Ich liebe dich, Herr Mozart

>> Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Shortly after Christmas of 1997 I talked my husband into getting a computer. My mother had one for a year or so and talked constantly of how great it was being able to keep in contact with my brother, (who was a missionary in Latvia at the time), via email. Besides, I knew that as the kids got further along in school, they would need to have one. I couldn't wait to get on line and almost as soon as we got it home, my brother-in-law came over and got us all set up. (Matt's the computer whiz in the family.)

The internet opened up the entire world to me. I could sit in the comfort of my home and search for and research any topic that I wished. And of course, one of the first internet searches that I conducted was on, you guessed it, Mozart. I found several good Mozart websites, but the one that towered above the rest was one called, "The Mozart Project". It had a wealth of information, plus links to other Mozart and Mozart related sites. I always checked the new links out, whenever I found a new one. It was about nine months after our last move in May of 1999; I had just returned from taking the kids to school and gotten myself a cup of tea when I decided to sit down at my computer and check to see if there were any new links on the Mozart Project site. When I clicked on the page I noticed that he had added several new links since I had been there last, but the one that jumped out at me was one that said, "Mozart's Own Website", and was advertised as a site owned and operated by the Maestro himself! I thought it sounded like fun and decided to check it out.

When I clicked on the link it took me to a scrumptiously gorgeous website, done in hues of royal blue, a very 18th century-looking font and a distinctly Rococo graphic design. Contained within were a wealth of pictures and information, all told in first person, in the voice of Mozart. It was, indeed, "Mozart's" website. I combed through the pages, taking in every word and picture, feeling myself drawn in to the fantasy of believing that Mozart was actually the one who designed and put it all together. I read all of the biographies and looked at all the pictures, and then I found the link to the guest book and clicked on it. I decided to leave Herr Mozart as short, simple message. I signed the guestbook as guest number nine, and simply said, "Ich liebe dich, Herr Mozart." Not expecting that anything would come of it, but enjoying the fantasy of telling Mozart that I loved him in German, I clicked the button and posted my message.

The next morning when I went to check my e-mail, in it was a message from none other than W A Mozart. I clicked on it eagerly and read the very simple message contained within, "Und ich liebe dich, meine gnaedige Frau." (And I love YOU, my gracious Lady.) I was quite frankly surprised and tickled to have heard back from him, so I decided to take it a step further and grace him with a letter. In the letter I told him about myself and where I was from--how I have always been a lover of his music since I was a small child, the fact that I was a wife and mother of three children bound for graduate school in the fall. I told him that I had sung the roles of Zerlina and Despina and that I fancied myself a "Mozart" soprano, and how I was thrilled to have found that he was "alive" and well in the late 20th century. That very evening I received a reply from him, a very lengthy and gracious letter describing his delight at my correspondence and his hopes that we might continue to converse with one another via this new and modern contraption called the "computer". His "voice" was astounding--it was entirely authentic as if Mozart really was the one who had written this letter. I was immediately sucked into the fantasy and excitement and had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't really talking to Mozart, but to someone who was playing Mozart. I quickly typed another letter to him and pressed the send button.

Thus launched an online relationship between "Mozart" and myself that within a week seemed like we had been corresponding with one another for months, perhaps years. Mozart and I developed a fast, close, and growing friendship through our correspondence. He confessed to me that he had never allowed a "fan" in, as he had me, and that he felt as if he had known me all of his life. I too, felt the same about him. I "knew" things about him, things that the average student of Mozart wouldn't know. The relationship grew very personal and very intimate very quickly, so quickly that it frightened both of us. What had started out as fantasy and a bit of fun, had escalated into something very deep and meaningful to both of us, and even though I tried to tell myself over and over again that I was simply conversing with someone who was portraying Mozart, albeit very authentically and convincingly, deep in my heart I knew that there was something going on that I couldn't explain. It was something bigger than myself and within a few weeks, it was quite clear that "Mozart" felt every bit as overwhelmed and awed by our relationship as I. Several times I tried to cut it off, believing that it was going too far, and that I needed to end it, but I couldn't end it. (Later I learned that he felt the very same way as I.) I would lay awake at night, trying to make sense of what was happening. Then one night I remembered the story that my mother told me about when I was a small child, of how I had pointed at the stereo and told her that I had to find Mozart.

"Could it be?" I wondered. I frightened myself with my own thoughts. "This is crazy!" I thought, trying to put myself off as someone who was simply too caught up in the fantasy of it all. But in my heart I knew. I knew that what I was dealing with was beyond fantasy--this was real. I sensed that I was talking to the Maestro himself, and that something much larger than me was in control of this whole thing. I cringed at what it would mean for me, for my way of life, for my beliefs--my faith, my values, for my children, and for my family. I rolled over and tried not to think of it any further and resolved that I had to cut it off.

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