Today I’d like to share a short music history anecdote.
Before I begin though, credit must be given to Dr. Linton Powell, retired UTA professor/organist/musical historian, for passing this story along in my Music History I class. He claims this story actually occurred, and that historical documents and letters exist to back it up.
The setting: late 1700’s, Europe (likely in Vienna), the home of a rich nobleman
The context: Mozart teaching piano to the daughter of one of his patrons. People don’t always realize this, but even the greatest musicians/composers often needed other forms of income (usually teaching) to augment their performance/commission revenue.
The story: During a piano lesson, the patron’s daughter begins to perform one of Mozart’s compositions. Not long into the piece, Mozart joins her on the upper register up the keyboard and begins to improvise a beautiful accompaniment that both embellishes and compliments the components already present.
On an important side-note, those who have ever seen the movie Amadeus will certainly understand that Mozart acted a tad eccentric and just plain strange at times. The film, of course, takes a fair bit of creative and historical license with these traits, but the point comes across loud and clear. If you have not seen it, find a three hour block and allow yourself to experience a cinematic masterpiece.
With that point addressed, back at the piano, Mozart grows tired of the duet with his student. He promptly stands up, walks over to a nearby dinner table, climbs up on the table, and begins to hop around meowing like a cat.
Now every time you see this picture, you can imagine him meowing.
And being an absolutely brilliant composer.
And then some.