Thursday, December 29, 2011

Memories of Mozart

I often think of Mozart. He wrote some of the greatest operas ever heard, even though he was not Puccini. My father said that he was really Italian and writing under a penname – why was never explained. My father also said that one pound of pasta broken in half yields two pounds of pasta – go figure.

One of my favorite operas by Mozart is the “Magic Flute.” He wrote it for the common people. However, tickets to see it performed today would be prohibitively expensive for many of us. Mozart belongs to the rich – like Shakespeare. Never mind the fact that at the time of his death he was a pauper, discarded by his wealthy patrons and left to the not-so-tender mercies of his arch rival, Salieri, who some say killed him. After his death he was tossed into a common grave somewhere in Vienna. Such are the fickle sensibilities of the affluent.

Mozart’s genius was exploited and abused in his time. Today I fear that genius is neglected and even loathed. One wonders how many brilliant and talented people labor their life away for a pay check that barely meets expenses. While they live without the resources to go to school or the time to embrace their destiny. A waste of such a person is a travesty for society.

With the Middle Class shrinking, the income disparity growing and the increasing animosity of the haves toward the have nots, I ask two questions for our modern times. Shall we continue to accept the assignment of value and meaning to our humanity, dignity, passions and gifts based upon criteria that we can’t meet like large stock portfolios and immense aggregate wealth? If not, how will we stop it?

I often think of Mozart these days. Perhaps, I am desperate to keep the memory of genius, of brilliance alive in a world where mediocrity is fast becoming the only thing the common people are allowed.

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