|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a child prodigy. He was also a Freemason.
When I was 13 or 14 the highlight of my career as a concert pianist occurred: I played Mozart's 12 variations on the theme of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" for an audience of very old Germans at the local Senior Citizens center. At first I was very nervous, but then just rushed through the proceedings at a faster pace than my modest technique allowed. This recital was as well received as the release of my albums later in life: Less than 20 people clapped for a few seconds. One voiced "Bravo", but I probably just imagine this, because it happened decades ago and the "Bravo" could also indicate the relief that my recital was over in record time.
When I was 43 or 44 I started to restore a 1924 E. Gabler & Bros. grand piano in an apartment at the Wilshire Royale, a former hotel in Los Angeles, that had been converted to apartment living. The neighborhood has declined over the decades and became the center of El Salvadorian gang activity by the time we moved there in 2007. The views from the 10th floor were spectacular and the grand piano was in very bad shape when I started.
This 1924 Gabler originally came from the old center of piano building activity in New York, east of Union Square. The last German-speaking Lodge was there as well, and in 1997 I became the last German to be made a Freemason before the Lodge moved upstate, out of New York City. The elder Gabler emigrated from what is now Germany to New York in the mid 19th century and he was long dead when my Gabler was build. The company went bankrupt in 1932.
In 2012 I found handwritten notes on the piano action. They were written in pencil and only survived nearly a century because the action is inside the piano and rarely taken out. They were all numbers.
Thusly, I conceived of a composition: Mozart Little Star. The score is a series of instructions:
1. Take the score of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s twelve variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman", K. 265/300e.
2. Transpose the pitch of the score down by 1 octave.
3. Slow the tempo of the score down by a factor of 3.
4. Practice this score until you can recite it from memory and play it with your eyes closed.
5. Repeat the piece 10 times.
So I went ahead and realized my opus 579 – 588 in 2012. This took some time, as a matter of fact it took the same amount of time for me to grow a beard.
Thusly, I drew a beard on a portrait of Mozart and made the image part of the art work “Mozart Little Star”.
|Title:||Mozart Little Star|
|Sound Artist:||Frank Rothkamm|
|Instruments:||E. Gabler & Bros. baby grand piano (1924)