Casey and Dr. Sophia Tegart discuss Mozart’s dirty letters, and they are read by Mozart* himself!
*Tylor Neist debuts on the podcast with a fantastic portrayal of Mozart.
All music clips on the show courtesy of http://www.musopen.org
Casey Bozell 0:00
Hey everyone, just a heads up for this episode I did bleep out all the actual swear words, but there’s a lot of talk of things of an adult nature here. So be advised of the ears that are around you and have fun.
Today on keep classical weird, Dr. Sophia Tegart and I are talking about Mozart, he left a whole trail of writing behind that gave us some unique insight into who he really was. Since we have this collection of letters. I want to talk about the letters and how we can what we can derive from his personality. I thought I had to burp there for a second so I was gonna stop myself.
Sophia Tegart 0:45
Speaking of dirty humor,
Casey Bozell 0:46
I was gonna say, blerp!
Welcome friends to episode eight of keep classical weird. I am your host Casey Bozell, and today we’re talking about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You may have noticed the title of this episode dirty Mozart, and today we’re looking at evidence that was left behind from his life that strongly supports Mozart being a dirty bird.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived from 1756 to 1791, a tragically short life, and surprising to some given his long lasting influence and piles of music he wrote. Many people today know Mozart from a couple potential sources, his music of course, and the 1984 Best Picture winner, Amadeus, both contain a hefty amount of Mozart’s giddy spirit. But there’s a particular part of Tom Hulce’s portrayal of the character that tends to stick with you long after the film ends,
Sophia Tegart 1:59
Okay, I think everyone immediately thinks of the laugh, because the laugh is epic.
Casey Bozell 2:03
It is epic.
Sophia Tegart 2:04
God, I really hope that was his laugh, because it just embodies that, you know, juxtaposition of the twinkle in the eye, and like the wit and the humor and the intelligence with the just outright body reaction. That presentation of Mozart, I think is, is how I like to see him when I when I played his music.
Tylor Neist 2:31
There’s a third source that’s not as woven into popular culture. And that’s the collection of letters that Mozart wrote to his father, to his sister, to his cousin and to his wife. And there are glimmers and all of these that capture what kind of person Mozart really waWhen I am, as it were completely myself entirely alone and of good cheer saying traveling in a carriage or walking after a good meal or during the night when I cannot sleep. It is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundant once and how they come I know not nor can I force them, those ideas that please me I retain the memory. And I’m accustomed, as I have been told to hum them to myself. If I continue in this way, it soon occurs to me, how I may turn this or that morsel to account, so as to make a good dish of it. That is to say, agreeably to the rules of counterpoint to the peculiarities of the various instruments etc. All this fires my soul and provided I am not disturbed, my subject enlarges itself becomes methodized and defined and whole, though it would be long stance almost complete and finished in my mind, so that I can serve as like a fine picture, or a beautiful statue at a glance. Nor do I hear in my imagination, the parts successively, but I hear them as it were all at once. What I delight this is I cannot tell all this inventing this producing takes place, in a pleasing, live dream.
Sophia Tegart 4:15
This is fascinating. So when Leopold Mozart wrote his violin school, you know, teaching method or whatever he said in the intro that he was going to write the biography about his his son and what have you. And he decided to use the family letters as a way to write this biography but also have those letters be filled with advice on life, morality, all of this stuff, so he was obsessive about keeping those letters and inventorying them and making sure that they provide a nice narrative back and forth. And he used to scold Wolfgang, because he didn’t write back enough. And if he did, he wouldn’t write in a way that his dad thought he could use it in this biography. So the reason why we have these letters is because Leopold was going to collect them all and publish them as a biography.
Casey Bozell 5:26
These letters were all kept, compiled, translated, and are readily available online and as a collection in a book Some of the letters are a little hard to slog through, he tends to use this medium as an effective journal. So there’s a lot of details about how he went about his days, but there are real gems in there too. And much of the letters that stick out for him are letters to his young cousin,
Tylor Neist 5:50
dearest Cuz Buzz. I have received reprieved your highly esteemed writing biting. And I have noted doted that my uncle Garfunkel, my aunt slant, and you two are all well, Mel, we too, thank God are in good fettle kettle. Today I got a letter setter from my papa aha safely in to my paws claws. I hope you too have gotten my note quote that I wrote to you from Mannheim. So much the better better than much so my the love of my skin **** on your nose. So it runs down your chin.
Casey Bozell 6:31
Okay, that’s strange, and quite a stretch for writing purposes. The contents of these letters are so different than the rest and so full of enamored praises that Some have speculated that Mozart was secretly in love with this cousin of his
Tylor Neist 6:48
My Father gives you his avuncular blessing, my sister 1000 cousinly kisses, and your cousin Wolfgang gives you what he do not give.
Casey Bozell 7:01
On the other hand, he also went to the trouble of sending her stories like this one.
Tylor Neist 7:06
Now, I must tell you of a sad thing, which is just happened this very moment. As I was doing my best to write this letter, I heard something on the street I, I stopped writing and I got up, went to the window and the sound ceased, I sat down again, started off again to write but I had hardly written 10 words, when again, I heard something I got up again, as I did, I again heard a sound, this time quite faint, but I seem to smell something slightly burnt. And wherever I went, it smelled and when I looked out the window, the smell disappeared. When I looked back into the room, I again noticed it. In the end, Mama said to me, I bet you have let off one. I don’t think so Mom, I replied. Well, I’m certain that you have she insisted. Well, I thought, let’s see, put my finger to my *** And then to my Nose, and ecce provato est. Mama was right after all.
Sophia Tegart 8:17
So the letters to his cousin are called the Basil letters, because Basil I guess means little cousin. those letters. I think a lot of times you might think they’re flirtatious. But at the same time, I find them kind of endearing. You know, when you have that little cousin that you that you hang out with at family reunions, who is funny and who gets your humor and so you can kind of just be yourself. That’s what I get from those letters.
Casey Bozell 8:44
As for letters to his dad who had really great visions of putting this together as an anthology, his responses to him varied wildly. They’re often full of praise, sometimes full of stories, sometimes a little bit of arguing, and then there are those where he’s clearly not telling the full story.
Tylor Neist 9:05
I Johannes Chrisostomas is Amadeus Wolfgang sigismunis Mozart. confess my faults in that the day before yesterday and yesterday and on many previous occasions. I did not come home till 12 o’clock at night and that from 10 o’clock until the hour aforenamed at Connabich’s house in the presence of an in company with Connabich, his wife and daughter I frequently not gravely but quick frivolously made verses and those obscene ones about dung excrement and arschlicken thought word. But not in deed.
Sophia Tegart 9:48
When he addresses his dad and sends him these letters, I mean, it’s just like when we call called home when, at least when I called home in undergrad. You know like how school Great, I’m studying all the time. And things are, like, really good. I think it would be not as respectful for him to, you know, send a letter that says I’m partying it up dad.
Casey Bozell 10:13
At this point, it might not surprise you to know that there is actually an entire Wikipedia entry dedicated to Mozart’s scatological humor. The guy joked about poop, he rewrote lyrics to choruses to instead be about poop. He told stories about farts, the list goes on and on.
Sophia Tegart 10:30
Well, he did write lyrics or make up lyrics for known melodies here and there. And there’s even a list of like all the songs that he has that have lyrics to them, you know, but what I find fascinating is, is we’re so obsessed with that with him, which rightfully so, I mean, Who would have guessed when I was in high school learning the Mozart flute Concerto in G major. I never in a million years would have thought that Mozart was someone who wrote about ****ing on his cousins nose. That’s weird. That’s strange. You just don’t expect it from the music that he writes. Right? So for me, it’s hard to accept that, you know, because we look at him as being this high art person, right. But I think what we often forget is that, at that point in time, he’s kind of from a servant class. You know, he’s not, he’s not nobility, he’s not in the upper echelons of society, except for in a servant. manner. He’s writing music for people. He’s serving the upper societal levels. Were through his music, right? So we need to remember that he’s coming from a social class that does enjoy this kind of humor.
Casey Bozell 12:07
Knowing this, let’s listen to a letter to his wife that he wrote while he was away from her for an extended period of time. You now might find this charming or naughty. It’s okay to find it naughty.
Tylor Neist 12:20
Dearest, most beloved wife of my heart. Oh, how glad I shall be to be with you again, my darling. But the first thing I shall do is take you by your front curls from how on earth could you think or even imagine that I had forgotten you for even supposing such a thing that you will get on the very first night a thorough spanking on your dear little kissable ***. And this you may count on.
Sophia Tegart 12:52
Mozart definitely was still a child when he was 23. I feel like that’s because, you know, his dad was hauling them around Europe early on, it’s like the It’s like he never really had a childhood. You know, his dad was like, now you will go play for Marie Antoinette. Although, you gotta wonder, I think Mozart might have just been precocious throughout his entire life.
Casey Bozell 13:18
You know, sometimes I look at these letters. And I wonder what conceptions people might have of classical musicians today? Are we some sort of representatives of high art or unattainable Grace? When we present Mozart’s wonderful, beautiful music? Are we shoved in that same stereotype? Or do people know that we also belch and swear, because if belching and swearing leads to a greater understanding of classical music, well, I have a plethora of examples in our community to bring you All of us do that, too. We all have. We all have the dirty lyrics to pieces that we play,
Sophia Tegart 13:56
Casey Bozell 13:58
Do I know the dirty lyrics to Don Juan?
Sophia Tegart 14:02
[singing] Don Juan gets laid more than I do, but that’s okay
Casey Bozell 14:13
And that’s our show for today. Special thanks to Dr. Sophia Tegart at Washington State University and Tylor Neist who brought us an impeccable Mozart. The theme music you’re hearing is by Thomas barber who has never belched or sworn in his entire life. Check out more of his stuff at Thomasbarber.com web development support is provided by Tina at Citybeautifuldesign.com Tina thank you for the tea set. Keep classical weird is created and edited by me Casey Bozell, find us on Facebook and Instagram. For more music appreciation in the bite size form, you can visit my patreon at patreon.com/CaseyBozell, thanks for listening everyone. Stay safe. Stay weird.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai