Reading by candlelight. Oil painting by Jean-Baptiste Santerre (1658-1717). Today, on December 5, 2013, at 12:20am local time, Mozart ...

Dear Mozart: Remembrance in Light and Letters

Reading by candlelight. Oil painting by Jean-Baptiste Santerre (1658-1717).

Today, on December 5, 2013, at 12:20am local time, Mozart admirers from around the world joined me in a candlelight vigil to remember the anniversary of the composer's death. Our candles were aglow for 35 minutes, the duration of his life, and extinguished at 12:55am, the time that his light left our world in 1791. I invited vigil participants to not only write a letter, but to also capture their sentiment in words illuminated by candlelight in a photograph. I encouraged them to be as light-hearted and/or as reverent as they wished, calling on their own creativity and emotional impulse for direction, while being mindful that Mozart himself would probably prefer our indulgence in dancing, punch, billiards and improvisational games to celebrate his life! (His birthday is next month, so be prepared!)

When I happened upon this painting by Santerre, my imagination perceived the cherubic Mozart reading letters written by his admirers brimming with the praise that escaped him during his lifetime. Here he is, reveling in the words of individuals deeply inspired by his music 222 years after his death, his tender countenance beaming in a subtle, yet profoundly appreciative smile. Mozart was never as popular then as he is today. These letters represent the admiration from a general audience that Mozart sought to cultivate through his public concerts and operas in Vienna.

As for my homage, I wanted it to be theatrical, comedic and reverent at the same time. Call it drama giocoso. Mozart always requires a stage and I provided him with a seat at the piano with glowing footlights (votive candles) and a wintery alpine landscape with glistening snow-covered trees. A metaphor, I set the stage for Mozart to sweep us away and capture our hearts. We miss you.

Mozart Candlelight Vigil, December 5, 2013. Image by Sherry Davis.
The resulting pictorial essay is a moving and powerful statement highlighting the collective that is Mozart. He is us. We are him. Mozart belonged to the world and as the response to our vigil declares without hesitation, we have remained a global family unified by the values of great art: love and fraternity. In the photos I received from Mozart admirers, individuals shared their personal spaces and affects as if to welcome us into their homes. Our vigil was represented in 15 countries, including Austria, where a candle was lit in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. As we remember Mozart's human frailty on this day, may we recognize our own and embrace life and music all the more fervently in gratitude.


Mozart Candlelight Vigil 2013
The illumination of sentiment from Mozart admirers around the world...

Debbi McGillicky. Canada.
Monica Carvalho. Sweden.
Tori Tompkins. England.
Anna Leticia Domenico Maso. Brazil.

M Piera Morandi. Italy.
Tel Asiado. Australia.
Celeste Mackenzie. Canada.
Cristina Iordache. Romania.
Brigitte Pfisterer. Austria.

Jackie Moldawsky. USA.
Sofia Lehera. Spain.
Ela Rusinek-Szmigiel. Silesia (Poland).
Sheryl Davis. USA.
Edwina Kavanaugh. USA.
Arnaldo Volani. Italy.
Alfredo Tamez. USA.
Gianluca Di Donato. Italy.
TGregg McClain. USA.
Marie Nissanka. New Zealand.
Francisco Marin. Chile.
Maria Jablon. USA.

Laura Helena Rautiainen. Finland.

Petchwipa Kong-um. Thailand


Tel Asiado said...

Lovely work of art, dear Sherry! Thank you so much for taking time to connect us together. I've just "met" other Mozartians because of you and our love for this gifted genius wunderkind Wolfie Mozart.

Vive l'amour from Oz!

Tel alias Inspired Pen

Sherry Davis said...

Thank you, Tel! It's such a privilege to work alongside fellow Mozartians to advocate Mozart's life and music while sharing (and indulging in!) our mutual passion. We're all doubly blessed for it!