A name too long to capture the simple beauty of his music.
Ears open and facing the open Opera, I took it in. Horns vibrating from lips pursed and pressed to the narrow end. Strings shuddering with the touch of bow hair. Precision in the procession of Mozart’s music.
Dressed in wigs and white ankles, the orchestra arrives.
Now though the music is Mozart’s, his command never graced this hall. Big and beautiful, the Wiener Musikverein opened in 1870, just under eighty years after his death.
Despite the anachronism, the Wiener Musikverein’s style is that of the high renaissance, its designers enforcing strict historicism in its form.
With high ceilings and gold galore, the site is impressive.
Crystal sparkles like a smile with translucent teeth
One bling, one bright star on hanging canines
Lips laced with golden antiquity.
Dripping there- down the walls from coated ceiling
Here- across from our balcony- more.
Deep winds and slow strings
weave something more valuable if you listen.
Trace the walls with your eyes, with
Ears pressed firm to solid beauty, hear,
the music congealing and falling
Like loose crystal between us.
But I am getting ahead of myself. You can’t have the music without the man. Let’s start at the beginning.
1756, Mozart is born in Salzburg. Within his sixth year, he is paraded around the country as a prodigy. Just a child, the music flows easily from his nimble fingers. It is in Vienna where he spends most of his years composing and playing, elevating the city to a new standard of music.
The city of music, this is what I thought when I booked my ticket to Vienna. Though the city is known for a multitude of artists, Mozart is at the forefront, his name marking more cafes and shops than any other, vendors grasping at adjacent notoriety.
I decided to play along, poking my head in such storefronts and strolling through the manicured garden that encircles Mozart’s monument.
It was beautiful. He is immortalized in frozen figure, but the tribute is alive. Flowers grow from under his feet and form a giant treble clef in the grass.
Resting my legs on a park bench adjacent to the monument, I began researching Mozart concerts and quickly found the Concert Wiener Mozart Orchester. The Orchester plays through two hours’ worth of Mozart’s most notable pieces.
I booked it, pulled out my little black dress, and began a slow walk to the concert hall. Stopping for dinner and a glass of wine, I wrote.
Red wine for my red lipstick
More rouge than red
Color set to fade above
My corset pinned and clasped a hundred little times
Over silk and cotton until I settle on nothing
It is best to be bare
To be stripped of every awkward article until
The corset fits just right
Taut around torso
Something to look at before my face
The lipstick is fading after all
Rouge on the ocean of open lips
And who am I if not pretending
As my salad settled, I continued my stroll to the Wiener Musikverein. I still had an hour and a half to kill, and the concert hall stood in all its evening glory in front of me.
I took a lap around the block, wandering through side streets and storefronts I found myself in the deafening silence of a hotel restaurant. The friendly waiter went erily quiet as soon as we passed through the arched doors, and I knew what was happening. I was among the rich.
Accidental Glass of Rose
The rich do not speak, they murmur
Taken by the cafe quiet, they are silent.
Young girl can’t return my smile
The small movement is hushed
By stone-cold parents,
Shushed lips vibrating together for snide from
White face and white hair spiked like an aristocratic Guy Ferrari.
The waiter is more than kind to me,
I wonder how he got here.
Where he smiled before preparing these silver platers
How they shine, sparking
around an inch of food for €55.
I’ve been there too,
Serving the silent,
Paid for pretending,
For smiling at their luxury of nothing.
Sipping my single glass of rose, I read and wrote as I watched the time tick by. At last, it was five til eight, and I stood in line for the concert, excited and slightly uncomfortable with the abundance and glamour around me.
Nevertheless, I mounted the stairs and took to my balcony view, a birds-eye just over the musicians, perfect for quiet observation.
White ankles and calves starched to the knee. Here, legs turn black with a fold, leading up to yellow, blue, green, and purple, all colors gold with threads of antiquity.
The music swells and changes, a dull churning consuming sound, and this is just the first song. We clap, polite silence save the slap of skin on skin. We must clap before and after every piece, just as they must don powdered wigs for posterity.
For the semantics of the symphony.