Friday, April 28, 2006
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
A Mistress of Sorts
Our daughter grows apace while he and I are like two old hats lying side by side on a shelf in the cupboard. Now that is intimacy.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Saturday, April 22, 2006
On his last evening, I suggested we take a moonlit walk by the duck pond.
A wild boar bellowed out of the darkness of the mountains when we reached the end of the path. We laughed, waiting for the mournful howl to come again, talking freely and without shame as old friends – of how I reminded him of Papa when I performed an especially long trill with my tongue between my teeth. He told me this and so much more, before we collided trying to avoid the branches of a tree.
I confessed that he, my dear Jakob, used to visit me in dreams dressed in a scarlet coat with gold buttons and white silk stockings and with buckles on his shoes. He laughed again and called me his little Schätzl and assured me, as if I did not know already, that it was indeed a dream.
I stumbled when my shoe slipped in wet, fallen leaves but he steadied me with his arm and I felt the child within me turn. We saw each other fully by moonlight and I could hear the wind that came from the rise and fall of our breathing as we stepped apart. The moon shivered on the surface of the lake and we returned to the house, reluctant to let go of the past. N.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Mm-m. That’s a fair composition. N.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
In Permanent Motion
Monday, April 17, 2006
Sunday, April 16, 2006
My Beloved Father
He complained of indigestion that would not go away. He asked that Leopoldl should lie beside him in his bed. Now Papa is in heaven and I am inconsolable. N.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
‘Neither the composer nor the performer is obliged to a strictness of time. What you are about to hear are extempore touches in place of any formal effects.’
I bowed solemnly to our audience of intimates and thought I heard a murmur of bees when I sat down to play, though it may have been an air of agreement at the simple lack of requirement.
After a FREE style Preludio, my cousin sang the aria,‘Porgi, amor,’ from Le Nozze di Figaro. She sang with such fluid and beseeching tones that the older women wept while their husbands closed their eyes and smiled at some memory.
At the end of our little concert, three marble cakes and several plates of Viennese pastries with glazed cherries were consumed at a lick. Conversation on the merits of vibrato was so lively between guests that Johannes pronounced the evening a success and Papa said to anyone who would listen, he wished Wolfie had been there. N.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Sunday, April 09, 2006
The Readiness is All
Friday, April 07, 2006
I have heard there is a certain castrato whose legato and messa di voce are celebrated in Upper Silesia, who executes a slow crescendo followed by a slow diminuendo without the least change in his tempo di vibrato. In short, he is a phenomenon. N.
A Change in Plans
I am worried that our primo soprano may hold his breath, sing a thousand notes a minute but neither pronounce the text clearly enough nor understand the emotions he is meant to express. What if there is all the flair of a trapeze artist and none of the poet? Not the castrato then…though I have a cook, who warbles well enough and who has a fullness of body and such heartfelt shrieks when she chops the head off a bird that I think I may have found my Lady Macbeth if not my Cherubino.
"Long live the knife!" is the cry in my kitchen and no longer in the opera house. N.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Rivals of Another Kind
‘Basta!’ cries Papa. ‘As if I am NOT already an overworked and exhausted kindergarten!’ (He has quite forgotten that it was HIS idea, HIS wish and HIS insistence that HE borrowed MY son for his entire infancy.)
What to do? I replied in a letter from Saint Gilgen.
‘Asso-luta-menta-niente,’ Papa wrote back and in my mind I could hear him toss his inkpot at the wall. ‘I shall simply say I cannot be a nursemaid to their increasing brood as they may well have such a fine time abroad, they will FORGET to return for another two years. Out of the question and OUT of order, my son!’
Poor Wolfie, named after a lake - but I have read the score of Le Nozze di Figaro and it is perfect – so, not so poor as Salieri. N.
The Marriage of Figaro, 28th April, 1786
‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ will have its first performance tonight and friends have informed Papa that Salieri and his friends ‘will move heaven and earth to down his opera.’ The cause of this sabotage? Jealousy. N.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Well At Last
Leopoldl is Unwell
Sunday, April 02, 2006
It would seem his uncle - that well tended plant, has found success in Vienna with his subscription concerts and his string quartets. Papa paid a visit to Vienna in time for Lent and reports that Herr Joseph Haydn turned to him at the end of one of these concerts and said: ‘Before God and as an honest man, I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me in person or by name.’ N.