Lo and behold, as I was checking the archives at Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc blog, I found an article about Mr. Vanska’s new adventure in Japan. That alone does not surprise me, as he seems to be making a grand getaway before things blow up at the MO due to their lockout of…the Zauberflote. But what caught my attention is that he mentions, of all people, Mozart, in his quote. As if he liked Mozart…even appreciated him. Based on his and his colleague Mr. Shrickel’s treatment of the Zauberflote, such a statement is truly ironic…
There was a point in time, not so long ago, when it seemed that just about everyone was enamored with the concept of the “Mozart Effect”. Why, it helps children to be smarter! It’s great to listen to during childbirth! It’s good for stress! You name it, there seemed to be some lovely quality or another at work whenever one listened to a piece of Wolfgang Mozart’s music. And this is as it should be, as it is my position that his music is a gift of God, and generates shalom.
So, it would be only natural to expect that die zauberflote — which also has the “Mozart Effect” would be welcomed with enthusiasm. Why would it not? one might ask…
But no — people, upon hearing me play die zauberflote, tend to fall into two camps — either they weep tears of joy or they become silent and may also grit their teeth. Someone even recently suggested that I ask to have a study done on the effects of people listening to die zauberflote, as the responses seem to be so profound. In fact, I have a request in at the UofM, which, ironically, is where I did my flute performance major some time ago. Ironically, the response there was — you guessed it — completely bizarre.
It puzzles me that I can go into a worldly place, such as a school, and have someone call out, “Glory be, the great lady is here!” and I can go into a congregation, or onto the darkened stage at Orchestra Hall and find silence so deep you could hear a pin drop. And then, slowly, people may start to crawl out of the woodwork, so to speak, and behave very strangely indeed.
Just one of the mysteries of die zauberflote, I guess. I should know by now…
*M4B=Mozart For Believers
For the first time in almost 200 years the sound of new Mozart — his Zauberflote — was heard on the stage at Orchestra Hall. But it was not heard during a concert, nor was it given a proper introduction. Instead, the man I call “Monostatos” –a bass player –enticed me with the Zauberflote to ‘practice’ on the darkened stage. This priceless sound was heard throughout the building because the sound system was connected to the stage.
And yes, during this time Monostatos was even causing me bodily harm.
Week after week, during the 666 days of our captivity at the hands of Monostatos, I played from the flute and violin repertoire on that darkened stage. To what end? Colleagues of Monostatos literally crawled out of the woodwork, behaving very strangely, to say the least. Everyone in the orchestra knew what was happening. The concertmaster at the time called us “Beauty and the Beast.” But have you heard the slightest bit of excitement about these unusual circumstances? No. The tiniest shred of concern for the panic and trauma my children and I were subjected to? Nothing. Instead, Monostatos and his cadre have done everything in their power to keep all this secret while slandering my credibility.
During the 2012 lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra players, I began to wonder if their being locked out had any connection to their earlier ‘lockout’ of me and the Zauberflote. So I wrote to Mr. Vanska and explained my situation. I pleaded for the Zauberflote to be heard again on that same stage. I did everything I could think of to bring the Zauberflote to the attention of the Minnesota Orchestra Board as well. I felt that this would be an opportunity to resolve both their issues and mine.
But, unfortunately, that did not happen. To this day, those letters have, in fact, gone unanswered…
Well, here we have another lockout — Orchestra Hall is dark once again, and has been since March. We are approaching the day — December 21 — when Monostatos legally became a part of my family. It is also his birthday. Has he, or anyone else, come forward to tell the citizens of this great state the truth of what has been going on? Monostatos and the Minnesota Orchestra have no problem taking funds from public coffers to support them and their projects, and yet they seem equally comfortable concealing the truth of this situation.
I can only hope that the uncommon ‘common people’ — the salt of the earth — will come forward to help this situation come to light.
With best wishes for the season…
When Wolfgang Mozart wrote his last major opera, The Magic Flute, in 1791 he had no knowledge of a place called “Minnesota”. In fact, at that time there was no such place in any formal way, as Minnesota did not become a state until 1859. However, this opera may have turned out to be more than a delightful and exquisite singspiel — it also may contain a prophecy…
Mozart describes a minor character who is simply a blackguard who tries to torture, etc, Pamina. His name is “Monostatos”. Hmm…odd coincidence? It happens to sound not unlike “Minnesota”. Well, in the opera, Monostatos is a rogue to tries to interfere in Pamina’s relationship with her stepfather, Sarastro. Monostatos also ends up trying to assist her wicked mother, the Queen of the Night. A nasty character indeed!
Now let’s turn to another odd coincidence. The Minneapolis Symphony changed its name some time past to be called the Minnesota Orchestra. They did not have to do that. In fact, that seems a rather odd thing to do. But they did.
Then, into the orchestra walks someone who has had a significant influence on the life of my children and me. Someone who, almost literally, crawled out of the woodwork at Orchestra Hall. This person did everything in their power to control our lives. Fortunately this situation did not last forever. It did, however, last 666 days. Needless to say, the effect on all of us — especially my three children — has been traumatic.
What I call the lockout of me by the players occurred at that time. And this person, to my thinking, whose behavior qualifies them in the ranks of “the lowest of the low” can only be called “Monostatos.”
During the 18-month lockout of the MO players I attempted to bring this ironic situation to light, but to no avail. But an inexorable process still seems to be in place. “Monostatos” is apparently still embedded in their midst. But what may have been intended for ill might instead be working for good…
And all that goodness will take place in Minnesota…:-)
“You can’t play under pressure,” the lowest-of-the-low — the player I call “Monostatos” — whispered in my ear as we stood on the darkened stage at Orchestra Hall. I had been invited often weekly to ‘practice’ on this stage, and the sounds of die zauberflote soared even throughout the building when I did. Mozart, Bach, Neilsen, Khatchaturian, Mahler were my usual contributions — at times playing violin as well as flute concertos. But Monostatos, as usual, was not being truthful. What he meant to say was that I was surrounded by adversaries who managed to control almost every area of my life. Monostatos himself led the cadre of players who crawled out of the woodwork to make strange statements and even odder requests. This could only be described as a very bizarre experience.
But Monostatos had miscalculated. I had learned long ago to observe the behavior of people when they heard die zauberflote for the first time. That had happened over a year earlier, in this case. Monostatos’ reaction had been especially interesting. He lay in wait, as it were, and then attempted to falsely criticize me. I could have told him then that, ‘well, this sound is perfect, so I can do whatever I want,” but I bit back those words. Instead, I observed. And I waited for die zauberflote to do what Wolf had promised in the opera long ago — to stop evil in its tracks and use everything for good. Miraculously, as I hope you will see, that is what has happened…:-)
The best way for you to understand die zauberflote is, of course, to hear it. It has a peculiar energy and resonance. It causes some to lock their jaws and grit their teeth, and others to weep tears of joy. Those who hold a gentle heart are greatly blessed. Any ill-intent will be stopped in its tracks. Surely you will find that these characteristics are consistent with those Wolf described in his last major opera? And then you will perhaps come to understand that the opera is, in fact, a prophecy that is now being fulfilled…
Though locked out by a so-called ‘major’ orchestra, where the music director is refusing to hear me and grant me my credentials, even though I was enticed to practice regularly during the day on that darkened stage by the players I call “Monostatos”, while the exquisite sounds of die zauberflote soared throughout orchestra hall. At the insistence of Mr. Schrickel, I was even recorded one night in that empty hall. I ask you to listen and decide for yourself what to think…
One of the most traumatic aspects of my life with die zauberflote is the realization that man people, some in my family who I love very dearly, have tried to use it for money, against God’s will. I believe this happened to my Father, who nearly died by his own hand. There have been grave consequences to others as well.
As die zauberflote is a gift of the Holy Spirit, this unfortunate reality lines up with the Word. For example, a couple named Ananias and Sephira, in Acts 5, lied about the cost of a parcel of land and presented only a partial tithe. They thought they could cheat God! They died on the spot and were carried out.
During my involvement with the Minnesota Orchestra, it was devastating to see the consequences of some of the players who, in effect, crawled out of the woodwork at Orchestra Hall with ill-intent. One lost his job and died drunk. Another died of a brain tumor. Another suffered a brain tumor but has survived. A third became violently paranoid and schizophrenic. His second wife, also a MO player, was forced to retire due to being unable to handle the loudness of the orchestra.
We are now coming to grips with a beloved family member who is caught up in tragic circumstances that seem unbearable. At one time given a position of influence in Hollywood, they did nothing to help die zauberflote, and, in one case, have, unfortunately, showed me disrespect. This person lost their job due to being unable to tolerate the decibel level at the place where they worked as a sound engineer. This person is so very dear to my heart. They are a child of God and need Jesus, so I ask that all of you who are Believers pray for him and all my children. I believe old doors are being closed and new ones open for him and that he is coming to understand that his circumstances have been engineered by God.
*M4B=Mozart For Believers
A while back music critic and arts lover Norman Lebrecht wrote a somewhat impudent and controversial book about Gustav Mahler, called ‘Why Mahler?’ Even though Mahler’s music was at last standard fare with most symphonies, his stated intent was to bring additional attention to the symphonies and lieder of Mahler. The central focus of the book was apparently to ask and answer the question of what value Maher and his music have for us today.
As curious as this book is, there may be wider and even more significant implications to Mahler and his life than anything Mr. Lebrecht has posited. In fact, Mr. Lebrecht might have deliberately slanted or eliminated significant facets of Mahler’s life, possibly even for some mysterious agenda of his own. Some of these significant issues may, in fact, have something to do with me and the Zauberflote. And Mozart. And New York City.
Let me explain…
If I am correct, when Wolfgang Mozart died some sort of vortex of energy was created. It was centered at the house where he died, on Rauhensteingasse, in Vienna. It may have been created from the energy of the unusual and additional gift in Mozart’s music — something I call a ‘gift of shalom’. It is also the ‘Zauber’ in the Zauberflote. Something unique. Something overwhelmingly controversial. Something sublime. It has also been labeled “The Mozart Effect.” Exactly what happened to Wolf is another story, and one that I won’t go into now, but let me just say that it seems to me there is still a great mystery around Wolf and his death, and the existence of such a vortex just might be part of the explanation.
Mahler found his passion for composing in Vienna and spent much of his life there. Did he sense the vortex connected to Mozart and his music? Did he step into the mystery of what happened to Mozart and why, as, for example, I think Beethoven did? Or could he have been unsuspectedly pulled into this vortex of powerful energy? I ask this question because of what he decided to do at a critical point in his life.
When working with the Vienna Opera became unbearably painful, Gustav Mahler set his sights on America. New York City, to be specific. He became the first globe-trotting conductor of great stature. In fact, for the last five years of his life he traveled back and forth between Europe and America, conducting with the newly-funded New York Philharmonic.
All right, you might say. A couple of interesting coincidences…
But there is more. Mr. Lebrecht fails to include any mention of what Gustav’s wife, Alma, said about her husband’s last words. What were they?
“Mozart! Mozart! Mozart!”
I boldly proclaim that this exhortation puts dear Mahler in the center of the Mozart vortex. Not only that, but Alma actually moved to New York City after his death, living at 120 E. 72nd street. She died there in 1964. So was she aware of his possible connection to the vortex?
Mr. Lebrecht knows of me from my posting on his popular Slipped Disc blog during the lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra players. I hoped, as a fellow Mahlerian (for I am indeed also obsessed with Mahler and his music) that he might listen to what I had to say. I explained that I felt I had an unusual and tangential connection to the lockout, in that previously some of the players, whom I have no choice but to call “Monostatos” used the stage at Orchestra Hall as a device to threaten and discourage me and, in effect, lock me out. I had hoped for at least a sympathetic ear. But, instead, Mr. Lebrecht allowed a music critic from Chicago (where I was born, incidentally) to attempt to slander me on that blog. That attempt was not successful and, ironically, Andrew Patner collapsed and died unexpectedly a few months later. So it was at this point I accepted that I had not won over Mr. Lebrecht, who boasts of 1 million viewers a month on his blog.
Let me finish by stating that because of my Father’s job as a metallurgical engineer, our family moved from Chicago to the New York City metro area when I was three and I grew up in a nearby town in Connecticut. Later I moved to New York City, living not far from where Alma had lived. My dear husband Donner, who passed away tragically and unexpectedly this spring, grew up in the same neighborhood.
And so I ask you, and Mr. Lebrecht, to consider the possibility that the importance of Gustav Mahler has yet another dimension, one certainly mysterious but perhaps even more profound than of those we already know.
Did Mahler bring the Mozart vortex from Vienna to New York City? And, if so, what are the implications?
When people listen to die zauberflote (the flute, not the opera) I ask them, when given the opportunity, to tell me what they hear. Why? Let me tell you…
I am constantly amazed at the unusual aspects of this gift. I have found that die zauberflote is like a laser — it somehow almost instantaneously starts to cleave truth from falsehood. This astonishes me. Some hear what I call a sound of shalom — something gentle as a baby’s breath. Others hear something less ethereal. A few have said they thought they heard Mozart’s voice in the music. That is fascinating to me, as normally I do not.
Having people crawl out of the woodwork when I was at Orchestra Hall taught me a valuable lesson. At that time I was naive and eager to learn. I had no idea that my practising on the darkened stage might have a powerful effect behind the scenes on some of those with a trained ear. Those who hear a sound of shalom usually comment on that, sometimes even accompanied by tears. Those with a gentle heart , as Wolf says in the opera, will have an increase in favor wherever they go. But others will give me a look of contempt and begin to nitpick. They purse their lips. They seem to take offense. They fold their arms. They murmur. They tap their feet. They complain. They sometimes even gnash their teeth. They may even attempt to make feigned compliments while grimacing (not a pretty sight).
These adversaries may try to take me down, lock me out, slander me behind my back and exclude me from opportunities that could provide substance and respect commensurate with this great gift. If they were to lift their little finger they could open doors. They may act obsessively, attempting to insinuate themselves into my inner circle to gain influence. They may, in effect, shun me — treat me as though I am already dead and act as though they are simply waiting for something to happen. They might even try to lure me into losing situations. I never know what to expect.
Unfortunately, some may think they can, in effect,’steal’ die zauberflote and use it for their own ends against Gd’s will. They cannot, of course. (Often this destructive behavior is accompanied by calling me by my dreaded nickname, “Pam”. When I am being “Pammed”, I have little doubt what lies in store.) However, as Believers, we do know that Gd will at times put some people in our way not to hold us down but to push us up into our destiny. Who knows what purpose is behind this?
This gift of die zauberflote is perfect, in the way a perfect fourth or fifth (as opposed to a major or minor interval) is perfect. What do I mean by that? If you listen carefully to Mozart’s music you will hear something different, something extra. A certain sound, so to speak — something gentle and joyful. This has even been called the “Mozart Effect”, as those who listen to his music find themselves more grounded and serene. In fact, from my standpoint, this is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which made Wolf’s music different from everyone else’s in a very subtle, yet dramatic, regard. Nobody could copy this; nobody could imitate it.
This also seems to be true of die zauberflote. Some who take offense at this difference appear at times try to push their own musical flaws onto me. Some will summon up from the depth of their being their deepest worries and fears. In actuality, were I ever to go into competition with any of them I would probably know their weak spots.
Could they have, in fact, fallen into a pothole of Wolf’s ‘ein musikalischer spass'(K522)? Yes, long ago, on a day when Wolf was probably bored with writing ‘nice’ music that everyone ‘liked’, he drew his sword and put a number of compositional anomalies into a piece by that name. Is that, in effect, what some critics are claiming to hear in die zauberflote? If so, are they really oblivious to the fact that the indomitable Wolfgang Mozart has triumphed yet again, the joke really on them? In essence, have they been “Wolfed”?
Listen and decide for yourself what to think…I accept the grumblers, gently sidestep them, and keep moving forward.
What does ‘zauber’ mean, anyway? Sparkling clear one moment, a mystery the next? Things turning upside down and everything working for good? (Cor. 4:24) I am used to never knowing what to expect. Things may seem completely unpredictable, and then fall into place. This is how die zauberflote works. Perhaps one day its gentle shalom will persuade even them. 🙂
*M4B=Mozart For Believers