[FOUNTAIN]Memories of MozartThe music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is everywhere around us. The background music for subway information telling where you can transfer to other lines is a piece by Mozart. The music is the 3rd movement of Mozart’s K525 serenade. At the last station on a line, Mozart’s Piano Sonata 11 plays with the announcement of “Before leaving the train, make sure you take all your belongings with you.”
In Philippe Sollers’ book “Mysterieux Mozart,” the author writes, “Every modern person lives with Mozart’s music.” On cellular phones, elevators and in shopping malls, Mozart’s music is there. Speaking extremely, people are born having listened to Mozart’s “Die Zauberfloete” while inside their mothers’ wombs, go on dates with “Le Nozze di Figaro” as their theme music and are buried to the sound of “Requiem.” It is not an exaggeration that Mozart could buy all of Austria if he was alive today and able to receive copyright royalties on all his music.
However, when Mozart was alive he was always pressed for money. His worst year was 1789. A letter he wrote to his fellow Freemason Johann Michael Puchberg details his needy circumstances as follows.
“If you, as a close friend and brother of mine, discard me, then my poor and sick wife, all my children and I will have no other way to survive. Sadly, I am a very unlucky person and whatever I do, it is hard to earn any money. I have passed out a reservation list of a recital for 14 days, but Swieten was the only one who wrote his name on the list.”
Although he was poor when alive, today Mozart feeds practically all of Salzburg. In that city, almost everything from t-shirts, pencils, ashtrays, cigarette lighters to even beer and golf balls has a Mozart brand. The famous Kugel chocolate, with Mozart’s face on the wrapping, has sold over one hundred million pieces overseas, which is 58 billion won ($59.5 million) worth. Salzburg has evaluated the brand value of Mozart at 5.4 billion euro or 6.4 trillion won. That is higher than the brand value of Phillips ― 4.9 billion euro ― and Volkswagen at 4.6 billion euro.
The brand power of Mozart comes from familiarity. It is different from Beethoven’s music, which is strict, or Bach’s devout music. Mozart’s music is bright, easy, fun and sweet. It fits well with the brand awareness of modern people. Mozart is like a friend or lover that it is hard to separate from. Albert Einstein described Mozart as follows. “When someone dies, it means that person can no longer listen to Mozart’s music.”
The 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birthday is this Friday. Happy Birthday, Mozart!
by Yi Jung-jae
The writer is a deputy business news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.