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The Mozart Effect: None

img  Tobias

As Mozart's 250th birthday is approaching fast, the composer is once again gaining a position in the media normally reserved for important statesmen, pop stars or models - you'll be hard pressed to find a news paper that doesn't at least mention his name and most have published extensive features. Noone can be expected to work his way through the massive pile of information and sort out the useful, interesting or mererly entertaining bits. So that's why we decided to do it for you and this is what we found:

The Salzburg Festival is off to a patchy start. To begin with, the press wasn't exactly charmed by thís year's motto "Tradition and Progress", which admittedly sounds like the marketing efforts of a small-sized manufacturer of bicycle locks. So what's in a name, you might be inclined to ask, but the festival is apparently truly struggling to find a sensible theme to the proceedings. So instead, the organisors opted for the easy way out and didn't make a choice at all. Now, all of Mozart's stage-works will be presented, including some of his earliest pieces. Ricardo Muti, who never got to terms with previous director Gerard Mortier, has been called back for a rendition of the "Zauberflöte", which the left-wing paper taz called "grey" and influential weekly Die Zeit spoke of a "spectacular break-down". Also, reactions to "Mitridate Re Di Ponto", which Mozart wrote at the age of 14, were mixed. Some praised its historical value, others admired the technical finesse of the boy, but most agreed that it could not stand the test against his great operatic works. With this in mind, celebrations next year could well become a difficult affair.

Meanwhile, Munich and Berlin are fighting over whether a painting found in Germany's capital truly represents Amadeus in all his living glory. The reason why Berlin is so eager to have this verified is because the painting's date of completion would then make it the oldest existing portrait of the composer. That is also why Munich is fighting this assertion and has claimed that the man on convas is actually a Bavarian by the name of Joseph Anton Steiner. Now, experts are being bought, err... consulted, on both sides. Do we care? Not really, but it just goes to show what the Mozart-brand is worth these days.

It also gives us an ideal changeover to our next topic, dealing with an exhibition in Munich, which claims that Mozart enjoyed his meals and was in fact a fatty. Aside from this assertion, it offers interesting insights into the Mozart-market: Mozart-related sweets earned a massive 29 Million Euros of cash at the beginning of the 90s, while only 436.000 Euros were spent on tickets for his concerts. Another story, however, seems to justify the assumption that some are already getting fed up with the constant attention awarded to the "genius": Artist Andrea Seidl constructed 626 Mozart-cup boards, each one inspired by one of Mozart's works and built using "elements of harmonics and octaves". While the retail price has been set at a whopping 10.000 Euros, an auction held to inaugurate the cup boards only raked in a small percentage of that sum.

And finally, you can stop listening to Mozart, if you only decided to do so because you thought it made you smarter. A recent study reminds everyone that the "Mozart"-effect (which claimed that a person's IQ could be raised by listening to the composer's music) was actually merely a supposition and that it mainly found such widespread attention because America's parents were so eager to find easy solutions to their country's educational problems.

Source: Mozart at the taz
Source: Mozart at the Zeit
Source: Mozart at the Berliner Morgenpost
Source: Mozart at
Source: Mozart at the Stanford Daily Online

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