I have mentioned Francesco Rasi before: he was that wild, adventurous, and quite impetuous singer, who took the script of Claudio Monteverdi‘s opera L’Orfeo with him to Salzburg, where he, with the help of Archbishop Markus Sittikus, produced and sung the leading role of the first opera performance in the German world ever and became thereby responsible for that exaggerated Teuton love of operas, which, some 250 years later, resulted in Wagner‘s Götterdämmerung. I try really hard not to blame him for it.
Rasi was also on quite bad terms with his stepmother, and after murdering her servant who was in charge for her estate, he tried to kill her too. He didn’t succeed though and had to flee. He was condemned to death by the court of Arezzo so he took refuge at first in Prague and then in Salzburg. Apart of his murderous nature, Rasi was a very talented, virtuoso and well-known singer of his time, who was a student of Giulio Caccini and whom “not only Italy but even all Europe venerated.” * ** He also played various instruments and composed a few volumes of music, mostly short songs in the early seventeenth century style of pure monody. One of these songs is Ahi, fuggitivo ben from his 1608 collection Vaghezze di Musica per una voce sola, where he, from a perspective of the abandoned lover, complains about the misery of being a fugitive. The moral of the story? Don’t try to murder your relatives (or anybody, actually) if you want to lead a relaxed life and plan to retire at your birthplace.
* letter from Don Gregorio Rasi to his nephew Giulio Francesco Rasi around 1650
** He was also deeply impressed by the weapons of the Hungarian artillery which he encountered during his 1601 travels. Am I the only one to find this small detail of his life quite charming? Oh, those times when music was still real as life! Why, why do I have to live in this boring age of global warming, genetically modified food and tumblr aesthetics?
Getting up, drinking my morning coffee, reading my feeds (yes, it contains a lot of cat gifs) and listening to The Cat complaining about how she had a terrible night. She actually spent it with sleeping on her electric heating pillow under her 100% woolen blanket, without waking up even one single time, but from the complaining and moaning she does every morning you would think she fought dragons all night long to save the ungrateful world.
7 am: Early morning commute. The hate-part of the day.
8 am – 1 pm:
Staring at the screen of the anaesthetic machine and trying to keep up with all the new information.
Also, for obvious reasons I can’t offer you a photo of neither the OR nor the hospital, so here is the basement where we change. Hungarian Health Care System in all its glory.
Having lunch in the park. It’s not quite the right weather for it yet but I was craving the sun so much that even the cold wind couldn’t hold me back.
Crossing the city.
…and receiving physiotherapy treatment for my back.
On my way to the library.
5 – 7 pm:
Having coffee with my friend Ancsangyalka at the cafeteria of the library. Usually it’s only one coffee and a lot of studying, but lately we are both very tired, stressed out and somewhat frustrated, so we discussed our favourite topic, the folly of the human race, very thoroughly this time (instead of studying, obviously).
7 – 9 pm:
Checking out the Budapest Fish Festival.
On my way home. So much nicer than in the morning, isn’t it?
Evening routine: showering, drinking bone broth, checking mails and offering emotional support to The Cat after her terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, which involved sleeping, sleeping, eating and some more sleeping. Hard is a cat’s life, y’all.
Anton Cajetan Adlgasser, organist of the Salzburg Cathedral between 1750-1777 and composer of countless Schuldramas for the University of Salzburg, that are all forgotten by now, is remembered mostly for being the father of Maria Victoria Adlgasser, Nannerl Mozart‘s bff, and for writing the third, now missing part of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart‘s first oratorio, Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots (the second part was composed by Michael Haydn) (fyi, Mozart was only eleven years old at the time when he finished it. What does your eleven years old child do with their life?) (Okay, I’m obviously kidding now. Mozart couldn’t write a sentence in proper German at the age of thirty. He clearly had his weak points too).
Adlgasser became a victim of Archbishop Sigismund von Schrattenbach‘s generous policy of providing his staff with free wine, and suffered a deadly stroke at the age of 48 while playing the organ. Being a musician is a dangerous profession. Remember Lully who died of blood poisoning after penetrating his own foot with his baton while conducting a march?
This photo clearly shows how my time spent with commuting has grown enormously lately. The only way to survive Hungarian public transportation is to block the world completely out. I can’t wait to finally finish my hospital training and be back to biking in livable cities, even if this means a significant decrease in literary joys that enrich my days at 7 am.
Last year’s everlasting winter (it was still snowing in April!) made me experience seasonal affective disorder at its worst, which was a major setback on my way of recovery. I happily made my peace with this year’s weather forecast of having no winter at all. While everybody was complaining about the lack of snow, I was rejoicing. Those four days I spent in frosty Moravia before Christmas were more than enough winter wonders for me.
Well, I never was a very lucky person, that’s clear. So hello, snow, here are you again. I really, really do hope you won’t stay till April this time.
Okay, so the times are tough and I’m pretty much stressed out, I guess this is the right moment for some Early Romantic salon music which I usually have no heart for, but let’s go the easy way today. A duo for guitar and fortepiano by Anton Diabelli, native of Mattsee, former student of Michael Haydn, virtuoso guitar player and famous music publisher. I guess I should mention Beethoven and his Diabelli variations here but I’m really not in the mood for all those heavy emotions Beethoven tries to push on his poor audience so let’s skip it and stick to Diabelli’s prettily empty tunes.
Living in Hungary really wears me out. I think I have culture dependent depression.
Altough I no longer live in Salzburg, I decided to carry on with the Salzburg Series, because I don’t like things unfinished. There are really not that many Baroque composers that have anything to do with Salzburg and have some surviving works, so it’s a real shame it took 18 months for me to cover only 8 of them. I’ll try to speed up and finish this project because I have already my next one in mind.
So for today I picked Carl Heinrich Biber, the sixth and most talented son of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber von Bibern. There is not much to know about him except that he lived, worked and died in Salzburg and loved to compose for those excellent and virtuoso trombone players of the Salzburg court orchestra like Thomas Gschladt (although I know of no written evidence of them having been in contact, but hey, Salzburg is and were always
the provinces a small town where everybody is the cousin of everybody, even in our most recent days, haha).
From all the four pieces of his work YouTube offers I chose Concerto a quattro per la chiesa for strings. It’s a disturbing piece of music which The Cat very much dislikes – I hope at least some of you appreciate Carl Heinrich’s courage of using dissonances so freely in a harmony worshiping era.
PS.: Okay, so it’s not allowed to embed this video, so go over there for it.