the point from which the voice proceeds. At this moment the whole orchestra is silent."
(Munich, January 3, 1781, to his father, whom in the same letter he invites to Munich to hear the opera.)
36. "After the chorus of mourning the King, the populace, everybody, leave the stage, and the next scene begins with the directions: 'Idomeneo in ginochione nel tempio (Idomeneus, kneeling in the temple).' That will never do; he must come with all his following. That necessitates a march, and I have composed a very simple one for two violins, viola, bass and two oboes, which is to be played a mezza voce, during which the King enters and the priests make the preparations for the sacrifice. Then the King sinks on his knees and begins his prayer. In Electra's recitative, after the subterranean voice, the word 'Partono (they go)' should be written in; I forgot to look at the copy made for the printer and do not know whether or how the direction has been written in. It seems silly to me that everybody should hurry away only in order to leave Mademoiselle Electra alone."
(Munich, January 3, 1781, to his father.)
37. "I am glad to compose the book. The time is short, it is true, for it must be performed about the middle of September; but the circumstances connected with the performances, and a number of other purposes, are of such a character that they enliven my spirits in such a degree that I hurry to my writing desk and remain seated there with great joy."
(Vienna, August 1, 1781, to his father. The opera referred to is "Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail." The "circumstances" were the court festivals which were to celebrate the coming of the Russian Grand Duke, from which Mozart, as was his wont, expected all manner of future benefits.)
38. "As regards the work of Stephanie you are right, of course, but nevertheless the poetry is well fitted to the character of the stupid, coarse and malicious Osmin. I know full well that the style of the verse is none of the best, but it has so adjusted itself to the musical thoughts (which were promenading in my brain in advance) that the lines had to please me, and I will wager there will be no disappointment at the performance. So far as the songs are concerned they are not to be despised. Belmont's aria 'O, wie angstlich' could scarcely have been written better for music."
(Vienna, October 13, 1781, to his father. Stephanie was the author of the libretto of "Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail.")
39. "An aria has been written for Osmin in the first act….You have seen only the beginning and end of it, which must be effective; the rage of Osmin is made ridiculous by the use of Turkish music. In developing the aria I have given him (Fischer, a bass) a chance to show his beautiful low tones. The 'By the beard of the Prophet' remains in the same tempo but has quicker notes, and as his anger grows continually, when one thinks that the aria is come to an end, the Allegro assai must make the best kind of an effect when it enters in a different measure and key. Here is the reason: a man who is in such a violent rage oversteps all order, all moderation; he forgets himself, and the music must do the same.
"Inasmuch as the passions, whether violent or not, must never be carried in their expression to the verge of disgust, and music, even in the most awful situations must not offend the ear but always please, consequently always remain music, I have not chosen a key foreign to F (i.e. the key of the aria), but a related one,—not the nearest, D minor, but the more distant, A minor. You know how I have given expression to Belmont's aria, 'O, wie angstlich, O wie feurig,'—there is a suggestion of the beating heart,—the violins in octaves. This is the favorite aria of all who have heard it,—of myself, as well,—and is written right into the voice of Adamberger. One can see the reeling and trembling, one can see the heaving breast which is illustrated by a crescendo; one hears the lispings and sighs expressed by the muted violins with flute in unison. The Janizary chorus is, as such, all that could be asked, short and jolly, written to suit the Viennese."
(Vienna, September 26, 1781, to his father. Concerning the composition of "Die Entfuhrung," Mozart delivered himself at greater length and more explicitly than about any other opera. From the above excerpt one can learn his notions touching musical characterization and delineation. ["Turkish" music, or "Janizary" music, is that in which the percussion effects of Oriental music are imitated—music utilizing the large drum, cymbals, etc. H.E.K.])
40. "The close will make a deal of noise; and that is all that is necessary for the end of an act;—the noisier the better, the shorter the better, so that the people shall not get too cool to applaud."
(Vienna, September 26, 1781, to his father. The Trio at the end of the first act is the finale referred to.)
41. "My opera is to be performed again next Friday, but I have protested against it as I do not want it to be ridden to death at once. The public, I may say, are daft about this opera. It does a fellow good to receive such applause."
(Vienna, July 27, 1782, to his father.)
42. "My opera was performed again yesterday, this time at the request of Gluck. Gluck paid me many compliments on it. I am to dine with him tomorrow."
(Vienna, August 7, 1782, to his father. [How Mozart and Gluck differed in principle on the relation between text and music the reader has already had an opportunity to learn. H.E.K.])
43. "The most necessary thing is that the whole be really comical; then, if possible, there should be two equally good female parts, one seria, the other mezzo carattere; but one must be as good as the other. The third woman may be all buffa, also all the men if necessary."
(Vienna, May 7, 1783, to his father, in Salzburg, where the Abbe
Varesco was to write an opera libretto.)
44. "It would be a pity if I should have composed this music for nothing, that is to say if no regard is to be shown for things that are absolutely essential. Neither you, nor Abbe Varesco, nor I, reflected that it will be a bad thing, that the opera will be a failure, in fact, if neither of the principal women appears on the scene until the last minute, but both are kept promenading on the bastion of the fortress. I credit the audience with patience enough for one act, but it would never endure the second. It must not be."
(Vienna, December 6, 1783, to his father. The opera in question, entitled "L'Oca del Cairo," was never finished.)
45. "Abbe Varesco has written over the cavatina for Lavina: a cui servira la musica della cavatina antecedente,—that is the cavatina of Celidora. But that will never do. In Celidora's cavatina the words are comfortless and hopeless, while in Lavina's cavatina they are full of comfort and hope. Moreover it is hackneyed and no longer customary habit to let one singer echo the song of another. At best it might only be done by a soubrette and her sweetheart at ultime parti."
(Vienna, December 24, 1783, to his father. The Italian phrase is a direction that the music of a preceding cavatina might be used for a second cavatina.)
46. "It is much more natural, since they have all come to an agreement in the quartetto to carry out their plan of attack that the men leave the stage to gather their helpers together, and the women quietly retire to their retreat. All that can be allowed them is a few lines of recitative."
(Vienna, December 24, 1783, to his father. The situation referred to was in Varesco's opera which never reached completion.)
47. "At six o'clock I drove with Count Canal to the so-called