A/N for Chapter 13 of "Shadow"
March, 24 2006
The author's notes for chapter 13 of "The Return of the Shadow".
A/N for chapter 13:
"Ach, du lieber Augustin"/"O, my dear friend Augustin" is an old folksong that is attributed to one Marx Augustin. This was a singer in Vienna during the second half of the 17th century.
The story about the song is this: during the plague of 1678/79 Marx Augustin collapsed after a long night spent drinking and partying outside the tavern which is today called the "Griechenbeisl"/"Greek Shed", at the time probably called "Rotes Dachl"/"Red Roof" . The corpse patrol assumed he was dead and put him on their cart. Eventually he was thrown into a common grave along with several dead bodies. When Augustin finally woke, he screamed and screamed, but no one heard him. At last he made up the song "O, my dear friend Augustin". Only then he was finally heard and pulled out of the grave.
So the song is real, and the singer, too. But Katharina and her father are purely figments of my imagination.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (http://www.mozartproject.org/ ) was really a man who loved bawdy tunes and silly jokes – his wife's second husband "edited" quite a lot of his letters so that their language might not be regarded as offensive by posterity. It can easily be assumed that Mozart knew the silly-scary song about Augustin and liked it, about one hundred years after the song was originally written.
The other events portrayed in this chapter are historically accurate for the most part, too:
In May 1781 Mozart came to Vienna with his employer, the Prince-Archbishop Colloredo. Subsequently they had an argument, and Mozart was dismissed (May 9/10) and the quote about his dismissal is quite famous. The Latin quote was something his father said about the severe illness of Mozart's beloved sister Nannerl, years earlier.
If Mozart really drowned his anger and disappointment in the tavern that is today called "Griechenbeisl" is not known, of course. But Mozart stayed in Vienna, and sometime during 1781, he composed the melody to the poem "An die Einsamkeit"/"To Loneliness" by Johann Timotheus Hermes.
Mozart died in 1791 of what may have been rheumatic fever, only 35 years old. He was buried in a common grave, his fame already on the decline and the location of the grave is lost.
There are sources concerning the weather: May 1781 really turned unseasonably cold in Germany and Austria, but during the summer the grapes dried up before they could be harvested. And the winter of 1791 was bittercold.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter!