Mainly Mozart's orchestral finale featured giggling Mozart and scowling Mozart.
Scatology is currently a most distasteful subject but that was not always the case. There are examples of scatalogical humor dating back to Aristophanes’s The Birds in the ancient Greek theatre. This type of humor was acceptable during the bawdy Elizabethan Era in Jolly ol’ England but fell out of fashion after The Restoration (1660’s) and was all but erased during the Victorian Era.
As multicultural as the Unites States is much of our culture is still influenced by the British Empire. Of course, the British Empire was the most influential culture in the world for a few hundred years.
Austria was one place, along with Italy, which wasn’t as influenced by the British. Both those countries had a tradition of scatology which was outside the Victorian cycle of body shaming.
Just so we’re clear, I’m talking about “poopies”.
Why dear God? Why bring up something so icky?
Because of the Mainly Mozart Festival of course. Not the Festival itself so much as the man himself.
I brought up the context of the ancient origins of scatological humor in order for us to try to look back at Mozart with some sense of fairness because dude was into his toilet humor. The primary source are his letters to his cousin, Maria Anna Thekla Mozart.
What does Mozart say? Basically there’s a lot of “lick my ass” and “eat shit” going on in these letters. Now and then he takes scatological shots at the aristocracy and here we have something of substance with which to work.
It might be difficult for us to understand in our hyper-political culture but in the 18th Century the 99 percent had no political life whatsoever. The ruling class was exactly that — a class which ruled based on heredity.
Yes, we all learned this at one point or another but have we considered what we would do in a culture which did not allow us to voice a political opinion? I’ve discussed Mozart’s operas such as Don Giovanni and it’s critical presentation of the aristocracy.
The less artistic Mozart mentions characters such as "Duchess Smackarse" and "Countess Pleasurepisser" in his letters. There appears to have been a culture of using scatelogical slurs toward the aristocracy in Germany, Austria, France, and Italy.
Mozart's Leck mich im Arsch
Mozart apologists have tried to theorize that he had Tourette’s syndrome but there is no evidence of this at all. His letters, along with those of his sister and extended family all contain scatological comments.
Either the entire family was in love with shit or they were simply people of their time using the idioms which were common in their culture. I’m going with the later.
But what about the music? Enjoy Mozart's Leck mich im Arch canon. I'll let you figure how to translate that bit of German.