Oh sorry! Hi!
Of course Dad didn't really know Mozart, and anyway I think that the lyrics to song should in truth be 'Lloyd George knew my Father' in homage to a great British Prime Minister, or just possibly since I believe he was considered something of a ladies' man, 'Lloyd George knew my Mother'... but that's a different story altogether, and a complete waste of time although it has at least got us started on the old Mozart quarter millennium bandwagon.
I mean absolutely everyone else and his singing dog is doing it, so why shouldn't I? And indeed the very reason for this essay is that I heard an interview on the radio the other day featuring one of those everyone elses lamenting the fact that so many of the other everyone elses were busily using the Mozart quarter millennium bandwagon to sell tatty souvenirs and furniture and chocolates and back massages and, for all I know, front massages; and so this particular everyone else (who, now I think about it might possibly have been some high official from the Mozarteum or the Salzburg Town Council or something uppity like that) was lamenting the fact that all these other everyone elses were, by making their honest (or their dishonest) buck (or rather Euro), somehow demeaning the great man.
Now far be it from me to disagree with some high official from the Mozarteum or the Salzburg Town Council or something uppity like that, but I bet the only thing about all the cashing in on this important and two hundred and fiftieth anniversary that would in any way get right up Mozart's periwig would be the fact that since he happened to be dead at the time he couldn't make any money out of it himself.
I mean come on, this is a guy one of whose greatest misfortunes in life was that he grew up and couldn't be paraded for large sums of money around the courts of Europe as a blindfolded piano playing infant prodigy any more ... Um ... I mean, Mozart was blindfold, not the piano; I mean a blindfolded piano would be ridiculous and even an eighteenth century one would need a prohibitively big blindfold. Oh! forget all that!
In fact I seriously doubt that you could find a single eighteenth century musician alive---at least one alive in the eighteenth century---who wouldn't have done absolutely anything he could, however demeaning, foolish or anachronistic, for that extra florin or gilder or mark. None of this---then or now---stops them being variously great, nor does it stop Mo from being one of the greatest. No, no it just shows that like other men he put his pants on one leg at a time.
And I think that it is important that we note at this juncture how; apart from certain of the more flamboyantly patriotic Scotsmen; and, from time to time, David Bowie; and of course George Eliot all great men are said, when commenting on their lack of difference to mere slobs in the street, to put their trousers on one leg at a time---in fact I, as a young man, and as a direct challenge thrown into the face of this dictum, developed a technique of lying on the bed in my underwear and my feet in the air like a dying Gaul or perhaps more like a dying cockroach, and writhing around until I could put my trousers on both legs at a time. I would occasionally fall off the bed, but otherwise this was a noble effort. And so now when people say "Well that RHB, he may write all those weird essays and programs and stuff, but he still puts his trousers on one leg at a time, just like any other man!" Cognoscenti, such as you, can leap out at them and cry "No he doesn't! Actually!!"
Cheery Mozart-io for now
from Richard Howland-Bolton.