In true Mozartian fashion, I thought I'd celebrate my birthday by making a pilgrimage to  W.A. Mozart's   notable Novemb...

A Mozartian Birthday Pilgrimage

In true Mozartian fashion, I thought I'd celebrate my birthday by making a pilgrimage to W.A. Mozart's notable November 9ths, including their associated music and events. I've given these entries here along with links to our celebratory playlist!

Tuesday, November 9, 1762 
Vienna: Performance for Marchesa Vincenzia Pacheco
(Count Collato presents Wolfgang with a poem by the Baron von Pufendorf)

Sunday, November 9, 1766
Munich: Wolfgang plays for Prince-Elector Maximilian Joseph III

Sunday, November 9, 1777
Mannheim: Wolfgang plays organ in the court chapel

Tuesday, November 9, 1784
Vienna: Composition of the String Quartet in B flat, K. 458 (Listen
It was entered in Mozart's handwritten thematic catalogue and is the fourth of six string quartets dedicated to Joseph Haydn.

Monday, November 9, 1789
Vienna: Premiere of the aria "Chi sà, chi sà, qual sia” for soprano, K. 582 (Listen) and the aria "Vado, ma dove?” for soprano, K. 583 (Listen)

This birthday "pilgrimage" is inspired by the surprise I received in my copy of the book, A Mozart Pilgrimage: The Travel Diaries of Vincent and Mary Novello in the Year 1829. Documenting the English couple's visits with Mozart's sister Maria Anna ("Nannerl"), his widow Constanze, son Franz Xaver Wolfgang and some of his closest friends, their diaries are "trenchant, blunt and revealing" (Sir William Glock, General Editor). A Mozart Pilgrimage represents one of the earliest published accounts of music fans/admirers engaging in music heritage tourism (visitor economy) and preservation through empirical research and narrative history.

When I placed my order, the curator mentioned that the book contained postcards and a letter, but I couldn't have anticipated the fine print! The letter was mailed with the book just a few days after I was born to the city where I was born: Athens, Ohio. It was sent from Oxford, England to the sender's Professor friend at Ohio University where I pursued my undergraduate studies in music and psychology. Incredible!

The postcards, lending life to the Novello journey, were just as exciting to receive. The images are in black and white with handwritten captions. They're in pristine vintage condition. Subject matter includes a portrait of the Novello family and 1956 German stamps commemorating the bicentennial of Mozart's birth. Since the postcards aren't mentioned in the letter, I assume they were added later by the recipient. Were they curated from the Professor's travels? Did he find them in an antique shop?

I wish I knew more! The book has its own story just like the one it contains. And I'm happy that, through this extraordinary encounter, we've crossed paths. Whether I hear music playing in the least likely of places, inimitable opportunities arise or I have a personal/auto-biographical experience as I did when I received this book, I feel that it's history's way of rewarding my work and telling me that I'm on the right path.

Justifying my passion and the all-consuming sacrifice it requires, these occurrences act as a source of encouragement (or in this case, "birthday cake!") for me to continue on this often precarious journey.



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