Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a Jokerman

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart needs no introduction. He's one of the most famous and influential composers of his age. He is right there, along with the Holy Trinity of Killer B's: Brahms, Bach, Beethoven, in the middle of the Western Canon - his traces can be detected almost anywhere. His works are the epitome of what we call music. And because of that there is a certain lack of appreciation of his music. We don't really understand the importance of Mozart. We take him for granted.

In his time the composition techniques he used were boundary pushing. His music was taking chances and trying something completely different. He was dead set on going where no one had gone before. He wanted to "make it new". And ultimately he managed to change the way the concept of music is perceived. 

While his mesmerizing character, fascinating personality traits, turbulent life and mysterious death became subjects of numerous works (unfortunately including astoundingly inaccurate joke of a biopic "Amadeus") - one element of his body of work is usually woefully overlooked. I'm talking about his fondness for dirty jokes.

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It is not a big surprise that Mozart was a fan of a good joke. Who isn't? Wolfgang enjoyed to tickle senses of an audience by touching upon sensitive subjects with an indelible and affectionate punches. His music has a lot of funny moments. However, sometimes his manner of joking had a tendency to go overboard and turn into downright offensive. This is well portrayed in otherwise inadequate "Amadeus".

He often wrote nonsensical letters to his friends and relatives and was consistently interested in pissing people off with crude and crass remarks. There is nothing wrong with toilet humor. After all - it's a contender for the universal language. It's just that a source of a poop joke is someone whose work is considered to be one of the highest points of music culture that rubs people the wrong way.

Here is K.231, also known as "Leck mic him Arsch", which loosely translates as "Kiss my ass". It's a simple party piece for six voices, a riff on a traditional Christmas carol with an elaborate lyrical twist. Since it consists of repetitive use of the phrase "Kiss my ass, quick-quick" - it is fair to say that the piece wasn't designed to be a statement of any significance. It is rather a fun detail to be fit in the picture on occasion somewhere on the skids. And as such it looks damn fine.

Some sort of continuation of the piece is the song "Leck mir den Arsch fein recht schon sauber" (K. 233) which loosely translates as "Lick my ass nice and clean". It has more elaborate lyrics and it seems that this time around it was made on the fly for the sake of fitting obscene with the classical choral form. There is this weird weightlessness to the piece that arrests and at the same time pushes listener away. This weird cognitive dissonance is obviously a true intention of the piece.


Another Mozart dirty song is "Bei der Hitz im Sommer ess ich" (K.234) that loosely translates as "In the heat of the summer I eat" and it's a romantic fart joke. It is different from the previous two because it actually has some kind of a narrative. It portrays a character. Protagonist of the song consumes "roots and spices and butter and radish" because they "expel a lovely wind" and "cool him". He also drinks a lot of various drinks because it is summer and it is hot and it fun to do. These images show unbearable idleness of a man who experiences longing and dreaming over some undisclosed and obviously improbable matter.

"Gehn wir im Prater, gehn wir in d' Hetz" (K.558) is not as ambitious. It is simply about wanting to go somewhere no matter what. Even if there are some callously nonsensical obstacles. Perhaps, it's all about the journey not the destination...

Today pieces K.233 and K.234 are considered to be misattributed to Mozart. It is most possibly a product of Wolfgang's friend Wenzel Trnka. The reason those pieces were attributed to Mozart was because Trnka was an amateur composer in his own right and he might have given the manuscripts to Wolfgang expecting for an advice or simply sharing his works with a friend. In the original publications lyrics were changed because of content. But later the originals were restored for all to hear. Nevertheless, for a long time these pieces were used as an example of Mozart's perverseness and obvious clue to claim that he suffered from Tourette's syndrome. But down with nonsense.

Anyway, these songs are nice fits to the aesthetic routines of much later Dada. They wouldn't sound out of place in the Cabaret Voltaire. And they certainly entertain.

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 Wolfgang appreciated every chance to induce cringe and put a fair share of blush onto the cheeks. Sometimes he did it as a throwaway, other time he did it with extreme prejudice. The following piece shows that the mighty Wolfgang needed no dirty words to insult his contemporaries. He just needed to do what he does best - to compose music.

"A Musical Joke" (K. 522) is an odd piece within Mozart's body of work. It is an intentionally bad piece of music. In this piece Wolfgang viciously mocks lavishly ambitious and utterly incompetent composers by means of composition only. He makes the arrangement purposefully clumsy and full of pointless posturing. It turns more and more awkward as it goes. The piece takes bits and pieces of melodies and stitches them together to go ultimately nowhere as if the composer wasn't really sure in which direction he wanted to move. Lack of logic in the composition and its extreme technical ineptness inflates the piece to the point it is unbearably flattening. And in the end the whole piece literally falls apart through a clever use of polyharmony. Now that is what I call "trolling".

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Now you can see that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wasn't just that dude who wrote all that boring music that seniors hammer into your head. He was also a damn fine jokerman!