Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born 250 years ago today, and everybody’s writing about him. Arts & Letters Daily has a roundup of links at the top of today’s page (including a link to my own essay in last month’s issue of Commentary, which will be available for free on line through the end of January). I especially like Tim Page, who quotes the ever-quotable Ferruccio Busoni:
He disposes of light and shadow, but his light does not pain and his darkness still shows clear outlines. Even in the most tragic situations he still has a witticism ready; in the most cheerful, he is able to draw a thoughtful furrow in his brow. He is young as a boy and wise as an old man–never old-fashioned and never modern, carried to the grave and always alive.
If you’re in the mood to listen to something beautiful, my Commentary essay ends with a list of ten of my favorite recordings of works by Mozart in minor keys. This is the one to buy if you’re only buying one.
UPDATE: Thanks to Modern Kicks, I found this link to a wonderful W.H. Auden poem about The Magic Flute that (horrors!) I didn’t know. It’s on PostClassic, Kyle Gann’s artsjournal.com music blog. (In addition to the complete text, Gann’s posting also contains a link to an audio file of Auden reading the poem.)