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Wednesday, December 15, 2004
  approaching Don Giovanni

My favorite image of the mythical Don Giovanni is in Fellini's 1976 film, Casanova. Casanova, brilliantly cast with Donald Sutherland as the ladie's man, is at a dinner party when he hears that Don Giovanni is present. We see the Don only briefly, his silhouette moves through a nearby passageway. Casanova is interested and takes note.

Why would this mysterious character be so interesting to the young Mozart? Whatever our speculation on that point, the Don reminds us that Mozart's music is not the music of a charmed life. That Mozart was not the good little baby that nowadays drools in front of a mirror which has a dinky music box that plays some version of "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" Mozart himself would never have recognized. Mozart is not the model we should have for our children anymore than Don Giovanni. Wolfgang Amadeus is in our history as an intensely tragic figure whose music belies his suffering. 
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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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