velvety harps near to the weary eyelids of the day, when the moment lasted an eternity and the longing, the reverie, the melancholy would subdue the impassioned gestures of love…

There was the realm of the preclassical, of the sensibility touched by the music of spheres, of the perfect, unaffected hearing, at whose gate sublime inspirations would turn up…

Then lived on earth an Albinoni, a Pergolesi, a Marcello, a Corelli, a Haendel, a Vivaldi, a Bach. They lived, they composed, they accomplished, meeting the universal stillness with the  whispers of the genius dressed in transparency and serenity, and from a certain moment they disappeared in the turmoil of a world who had begun moving its armors.

Never again will there be a servant more modest and humble than the composer of paradisiac callings which we can hear – graceful blessings for the spirit – in the four seasons of perfect music…”  

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (21 March 1685 – 28 July 1750): 

“Harmony is next to Godliness.”      

 “I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music.” 

“Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.” 

“Where there is devotional music, God is always at hand with His gracious presence.”   

“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” 

“There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument will play itself.”  

“I was obliged to work hard. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed just as well.” 

“My masters are strange folk with very little care for music in them.” 

“For the glory of the most high God alone,  

 And for my neighbour to learn from.” (Johann Sebastian Bach, epigraph to Little Organ Book, 1717)