Happy Thanksgiving, my American friends! Happy Thursday, international set!
Fear not, I recognize the importance of the day. It is Viola Joke Day. Holiday or no, I would never abandon you in your time of need.
On the contrary, I choose this day to break out a whopper. Here we have a viola joke so immense, so expansive, that I can’t in good conscience reproduce it here in its entirety. Behind the cut is the intro and the link to the full joke. It’s called Die Sauerbratschen, or “The Magic Viola.” Once more with feeling, Mr. Mozart.
It has come to our attention that several people believe Mozart wrote, in addition to The Magic Flute, an opera called The Magic Viola. This is incorrect, and apparently the rumor is due to a coincidence of sounds. In German, The Magic Flute is “Die Zauberflote,” while The Magic Viola would be “Die Auberbratsche.” In fact, Mozart’s little know viola opera is called Die Sauerbratschen, and it is verified by several unimpeachable sources that he wrote it in the space of one evening during dinner in a really dingy restaurant. Mozart wrote the libretto on napkins and the score on the tablecoth – an example of what is called “Tafelmusik.” The work was actually performed in Salzburg along with The Constipation of the House Special Overture, which was also composed in the same restaurant. The similarity to English speakers of the pronunciation of the German “sauer” and “zauber” has led to the “Magic Viola” misconception.
The opera was not successful, since it seems to have never been performed again. It has no K number and the tablecloth was apparently laundered by mistake, removing the entire score (but leaving in most of the stains). Only a few napkins remain in the collections of various private individuals and the summary of the opera given below, based only on those that could be tracked down and deciphered, cannot be regarded as definitive.
To read the opera libretto and get the rest of this mother of all viola jokes, click here!