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Celebrating Mozart's Birthday

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Born 258 years ago on January 27, 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was arguably the greatest composer and musical genius who ever lived.  Einstein and Tchaikovsky worshipped Mozart, as did many others.  Mozart is a man for all seasons; his music inspires, delights, and heals, and still sounds revolutionary today.  To help celebrate Mozart's birthday anniversary, here is a poetic tribute, followed by a resource guide listing some online resources that may be unfamiliar even to hardcore Mozart fans.

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Maozart

Maozart was such a genius
 he made a thousand flowers bloom
and when he died they saved his body
  inside a giant gilded tomb.

It's in Tiananmen Square.  You can go see it.
   They play his symphonies while you kneel.
  Whether you're Chinese or Russian or Greek
Maozart makes you think and feel.

His music is magic, and sometimes tragic.
   His cousin Mao killed millions of people.
Now China loves Wolfie, like everyone else,
  even the Western imperialist sheeple.

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Maozart wrote down his music
inside a handy Little Red Book.
   The workers revere it, they do not fear it
and if you think this is gobbledygook

think of Lang Lang and Yundi Li,
Cho Liang-Lin and Yo-Yo Ma---
   They all grew up on noodles and Maozart.
   Maozart fills them with love and joie
   Maozart is their Shangri-La.


On Listening to Mozart After a Long Absence


And it all comes down to you, Wolfie,
it all comes down to you.  I'm back now,
can you ever forgive me?  It's been
six whole months since I listened to you last---
I don't know how I made it, it was crazy,
but I needed to get away, I needed to put some space between us,
my love, because your wavelength is the purest in the universe
and I had to stop using you as a yardstick to measure
all the other music I listen to (of course they all fall short by that measure).
I had to date others...the French, the Russians, the Italians,
the Scandinavians, and so forth, I had to experience
the agonies of this infant century and the last one
through Penderecki, Shostakovich, Lutoslawski, Szymanowski, Rautavaara, Enescu, Schnittke, Martinu, Dutilleux, Casella and others I won't even name.
Plus all the old favorites, Vivaldi to Tchaikovsky, you know what I mean.
But nothing compares to you, Wolfie, it was like
not having sex for fifty years, a barren period in my life.  True, you never
healed me of my neuroses or helped me reach nirvana
but that was never part of the deal.  It feels good to be back,
glorious, in fact.  Please accept my deepest apologies.  I promise
I won't be leaving again any time soon.


Mozart & Flute


Mozart hated the flute
yet he wrote the greatest flute music in the world,
music that expresses the soul of the flute
and music that expresses the soul of the human.
Besides the uncanny flute concertos, flute quartets and other pieces
he also wrote The Magic Flute, an opera
in which the sound of the flute performs miracles.
There's a lesson in there somewhere, I'm sure,
but I'd rather not dwell on it.
I'd rather listen to the magical flute music
by the man who didn't care for its sound.

Music

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I love Schubert, an angel's wings brushing my face,
and Chopin plumbing the depths of joy and pain.
I revel in Boccherini's voluptuous grace
and Ravel's exquisite harmonies of France and Spain.
I worship Vivaldi, master of healing sound
and Rossini brimming with infinite wit and mirth,
Beethoven also, marshalling forces that astound,
but Mozart is the key to heaven and earth.

I live for Mahler's psycho-dramas of life and death
and Shostakovich raging against the machine.
I dig Bach, cosmic space imbued with human breath,
and Dvorak's life-giving spirit, forever green,
Tchaikovsky, Schumann, Liszt, and Brahms of course,
Bizet's symphony and La jolie fille de Perth,
Haydn is my god, a primal force,
but Mozart is the key to heaven and earth.

Resources

The Mozart Forum (http://www.MozartForum.com).  Devoted to discussion of the music, persona, and world of Mozart, this website includes biography, portraits of Mozart, and links.

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Walt Gelles is an American writer based in India. He is the author of Options: The Alternative Cancer Therapy Book (Penguin/Avery).


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