The life of the locked-out Other Mozart…

“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…:-)

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‘Miles’ and die zauberflote…

I nicknamed my horse “Miles” because of my appreciation for the incomparably awesome jazz/fusion of Miles Davis, and also because his gaits are so smooth. “Miles” and I did a photo shoot yesterday. It is for a seminar I am taking on cinema production at Independent Film Project Minnesota http://ifpmn.org/

The video I will be creating will, I hope, be an impression of my proof-of-concept-short Out of Night and Fog. In it, I will use photos of “Miles” and me coming out of the vortex of night and fog. In those photos I am mounted and carrying the flute. (More about that later). This photo is an out-take showing “Miles” reaction to my playing the flute for him…:-)

Minnegeddon and Luke 6:22…M4B*

In my morning Bible reading I came across a passage that I had read many times without understanding that it might have a deeper meaning for my situation in being locked-out by Monostatos’ Orchestra.  It is the passage from the Beatitudes that reads, “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man.” (NIV)

I cannot think of a statement that better describes my experience with the Monostatos Orchestra and those players who enticed me to ‘practice’ on the darkened stage at Orchestra Hall in order to exclude me, even target my home and my children, and silence me once and for all.  It is a very odd experience to be excluded.  You may be standing in the midst of people who are, in fact, excluding you.  They refuse to give you a voice.  They look past you and ignore you.  They may band with others to do the same thing. There is nothing to do but accept this apparent indignity and acknowledge the disrespect that accompanies it.

However, for Believers, we have a higher goal.  For every gift of the Holy Spirit will, by its very nature, be excluded by the world, or in the case of music, by what I call the Kingdom of the Night.  When that happens I must gracefully let go and move on.  We are not called to cast our pearls before swine.  We are to wipe the dust off our feet and keep going.  We are to give thanks to Him who went before us, jumping for joy. 🙂

*M4B=Mozart For Believers

 

Why die zauberflote? M4B* :-0

What is it about the sound of die zauberflote — the real magic flute about which the opera was written — that is special?  What makes it different? From my perspective I can tell you, first of all, that playing the flute is a humbling experience. I can wake up in the morning, set out what I want to accomplish, get my practice schedule in order and then, all of a sudden, everything turns upside down.  Every time I play things change.  I feel that I am in the center of a huge vortex that keeps swirling around.  Sometimes things get very scary, but they always manage to turn around and work for good.

As I have lived with this energy of die zauberflote all my life, so to speak, it has been difficult for me to step outside of the box and perceive what it is that seems to create such tumult and conflict about die zauberflote.  With my present understanding I can simply say that it seems that when I play die zauberflote it is as though Wolfgang Mozart is in the room.  There is an energy, a joy, a brilliance, an excitement, that seems to be unique.

I have never understood why the energy of die zauberflote seems to frighten some talented players, but it does.  Just the same, they are missing the point, as die zauberflote is a gift — a gift of gentleness, a gift of shalom.

die zauberflote is how I pray. Whenever I pick up the flute and consider a person or situation while playing, everything tends to turn upside down in their life and then work for good.  It always helps.

die zauberflote is also, I believe and have been told, a gift of the Holy Spirit.  It has those qualities, and can become, initially, a stumbling block to some.  But if they just maintain a gentle heart, everything works for good.  If not, it seems that whatever they wish for me becomes their fate.  This is very frightening to me.  I can say with sincerity that I am afraid that the aisles of Orchestra Hall are already filled with the corpses of those who have tried to block die zauberflote.  Why would I ever want there to be any more?  For this reason, I am sharing what I know…

So, if you could consider that die zauberflote represents the voice of Wolf, who was murdered, I believe, but not completely silenced, I think you will have the best orientation for experiencing it as, not a threat, but a profound gift. I’m not supposed to be here either.  I consider my own life a miracle as well…:-)

M4B=Mozart For Believers

My 3 K’s..my older son…M4B*

Me with my three K's...:-)
How happy we were before Monostatos…:-0

I have been blessed with three children.  That there are any at all is little short of a miracle, due in significant part to the fact that, as a teenager, I found babies terrifying and unpredictable.  However, when I reached a point in my life where I knew that if I only lived for myself I would dry up on the inside and be a hollow shell of a person, I realized was ready, at least in part, to become a mother.

Born in San Francisco, on a rainy day in early December, a child who would never know what life was like before man landed on the moon, my older son was a miracle beyond comprehension.  With complete confidence he surveyed his surroundings. He was comfortable with everyone and everything.  At six weeks he flew with me to the East Coast to begin a new life in Boston.  In his infant seat, looking out the window, he was completely at home in the air.

All our lives have been a veritable rollercoaster since then.  We have experienced more confusion, mystery, excitement and terror than we could possibly have imagined.

And out of this, I hope and pray, is everything working for good.  Coming through the night and fog of the vortex, coming out of the fires of testing, is someone unique.  I am a teacher.  I do think that he may be a preacher…:-)

M4B=Mozart For Believers…

 

 

A very Nazi Xmas…M4B*

We are all supposed to think that WWII ended in 1945 and all traces of Nazism are either demolished or illegal, but, speaking of my own experience, I must disagree…

When I was growing up, I felt as though I were living in some sort of bizarre Nazi camp; one not unlike Dora from which the illegally housed immigants were worked to death in the military installations of Mittlework and Nordhausen to create the fantastic V-1 and V-2 rockets.  I am exaggerating, of course, to some extent, for literally speaking, my existence was far superior to theirs.  However, emotionally and spritually speaking, there was an unfortunate relevance.

Of all the persecution that I received in my birth family, one of the most hideous aspects of it was the spectacle called “Christmas”.  I call it “Xmas”, as it blotted out every conceivable vestige of what The Lrd Jesus Christ is really all about. Ours was about tinsel and cotton padding on the mantel, and was as empty.

The worst trick that my Mother seemed to enjoy playing on that holiday was what I ended up calling a game of ‘substitution’.  Whatever gifts it was that I wanted usually ended up on my sister’s chair, while my gifts were things that were irrelevant to me, such as a holder for my records, or sports equipment which I had no interest in.  I learned to prepare for the indignity by locating as many gifts as possible ahead of time, so that my sister would not see me reduced to tears Xmas morning.  Apparently, the theme of my life, according to my birth family, was supposed to have been that ‘god’ (whatever that was) was blessing my sister and cursing me.

This was such a strange and lonely time of year.  We had no family in Connecticut.  A colleague of my father’s included us every Thanksgiving as extended family, but at Xmas time we were on our own. I used to think that the Nazi’s must have celebrated Xmas in a similar way — with their haves and have nots, blotting out everything that was true and graceful and substituting that which is cold and dark.   When I grew older and became involved with a family who had come to the US after the war as part of Wernher Von Braun’s team (specializing in jet engines, however; not rockets) I came to understand that my impressions of our family Xmas were not at all incorrect.

Since those sad times I have been able for the most part to happily let go of Xmas almost entirely.  I don’t decorate, and only participate when I feel I have no choice.  I always preferred Chanukah anyhow. 🙂

*M4B=Mozart For Believers

 

Misinterpreting the opera Die Zauberflote…:-0

One of the most curious scholastic errors I find myself having to deal with is the lack of intellectual curiosity on the part of scholars interpreting Mozart’s intent and vision with this opera.  For many years the libretto was simply ridiculed — there were ‘two’ Queens of the Night, for example.  How clumsy of Wolf!  How artificial the temple setting…<yawn>…3 children bobbing in and out to keep Pamina from taking her own life in despair, how very trite!  The Queen of the Night ‘must’ have been modeled after Constanze’s mother, Madam Weber.  We all know that!  Oh, and, of course, Sarastro was modeled after Ignaz von Born: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_von_Born. No curiosity there.  End of discussion.

In short, if there is anything about the opera Die Zauberflote that the critics don’t understand, they have just tended to blame Mozart!  To think that he, of all people, would agree to such a lumbering and clumsy plot!  What was he thinking?  :-0

Musicians and their critics have, in my estimation, one consistent shortcoming, and that is a refusal or an inability to think outside-of-the-box.  If it doesn’t come on paper, staff or otherwise, or someone has not ‘told’ them something, they just refuse to consider the possibility. Very unscholarly approach, to my thinking…

If, on the other hand, one considers that a genius such as Mozart knew exactly what he was doing and agreed to, and sensed in a way that he was launching this opera out into a future time and place where it might even conceivably come to exist in the material world, one might actually grasp what Wolfgang Mozart was all about.  For he did not have a mind riveted by limited thinking.  He simply moved forward with assurance and tenacity, not unlike the father of modern rocketry, Wernher von Braun on his quest to land men on the moon and return them safely to the earth.

So to those tempted to settle for superficial clues to what the opera Die Zauberflote is really all about I humbly ask that you consider the possibility that Wolf was describing people who would not even be born on this earth for over 200 years, and that he was doing his very best to describe them. 🙂

 

 

 

The prophetic opera Die Zauberflote and what I am calling ‘Minnegeddon’…:-0

If you dare to look at Wolfgang Mozart’s last major opera, Die Zauberflote, as prophecy, instead of simply a sublime singspiel, you cannot help but begin to understand what Wolf was really all about and why he had to be silenced.  Here in the Midwest, in the 21st century, the entire opera has come to life.  Right now, we are at the equivalent of the last major fight scene between the Queen of the Night, Monostatos (and his orchestra) are coming up against Sarastro and his loyal brethren.  My husband, my longest best friend Brad (Papageno) and I (Pamina) are making our way through the last of the trials.  We are exhausted, and a bit worn around the edges, but alive and resilient.

The extraordinary lovely power of the flute has brought us through every difficulty and each seemingly impossible test.  My only regret, at this point, is that my three dear children (now grown) are not with me.  They have been spun out of the vortex and are, artistically speaking,  currently being held captive by the (second) Queen of the Night, who happens to be my sister.  Ironically, in the opera, there is no mention of what happens to the three children; simply that they are there to help Pamina survive the separation from Tamino.  The reality has been much more traumatic than I would have wished.  Just the same, they are the best people I know, and I have faith that all will work for good in the end…so bear with us…:-)

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