180 Days With Mozart And Me

A Survey Of The Philips Complete Mozart Edition…From Symphonies Through Theatre And Ballet Music

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Of Staring Tykes and Tarnished Flutes (German Operas, Box 16)

June 3rd, 2010 · No Comments · Box 16: German Operas, Die Zauberflote, Die Zauberflote (Part III), K620, K620 (Part III), Magic Flute, Mozart at 35, Panera Bread, Vienna (September 29 1791)

German OperasAs I sit here at Panera Bread, there’s a baby girl sitting in a high chair staring at me. She’s with her mom, of course. Babies don’t drive.

Mom is reading the latest book from Donald Miller (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life).

Since her daughter can’t read, she has nothing to do but look around. And stare at me.

So she does.

Her mom just gave her a Motorola Razr phone to play with. Probably not a good idea. But it keeps the little tyke somewhat occupied with the beeping and flashing lights (and the sound of the Razr hitting the floor).

They just left. Now there’s someone else sitting in the chair, texting on her phone, while a laptop rests on her folded legs. Now that’s multi-tasking.

Part Three of Die Zauberflöte, K.620, isn’t as magical as the first two.

Part of the reason why is because I don’t enjoy the vocals as much. The male performers have voices that irritate rather than inspire me. Oh, they’re world-class singers. Don’t get me wrong. I can hear they’re absolutely superb.

But beauty being what it is, my eyes (in this case, my ears) don’t behold the magic of the finale to one of Mozart’s most beloved operas.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t see Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) should it be staged in my area of the world. I probably would. But I’d probably be bored by the end of Act II and all of Act III.

Here is what I listened to today, complete with the best guesses of scholars regarding where and when each composition was penned. This information was pieced together from The Compactothèque book + CD, which is an essential purchase if you want the fullest enjoyment from the Philips Complete Mozart Edition. It’s only about $8 and the sampler CD, alone, is remarkably enjoyable. But the booklet is gold, Jerry! Gold! Keep in mind, some of these places and dates are merely guesses. But I find it fascinating to see even guesses for some of these compositions. They help me put Mozart’s life and creative output in perspective.

For example, Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart was born on 27 January 1756. With that in mind, take a look at where and when these pieces were composed. I’ll add Mozart’s approximate age in the parenthetical data below each composition:

1. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – Dialog “Tamino, wollen wir nicht speisen?” (Hans Jörn Weber)
2. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – “Ach, ich fühl’s” (Margaret Price)
3. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – Dialog “Nicht wahr, Tamino” (Mikael Melbye)
4. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – “O Isis und Osiris, welche Wonne!” (Rundfunkchor Leipzig)
5. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – Dialog “Prinz, dein Betragen” (Hans Jörn Weber)
6. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – “Soll ich dich, Teurer, nicht mehr sehn?” (Kurt Moll)
7. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – Dialog “Tamino! Willst du mich denn” (Wolfgang Kühne)
8. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” (Mikael Melbye)
9. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – Dialog “Da bin ich schon, mein Engel” (Justus Fritsch)
10. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – “Bald prangt, den Morgen zu verkünden” (Margaret Price)
11. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – “Der, welcher wandelt diese Straße voll Beschwerden” (Peter Schreier)
12. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – “Wir wandelten durch Feuersgluten”
13. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – “Papagena! Papagena!” (Dresdner Kreuzchor – members)
14. Die Zauberflöte, K.620 / Act 2 – “Nur stille, stille” – “Die Strahlen der Sonne” (Kurt Moll)
– Vienna, September 29, 1791 (Mozart was 35)

It’s hard to sustain my interest in an opera over three CDs. Even one as lauded as The Magic Flute.

So it should come as no surprise to anyone that I thought this installment of Flute had lost its luster.


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