For the German Literature Month (hosted by Caroline @ Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Lizzy @ Lizzy’s Literary Life) Week I, I also read the novella Mozart auf der Reise nach Prag (Mozart’s Journey to Prague) by Eduard Mörike. It was short and I enjoyed reading it in the original German; when I read translated versions, I always wonder if there was anything else that got lost in translation…
“Die Erde ist wahrhaftig schoen und keinem zu verdenken, wenn er so lang wie moeglich darauf bleiben will. Gott sei’s gedankt, ich fuehle mich so frisch und wohl wie je und waere bald zu tausend Dingen aufgelegt, die denn auch alle nacheinander an die Reihe kommen sollen, wie nur mein neues Werk vollendet und aufgefuehrt sein wird. Wieviel ist draussen in der Welt und wieviel daheim, Merkwuerdiges und Schoenes, das ich noch gar nicht kenne, an Wunderwerken der Natur, an Wissenschaften, Kuensten und nuetzlichen Gewerben! Der schwarze Koehlerbube dort bei seinem Meiler weiss dir von manchen Sachen auf ein Haar so viel Bescheid wie ich, da doch ein Sinn und ein Verlangen in mir waere, auch einen Blick in dies und jens zu tun, das eben nicht zu meinem naechsten Kram gehoert.”
English translation (I found this online. Not sure if it is right) : “Truly the earth is beautiful, and we can blame no one for wanting to remain on it as long as possible. Thanks be to God, I feel as young and well as ever and am in the mood to do a thousand things, which will have their turn as soon as my new work is finished and produced. How many remarkable and beautiful things there are – wonders of nature, or science, of the arts and crafts – in the world, both near and far, of which I know nothing yet. I am sure there are many things about which I know as little as the black-faced lad sitting by his charcoal kiln over there; but yet there has always been in me a burning desire to look into this, that and the other, which is not my immediate stock-in-trade.”
Summary: The novella describes a day in Mozart’s life, but not just any day. For the opening of Don Giovanni, Mozart is on the way to Prague with his wife. On the way, he is caught trying to steal an orange from a garden of a stately home. When the family finds out that their ‘trespasser’ is, in fact, the great composer, the delightedly invite him to be the guest of honour at their daughter’s wedding.
My thoughts: The book is beautifully written. I love that story has so little to do with music, but tells us so much about Mozart himself. Another thing I love is that it’s just a small story, not an attempt at a novel; it has all the right elements in the right amount – a little more would have spoiled the book. The writer never strays from the matter at hand. Mozart’s thoughts and views about life, the forest and so on, are definitely worth a read. I mean, really, what could go wrong with a story about Mozart stealing fruits from a farmer!! I’d recommend this novella in a heartbeat.