Mozart, Mozart’s Magic Flute and Beethoven.
We began our overview of Mozart’s Magic Flute with a reference to the German music critic Joachim Kaiser’s comment in his Bayern IV radio show, Beethoven: Werk und Wirkung, according to which Beethoven found its variety very stimulating. Since such an opinion might not have developed overnight, it might be very interesting for us to particularly investigate Mozart’s influence and the influence of his opera The Magic Flute on Beethoven.
This investigative journey will not be ‘smooth sailing’ across a calm sea, but a rather lively, invigorating one that will require us to, on occasion, take detours and to watch out for every ‘change of wind’. It will set out in Bonn with our observing the youth Beethoven as he becomes acquainted with Mozart’s works, but also as his teacher holds this former wunderkind and then-up-and-coming great young Viennese composer up as an example for him to follow, which might also have increased Beethoven’s curiosity and eagerness to finally meet this great man in person during his first visit to Vienna. Will his expectations of Mozart have been met?
After that, we will, perhaps again, read certain prophetic words that have found entry in Beethoven’s farewell album, after which we will follow him to Vienna in 1792 in order to learn if he was able to live up to what others expected of him in his role as Mozart’s ‘successor’. However, we will also want to observe how he tried to free himself from this role in order to pursue his own path.
What will be the result of his severing his ‘musical umbilical cord’ to Mozart? Perhaps, the result will be a continued appreciation of Mozart and also certain variations that might be of interest to us!
How will Beethoven’s relationship develop during his more mature years of the beginning 19th century? Will Mozart remain the greatest composer in his mind? What position will he take towards him in the event that this should not be the case? Will his keen understanding of the variety of the roles of the Magic Flute also have an influence on his judgement in his personal life? These are some of the questions that we will try to answer here.