Mozart: The Funny Genius

MozartWhen we think Mozart, we most always think composer of classical music, a guy who wrote a lot of pieces, who was maybe killed by Salieri (Amadeus lied to us), and was a musical genius.

However, there was a lot more to Mozart than that. The composer was so multifaceted, and in fact, possibly the biggest smart-a$$ of the 18th century.

His famed “Requiem” created so much controversy, intrigue, and speculation, and his operas, though not popular in his time, have since become hits of the opera world. But, what about some of his lesser known pieces such as, “Leck mich im Arsch” K. 231, “Bona Nox” K.561, or “Difficile Lectu” K. 559? If we were to listen to these canons without knowledge of the German language, they would sound quite lovely. You could imagine a group of people possibly raising their voices up to the heavens, however, that is not the case…

Mozart’s sense of humor albeit, juvenile, was evident in his music. “Leck mich im Arsch” can be translated as…let’s just say that the first word and last word sound what you probably think it means.

In “Bona Nox,” Mozart writes almost a lullaby of words except for the last bit. Here is a rough Translation, “Goodnight! You are quite an ox; My dear Lotte. Goodnight! Phooey, phooey! Goodnight, goodnight! Poop in your bed and make it burst! Goodnight, sleep tight, and stick your bum to your mouth.”(Note: Two of those words were made PG as to not offend conservative classical music lovers.) While shocking to some, it’s quite funny to most others. Mozart loved potty humor (scatology). Not only did he use it in his music, but also in letters written to and about family members.

In one letter to his cousin, Maria Anna Thekla Mozart, he wrote, “Well, I wish you goodnight (so far so good). But first, poop into your bed and make it burst. (What?) Sleep soundly, my love, into your mouth your bum you’ll shove.”

Mozart was 21. “Well, he was young, he grew out of it.” Not really. By this age, Mozart had written approximately 30 symphonies and was already well known across Europe.

Why do I make this connection and why do I think it’s important to make? I believe we take classical music too seriously, and clearly Mozart didn’t. He created chorals and music with butt lyrics, partied, and loved it. He was a cheeky, humorous, and having fun with what we call music. This is a person who composed over 600 works in a life that spanned only 35 years. While there most certainly were times that he focused and cut the crap, (pun intended), he still lived with a sense of lightheartedness. Let’s just say that if the creators of South Park had lived in the 1700s, Mozart would have been dying to write the score.

This Saturday, January 23rd the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera will present the funny genius’s “Requiem” at the Community Center Theater. Concert begins at 8pm. To learn more about the show and how you can purchase tickets, visit the event listing here.

***This blog post was written by the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Raymond James Irwin.


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