Of course, it is Mozart’s 250 birthday year, and we all enjoyed listening to the ABC FM Australia’s top 100 pieces of Mozart (except for you Lutheran incurables out there who prefer JSB–a close second, okay, but Mozart wins (any Beethoven lovers can just go and read another blog)). One of the things Papa Benny has going for him is that in his spare moments he likes to tinkle the ivories to a little bit of Mozart. The Archbishop of Canterbury even wondered if he would get the opportunity to play a Mozart duet with the Pope when he was in Rome.
My favourite Mozart is arguably not Mozart at all, ie. “his” requiem, but I do enjoy the Horn Concerto No.4 in E flat K495. And I especially enjoy the old Flanders and Swan ditty that they made to go along with this “tune”, called “Ill Wind”. Here are the lyrics introduced by F and S themselves, although it doesn’t sound as funny without singing it to the horn part of the concerto.
MF: It has long been my earnest wish to improve the standard of the music we have in these shows of ours –
DS: Thank you very much!
MF: Not at all my dear chap – nothing per. . . – you know that nobody has a higher opinion of your work than you do yourself. I simply meant we should have some more good music; and to this end I have been practicing the horn, or French horn, as they call it, or German horn, as the French call it, not to be confused with the cor anglais.
It’s a marvelous instrument. I took it up because I very much wanted to play the music of Mozart, in particular his wonderful horn concerto in E-flat, Köchel rating 495, which he wrote at the age of about 18 months. Marvelous man. I practiced very hard, against considerable opposition, I may say, and I had hoped this evening to give you the very first performance of the last movement, the rondo allegro vivace. Owing to curious circumstances as yet unexplained I am not able to do this. I can only tell you why…
I once had a whim and I had to obey it
To buy a French Horn in a second hand shop;
I polished it up and I started to play it
In spite of the neighbors who begged me to stop.
To sound my horn, I had to develop my embouchure;
I found my horn was a bit of a devil to play.
So artfully wound, to give you a sound
A beautiful sound so rich and round.
Oh, the hours I had to spend, before I mastered it in the end.
But that was yesterday and just today I looked in the usual place
There was the case but the horn itself was missing.
oh, where could it have gone? Haven’t you – hasn’t anyone seen my horn?
Oh where could it have gone?
What a blow! Now I know, I’m unable to play my Allegro.
Who swiped my horn? I’ll bet you a quid, somebody did,
Knowing I’d found a concerto and wanted to paly it,
Afraid of my talent for playing the horn.
Whoever it is I can certainly say it,
He’ll probably wish he had never been born.
I’ve lost my horn – I know I was using it yesterday.
I’ve lost my horn, lost my horn, found my horn…gone.
There’s not much chance of getting it back though I’d willingly pay a reward.
I know some hearty folk whose party jokes pretending to hunt with the Quorn,
Gone away! Gone away! Was it one of them took it away?
Will you kindly return my horn? Where is the devil who pinched that horn?
I shall tell the polisce I want my French Horn back.
I miss its music more and more and more.
Without the horn I’m feeling sad and so forlorn.
I found a concerto, I wanted to play it
Displaying my talent for playing the horn.
But early today to my utter dismay it has totally vanished away.
I practiced my horn and intended to play it but somebody took it away.
I practiced the horn and was longing to play it but somebody took it away.
My neighbor’s asleep in his bed.
I’ll soon make him wish he were dead.
I’ll take up the tuba instead!