The Son of Enlightenment by Christian Jacq
I enjoyed reading this book and would sing its praises to lovers of music, the theatre, classical music and the culture and life style of eighteenth century Vienna, a different world altogether. The descriptions of the music, an opera (“The Abduction from the Seraglio”) or libretti, the andantes of a quartet, sonatas, the rondo or concertos played seemed to enhance the magic of the world of Mozart
and greatly added to the sense of beauty of the great music and story which seemed to go hand in hand.
There is a foot note on the page that the end of the movement of the six quartets in G major where Mozart was striving to move forwards in his music without knowing whether it would one day be played in public, prefigured
a theme from “The Magic Flute.” He was working without worrying about an audience’s reaction.
The mood and gathering thoughts of the musician may have been reflected in his music, perhaps even
sometimes quite subtly.
The story revolves around the world of Wolfgang Mozart, his marriage to Constance Weber, his search for freedom and a quest for inner knowledge and spiritual wisdom. In this quest he is joined by his friend,
the Egyptian, Thamos, who helps to initiate him into the early spiritual brotherhood of the Freemasonry of
the time. This is a wonderful historical fiction book with many elements of the
seeking of a higher spiritual plane, which is not always available to every person, but hopefully, for Mozart, success will be found and for most of the book he was aspiring to reach this Temple Door.
His music and compostitions were endearing to the Viennese public and Mozart was assisted in this endeavour by his many influential friends whom he met when he was staying in Vienna and helped him
on his way to a successful career with their optimism and good wishes. The enigmatic and forever optimistic
Countess Thun was one such friend who would often invite the young Mozart to play the piano at her home and
introduce him to various members of the aristocracy. The Emperor, Josef II, son of Maria Theresa, the Empress,
also makes an appearance and also an enquiry into the activities of the Templar Knights and is informed
that they have become more or less extant by this time. The dialogue of the characters who appear in
the story is authentic and wonderful. Almost as though not a note out of place.
Mozart was impressed and admired the music of Bach, which had not been around for the previous thirty years, and also admired and respected Haydn, whom he met and confided in. Haydn was working for the Esterhazy court for many years. Their love of music would have been a
common bond and also an understanding of music which could make the soul soar. A spiritual sense for
the love and beauty of (perfect?) music. The composer, Gluck, also congratulated and recognised Mozart
as a composer after the success of his opera.
Of the early life of Mozart, this book is a good start. His ties of kinship to his father, Leopold, and the necessary approval and permission from his father for his marriage to Constance would be a reflection of the times of eighteenth century society and also of the way in which the musicians and sons were expected to obey their elders,superiors and employers. Mozart was a little bit of a rebel for the times in that he broke away from bonds of seeming serfdom in Salzburg to set himself free and endeavour to make a successful career on his own in Vienna.
Mozart’s sister, Nannerl, also featured in the story, as did his faithful dog, Miss Pimperl, who had been a friend since his earlier days of childhood. He was also inspired by the beautiful song of a bird, whom he
purchased and named Starr, as he was particularly grateful, one day in passing along the street, to hear the beautiful bird’s song. Starr continued to remain an inspiration for the composer and became a part of his life and family.