Jan 27, 2015

Happy Birthday Wolfgang!

Birthday Cake

It’s January 27th – the day the universe gave us Johannes Chrysostomus (after St. John Chrysostom) Wolfgangus (“Running Wolf” after his maternal grandfather – almost sounds Native American, nicht wahr?) Theophilus (Lover of God or Beloved of God) Mozart. Latin was popular at baptisms in those days (1756.) By the way, Theophilus was the name of his godfather, who was of course present for the baptism. And did I mention that January 27th was the Feast Day of St. John Chrysotom in the Roman Catholic Church calendar?

While in Italy, Mozart apparently referred to himself as Wolfgango Amadeo, but much of the time called himself and signed documents Wolfgang Amade. Most of us know him as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – but none of this would make one ‘hill of beans’ of a difference had he not given us the music he wrote during his brief life lasting just shy of his 36th birthday.

I first “met” Mozart when I was a child. My mother, wonderful pianist and musician that she was, held W.A. in great esteem and played his music frequently. There were likenesses of only three famous classical musicians to be seen in our home – a kind of curious trio. Small prints of paintings of pianist/composer/politician Ignaz Paderewski, Johannes Brahms and Mozart hung on the walls. I quickly learned who these individuals were and the special place each of them had in my mother’s heart.

All this definitely made an impression on my little brain. But I especially remember one of the vinyl LP records that she ordered through the mail. It wasn’t the first LP that I remember listening to. For that story one needs to go back to my blog “What is Maullaria?” . I can’t remember precisely how old I was when the Mozart LP arrived – thought it was definitely while I was still in elementary school. What I do vividly recall is how wonderful Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 and his Symphony No. 29, the two works on the LP, sounded to me.

If you’d like to have a happy day today – why not take a half hour and give your undivided attention to pianist Maurizio Pollini, conductor Ricardo Muti and the members of the Philharmonic Orchestra of La Scala, Milan, perform this concerto. You will be so glad that you did!