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Mozart in the Future Tânia Maria Rodrigues-Peters Translated by Paula Vaz-Carreiro

With illustrations by Pedro Caraça




Pedro Caraรงa


Paula Vaz-Carreiro

Edited by

Tom Wiltshire


Carsten Peters created with

“People without imagination may have lived through the most unexpected adventures; they may have visited the most distant countries; they have nothing left; they have gained nothing. It is not enough simply to live life; you must also dream itâ€?. MĂĄrio Quintana. Brazilian poet and journalist.

This book is dedicated to my children, Luana, Teo and Toni, who were my inspiration, to the partner of my life, in journeys and in dreams, Herr Peters; to all the children on this planet; to God and my Guardian Angel too. Finally, I dedicate it to all my readers and the friends who put their trust in me. And, with special affection, I dedicate this book to Mozart, always, eternally Mozart. Love you all. T창nia.

I listened to Mozart while I wrote this book. I wrote only what I felt, what my intuition and my heart dictated. So, put on some gentle music – I’d say… Mozart – and have fun with this book. Tânia, Austria, 2009.

Mozart in the Future Max is trying to play a piece by Mozart again and again when his mother enters the room. ♪ Haven’t you managed yet? — She asks him and, without waiting for an answer, she continues. — You have to study more. I want you to be perfect, so it might be better if you practise an extra hour every day. ♪ Oh no! I can’t stand practising that much! Sometimes I think I should give up studying the piano. I’ll never be the musician you want me to be. I don’t even think I have that much talent — Max replies with the despair that comes from not being able to achieve the perfection his mother wants and expects of him. Max is a boy who loves music and who has been studying the piano for years because it has always been his favourite instrument. But the problem is his mother who demands too much of him and does not give him the time to play with other boys. He feels smothered by this although his passion for music is not diminished. It’s just that Max feels a bit down about the whole thing. Astrid is a strict mother who expects perfection in everything. She wants Max to do his very, very best. Her dearest wish is that he turns into an internationally acclaimed musician. But what Max wants is to play, to feel the music; he doesn’t care about fame or international recognition. They live in a small village in Vorarlberg, a very lovely place surrounded by mountains where nature took pains to be beautiful. Max’s house is one of the last in the village. It is an old wooden house in the Austrian style with a lovely terrace, a wood stove and a marvellous garden which, depending on the season, becomes covered in the flowers and vegetables that his parents 13


plant there. It is a garden created in harmony: both the parents and the children help in planting and maintaining it. The family always has fresh food from the vegetable garden and the house is always decorated with flowers from the flowerbeds. There are also many fruit trees, such as cherry trees, pear trees and apple trees. And, when the fruits are in season, Max’s parents make spirits with them. Of all the delicious tarts that his mother makes, Max’s favourite is apple which she makes with the apples from the garden. Mark, Max’s father, is a teacher in the village school. He is a very cheerful person, always willing to lend a hand. Max’s mother, in spite of being very strict and demanding in the education of her children, is a good person. Like his father, she too helps others. Sometimes she visits old people who can no longer do their own housework and helps them of her own free will; cleaning a little here and little there, tidying their houses and reading books to those who can no longer see well. They are community-minded people and everybody in the village likes them very much. Anna, Max’s little sister, is very mischievous. She’s a real chatterbox and is always poking her nose in, but she is a sweetie really. She’s four years old and she goes to nursery every day. Anna adores her brother, but that doesn’t stop her tormenting him, and she always bothers Max when he’s studying the piano. Anna says she wants to be a pianist too, like her brother. Her mother says she is still too little but that, when she becomes six, if she still wants to then, she will also be able to study the piano. It would be marvellous if they were both musicians. And their mother daydreams about the day she will be able to see her two children performing in a well-known theatre or opera house. The public applauding and her children getting the recognition they deserve for their efforts. And she too. After all she also put in a lot of effort to encourage them to study music. Their father is much more laid-back. He is always saying: ♪ Astrid, give Max a little space! He has talent for music, he 15

loves playing and he’s disciplined, but he is also a kid and needs to enjoy himself a little, he needs to play with his friends. He can’t just stay at home studying all the time! Leave him be! This age will never come again. ♪ No! I must help him, direct him, so that one day he will be a great musician. Without discipline he’ll never manage it. I will guide him towards fame — Max’s mother says, sure she is doing the right thing. ♪ It’s clear that you are very worked up about this. Don’t demand too much of the poor child — says his father. ♪ If Leopold thought like that, Mozart would not have been what he was. He was a perfect father, a very supportive father. At Max’s age, Mozart was already well known internationally. ♪ Yes, I agree but only in part. Mozart at Max’s age did not play football with his friends, he did not go snowboarding, he did not go to the cinema, he did not have a computer, etc., etc. — Max’s father says with half a smile. ♪ Don’t be silly Mark. In those days there were none of those things you just mentioned — his wife says, annoyed. ♪ HAHAHAHA!! It was a joke — Max’s father says, chuckling. — It was a joke! You really are in a state! What would you say to spending the weekend up in a high mountain hut? The children would love it! ♪ Don’t even think about it! Next month Max will be performing in the city theatre and he must be well prepared — the mother says with all her authority. ♪ Okay, okay, but like that you will end up stressing Max… In that case, after that concert, we will go somewhere for a rest, and with one condition — the father replies looking determined. ♪ What’s that? — The mother asks with some interest. ♪ We’ll only take the children. The piano stays here; we haven’t got a seat for it in the car — the father says laughing in a mocking tone. ♪ Sometimes you’re so silly — the mother says. She sounds disapproving. 16

—2— In the same country but in a far-off time - more precisely in the in 18th century, in the city of Salzburg - a boy looks sadly out of the window. He looks out, lost in thought when, suddenly, he hears a voice behind him calling him back to reality. He turns around and there is his father. ♪ Good morning father! — The boy says. ♪ Good morning. What are you doing there wasting valuable time? — His father asks looking stern. ♪ Nothing. I was just looking at those boys. They have been playing down there for a long time. It looks like such fun. I think they must be about the same age as me. ♪ They are wasting time! Besides, they haven’t got a father like me who cares about the education of his son. Go and practise a little. ♪ But father, sir, we have just come back from a trip and I played so much! Can’t I go down for a little while and play with the street boys? ♪ What?! — His father exclaims indignantly. — The degree of perfection you have achieved is thanks to the efforts I have devoted to you. ♪ But father, I have already played and studied so much… and I so wanted to be a little bit normal, like those boys… ♪ But you are not, and you will never be, like one of those boys. Look out of the window again — gently his father takes hold of his arm and leads him to the window. — Tell me, have any of those boys ever played to kings and queens? Are any of them well known all over Europe? And which of them has had millions of people standing up and applauding them because they were moved to tears when they listened to one his concerts? Tell me, which one? — His father asks forcefully. 17


♪ Yes father — the boy says and, downhearted, he leaves to go to the music room. ♪ Wait! — His father commands. ♪ Yes father? ♪ And which of those boys is called Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart? You are unique! There has never been, and there will never be, anyone else in this world with as much talent as you — his father says proudly. After this conversation, young Mozart grows less discontent and begins to play with enthusiasm. His music is enveloping, beautiful and deep. It is music that touches the heart of anybody who hears it. Mozart had learned to play the harpsichord when he was only four years old – a harpsichord is an instrument a bit like the piano. He could also play the violin and, by the time he was five, he was able to compose as well. Before he was six, his father took him to perform at the court of the Kings of Bavaria. His sister, Nannerl, played with him at that concert. After that, they played in Vienna where everybody was tremendously impressed. So much so, that they went touring around Europe for three and a half years with enormous success. Young Mozart’s father had been a composer and violinist in the service of the prince archbishop of Salzburg. His family had been poor and, while his son’s talent was to him like a blessing of god – and his own mission making him known throughout the world – it also helped money-wise. However, this meant that young Mozart’s life was not like other children’s. He lived here and there, travelling by carriage and staying in inns. For many of those who saw him, the boy was like a toy. Besides being an amazingly talented child, he was also amusing and charming. However, all this did not prevent him from wanting to go out into the streets and play with other children. So, on this night, Mozart goes to bed with these thoughts. He sleeps deeply and he dreams. He dreams of a place very different 19

from everything he knows. The roads are full of traffic and of people; many lights and music come from every side. Besides all this, there is a smell, a strange yet good smell. But strangest of all, right beside him there is a boy of his own age. He dreams this same dream night after night, and each morning, when he wakes up, he feels more cheerful and has more energy. It is as if the dream is giving him new life.


—3— However, in Max’s case the opposite is happening. He is sinking into an incomprehensible sadness. He’s not doing so well at school, his grades are getting lower and lower, and he is even leaving off playing the piano which has always been something he so loves doing. One day at school, when his thoughts are very far away, the teacher suddenly asks him something to do with the lesson. Max cannot answer and some of his classmates start taking the mickey. At this point Max stands up in a fury and, with all his might, he pushes over the desk of the boys who were provoking him. He is immediately sent out of the classroom and the teacher sends a note to his parents saying he wants to talk to them. As Max has always been a good pupil, his parents are surprised when they hear what’s happened. Max’s parents are both concerned but his mother, who is very demanding and stern, keeps on and on at him about practising the piano more and about doing better in school. Then, one day, when Max is trying to play something, his hands stop doing what he wants them to do. They shake so much that even his mother becomes frightened. She takes him into the bedroom then she calls his father and together they try to talk to Max, but it’s no use. Max is sad, desolate really. They call the doctor. The doctor recommends rest. ♪ This child, despite being so young, is suffering from stress. I don’t know exactly what’s happened here, but every sign indicates that you are demanding too much from him. Children have to study and learn but, after all, they’re only children and everybody has their limit. I think Max has reached his and what he needs now is to rest. At least three days, at home, no school and… — the doctor looks at Max’s mother — No piano. Unless he wants it. Max’s mother buries her face in his father’s shoulder and says 21

in a very low voice: ♪ It’s my fault, it’s all my fault. I was too hard on him. After all, he’s only a little boy. What can I do now? I only want what’s best for him. ♪ Yes, well, there’s no point crying over spilled milk. What we have to do is to make him better, to get him to feel better — his father says. He looks worried. Max sleeps and dreams. He dreams of a boy who plays with him. He never sees the boy’s face, but that doesn’t matter because they are good friends. Sometimes Max tries to get close to the boy to see his face, but it is impossible. It is as if he were looking at him through a misted glass. The next day, after breakfast, Max – who doesn’t have to go to school for three days – decides to go for a walk and visit his cabin. It is February and there is still a lot of snow all over that part of Austria. Max’s cabin is right at the end of the village. It is a log cabin that his father built for him. It is small but it has a fireplace because of the intensely cold winters. It also has an old sofa that his mother gave him, some blankets, toys, books and his old toypiano on which Max learned his first scales. There is a little table made with tree branches and some logs that serve as seats, and there is also a cupboard where there are always biscuits and various fruit juices. Max lights the fire – he knows how to do this because his father taught him. In a short while the wood begins to burn and crackle making an agreeable noise and a pleasant smell. Max sits on the sofa and starts to read a comic. After some time he gets up and goes to the window. Suddenly it starts to snow. It snows heavily. Max just stands there looking out because it’s so beautiful to see the snow covering everything and making it white… Then, in the middle of all that whiteness, Max sees something weird approaching. Two violet lights are coming closer and closer until they can be seen for what they are: two violet eyes. It is astonishing! 22


Without knowing that he is doing it, Max opens the door and sees the figure of a woman dressed all in yellow. Her violet eyes are the most remarkable thing about her, and those eyes are fixed on Max. She pulls back the hood that covers her head and, even more remarkable, her hair is the same colour as her eyes, exactly the same shade. As if hit by a spell, Max looks at the magical figure. He cannot take his eyes off her, or rather, he cannot take his eyes off her eyes. She is beautiful! She’s magical!! ♪ Hello Max! — The woman says, smiling. Her voice is sweet and soft, it feels like you could almost touch it. ♪ Hello! — Max replies as if hypnotised. ♪ How nice to meet you — the woman says, and there is a kind of music in her voice. ♪ How do you know my name? — Max asks surprised. ♪ You called me. You are always calling me. Every time someone plays music, every time someone is moved by music, they call me — the woman says in a musical murmur. ♪ Are you a fairy? — Max inquires. ♪ I am the Spirit of Music. I am present whenever music is played, wherever there are people who love music. And now you have called me, your heart has called me. You are very sad and you need me at this moment. That’s why I’m here. You cannot lose the will to play. ♪ But I don’t think I have much talent. My mother wants me to be a great musician. She wants me to be known and to play in big theatres but I don’t think I can be everything she wants me to be — Max says. He is almost in tears. ♪ And you, what do you want? — The Spirit asks. ♪ Me? Well, I want to play, that’s all. I love music. I want to play for myself, for my friends… I want people to be happy with my music. But without all that ambition, like my mother has. Just playing makes me happy. But at the moment I can’t! I don’t know what’s happened, but I just can’t play. 24


♪ If you could ask for something now, what would you ask for? What would be your wish? ♪ A new snowboard? — Max says with a tentative smile because in spite of being older than his years, he is only a child. ♪ No darling. Nothing material. Rather, a wish that you have in your heart… Like, for example, anybody special you would like to meet, or someone you would like to help you?! Close your eyes Max and think, think hard. Who is it that you very much admire, think… think… So Max closes his eyes and thinks. He thinks, and in his mind’s eye he sees the dream he has dreamt every night for the past few days. The dream with that boy whose face he never sees, except that this time he can see his face and he almost doesn’t believe it. It’s him! It’s… it’s Mozart who plays with him in his dreams! Mozart when he was little. Max opens his eyes and, without meaning to, shouts quite loud: ♪ Mozart!


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About me 1964 – I am born on a beautiful hot night in the summertime. 1981– I complete a level two professional teaching qualification. 1982 – I complete specialization for teaching pre-school children. 1985 – I graduate in Artistic Education at the University of Mogi das Cruzes. I begin working as an amateur theatre actress and carry on for 10 years. 1986 – I complete a course in Fine Arts. While pursuing my university studies I also work as a teacher in several schools teaching children from primary to high school level. 1987 – I complete a radio presenter course at the Escola Rádio Oficina, in São Paulo. At the same time I also attend a painting course by the Dutch painter Antonius Josephus Maria van de Wiel and take part in a number of exhibitions. 102

1989 – I become regional judo champion at the Bunkio Club in Mogi das Cruzes. 1990 – I finish a Media course in Publicity and Advertising at the University of Mogi das Cruzes. 1996 – I win first prize in the nation-wide travel diary competition of the Turismo Brasil Service Magazine. 1997 – I move to Berlin. 1999 – I move to Pamplona in Navarre, Spain. During the time I spend in Spain, I get 7th place in a short story competition. Some of my photos are selected as some of the best in a photography competition and later are used in advertising. Also during my time in Spain, I own and run a restaurant and cafeteria where I delight my customers with some of my own gastronomic creations. 2006 – I move to Dafins in Vorarlberg, Austria. 2007 – I start my own blog, ‘The Adventures of a Housewife’, where, when I can, I post recipes and write a little about what life is like here in Austria, about art and about a few other subjects. 2008 – One of my recipes is chosen as one of the best in the Vorarlberg region by the Kuchen & Torten Magazine sponsored by Vorarlberger Nachrichten. 2009 – I publish my first book, ‘Mozart in the Future’.


Mozart in the Future  

Max is really a boy like any other, but he has a talent for music and a strict mother who wants him to be a great musician. When the doctor...