Mozert: Concertina for Theorbo and Marching Band in A-Flatbush (Stereo 8 review)

Also, Adam Baum: Konzert for Two Baroque Girls; Brother Buzz: Sting-Along Suite in D-major pain. Rt. Hon. Lft. Sir Cedric Noel Vivien Barnstable III, OBE, GYN, Bart., Simp., London Broil Effete Band. Blackadder Records 1185-1917.

Growing up was difficult for the Australian composer, pianist, lecturer, teacher, manufacturer, and titlark authority Jean-Claude Sly-Arnold von Mozert (1787-1743), born into abject poverty and raised in a foundling home for abject girls. He was sixteen years old before he had his own birthday, having to share his early years with other young women in the institution. Providentially, by the time he arrived of age, he become the titular head of the Salzburg Dirndl Manufacturing Company, inheriting the firm from his father, G.E.L. Beck, a noted merchant and titmouse specialist in the Salzburg area.

Young Mozert did not find himself until he was well into his nineties, when he famously exclaimed, “Huh? Where the hell am I?” At which point he began composing music, turning out some 243 symphonies, 57 concertos, 34 sonatas, 22 arpeggios, and at least one known partridge in a pear tree before his untimely death several months later.

Fortunately, Mozert’s biographer, Argentine writer and cinematographer Joaquin Mababie Bachholm, saved most of his compositions from decomposition, or we might not know the man today. Come to think of it, we don’t know the man today. Heck, they didn’t even know him in his own day.

Now, I can’t resist telling a very funny story about the younger Mozert. Oh, my, I’m laughing just thinking about it. The tale concerns the immature Master Mozert and two comely young lasses he met in an apothecary shop. Or was it a blind man he met in a window-shade shop? Come to think of it, it may not have been either, but what makes me think it was one or the other is because I remember the big flume warn’t finished when he first come to the camp, and the store curtains were drawn against the light. Yep, that story is something all right, a real knee slapper, but I guess you hadda been there.

Anyway, Mozert wrote most of his music long before he acquired an appreciation for the subject. Consequently, most of it sounds conspicuously devoid of rhythm, melody, harmony, color, tone, voice, or instruments. Although critics over the years have generally characterized his work as nothing more than hour-long periods of sustained silence, this may be giving the composer short shrift, since one could easily discern a marked degree of wind noise in the confessional. Whether this effect emanated from the priest or the penitent after a particularly flatulent repast is wholly subjective and worthy of further auditory if not olfactory scrutiny.

Oh, and people tell me the disc also contains music. I didn’t have time to listen. However, what I can tell you is that the performance is excorticating and the sound a model of exemplar, with a rich, chocolatey high end; a creamy, indigent French-vanilla midrange; and a decidedly musty, lemon-meringue bass. Combined with the pungent aromas of a fine blush wine, say a Chateau Mountebank ‘04, a D'Alesandro Pelosi ‘07, or an Eau de Boehner ‘13, it may be hard for the ordinary bourgeois auditeur to resist.

To hear a brief excerpt from this album, click here:


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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

Contact Information

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa