|A vintage valentine that lends itself to this autumnal narrative. Image: Kimberly Eve Musings.|
September 22, 2012. It's the first day of Autumn! It was this time of the year when Mozart and his wife Constanze journeyed from Vienna to Prague for his staging of Don Giovanni in 1787. This journey was the subject of a novella written by Eduard Mörike in 1855, entitled Mozart's Journey to Prague (Mozart auf der Reise nach Prag). Mozart and his wife Constanze arrived in Prague on October 4th and the opera premiered on October 29th at the Estates Theatre. They remained in Prague until November 15th. It's considered to be one of the rare occasions where Mozart relaxed and indulged in a holiday.
My sister Sheryl surprised me with a wonderful gift in celebration of the Mozart Year in 2006. It was Mozart: The Golden Touch, a five-part dramatized series for CBC Radio. It was created by Lister Sinclair, the broadcaster, playwright and Host Emeritus of IDEAS. The series originally aired on CBC in 1991 (the bicentennial of Mozart's death) and was released to the public for Mozart's 250th birthday anniversary. Of the five narratives in the collection, Mozart on the Road to Prague (The Story of the Nine Oranges) is my favorite. Based on Mörike's novella, it's narrated by the character of Countess Eugenie as she recalls the story when Mozart and Constanze unexpectedly stopped at her estate on their way to Prague.
In honor of the first day of autumn (meine Lieblingsjahreszeit! my favorite season!) and the opera's approaching 250th anniversary, I thought I'd present this story to you here. I arranged a visual display and used my Nikon CoolPix to capture it. As the camera is used primarily for digital photography, the audio quality unfortunately doesn't hint at all to the beautiful sounds that came from my Bose sound system, but instead of being crystalline, it's charmingly rustic! The program is approximately an hour (I missed a bit of the encore music at the end because the camera battery was exhausted), so I filmed it in two sections and the converter edited it into five parts.
As for the visuals, I used my own autumn decor along with my copies of Mozart and Prague (2003) by Harald Salfellner and Mozart: The Man. The Musician (1976) by Arthur Hutchings. I chose to open the Hutchings book to display A Morning Walk, the 1785 oil painting by Thomas Gainsborough. I was drawn to it because the subjects were unknown (giving license to imagination!), its leisurely context and also because of the artist's affection for music. Hutchings: "Music was one of Gainsborough's greatest passions and although he had not yet moved to London when Mozart was there as a boy, he must have heard later much about the young composer from the Linleys, who were his close friends."
Enjoy the autumnal journey to 1787!