Opinion: Why is the reinventor of music overshadowed by the Sound of Music?



By: Henry Grant, staff reporter

It’s a misty morning in Salzburg, and my ears are still ringing from the American girls who just walked passed me. “The hills are alive…” is their anthem, and while the hills here are green, and many still twirl about them like Julie Andrews, I can’t help but think of what here is not green, what is dying, what will soon be forgotten: the memory of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

My ears may be ringing, but now it’s eerily quiet as my feet take me to the front of Hagenauerhaus, where, in 1756, Mozart was born. The composer whose ideas sparked a new wave of musical thought, changing forever what we now call music, spent his formative years here.

But all the tourists want to do is sing modern interpretations of his musical revolution.

Our millennial and post-millennial generations (of which I’m a part) can’t seem to grasp anything we haven’t watched on a screen.

It’s not something to be overlooked. History must be remembered.

Bad history, which is ever-present in a country who has witnessed some of its worst (Hitler), will be remembered. We all agree that we cannot repeat it.

But what ought to be remembered even more, to be celebrated and built upon, is good history. The kind of history that brings huge steps forward in human greatness. And here in Salzburg, good history is summed up in the melodious life of one man: Mozart.

I have nothing against the fun of dance-and-sing musicals. But I petition family and friends, parents and educators — turn on Turkish March (Piano Sonata No. 11) instead of Taylor Swift. Turn on Violin Sonata No. 32 instead of whatever classic rock you want to evangelize.

And instead of remembering Julie Andrews, and making her into a meme, let’s remember Tom Hulce.

Yes, I said it. And I mean it.

Amadeus, the movie, is the patron saint of mediocrity when it should be just like Mozart himself — grand and unforgettable.

Because if you can’t keep us kids away from a screen, you might as well play our game. So put on Amadeus.

And then maybe we’ll begin flocking to Austria for the right reasons, to see what memorializes, and immortalizes, Wolfgang Mozart. The reinventor of music.

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