Friday, 31 December 2010

Too many runs, Mozart

Mozart at net practice
Fantasy Bob's radio station of choice is BBC Radio 3.  In the old days it was the carrier of Test Match Special when Arlott and Johnston ruled the airwaves and the cricket would be uninterrupted by the shipping forecast.  (As a sailor FB totally approves of the shipping forecast but it always seems to come just when a wicket falls or a century is about to be scored.)

FB notes with approval Radio 3's decision to programme every run that the great batsman Wolfgang Mozart scored in his brilliant but short career at the crease.   This will go on the air between 1 and 12 January 2011 and will give all cricket fans the opportunity to hear Mozart's greatest Test innings, including the Marriage of Figaro and the Jupiter Symphony, alongside lesser known one day innings.

At one time cricket historians were rather dismissive of Mozart's abilities, suggesting that many of his innings were little more than pretty exercises in formulaic technique - he was not a converter of nice 50s into big centuries.  He was alleged to be a flat track bully and compared unfavourably with the great all rounder Beethoven who followed him into the Test side.  Nor was it said he had the game changing qualities of the great pace bowlers of later years Wagner and Mahler.  But more recently Mozart's true quality in all aspects of batsmanship has been appreciated and, like Jack Hobbs, he properly takes his place in the All-time Greats XI.

FB invites his readers to consider 2 other aspects relating to Mozart that are of interest.  The first is the discussion as to whether he was born with some special talent ie that he was a born Test match batter.  Supporters of this point of view have claimed that he bats with the voice of God.  Other researchers have suggested that his great ability was the product of long hours in the nets in a cricket rich environment.  It is reckoned that by the time he was 12 years old he had had 10,000 hours of net practice.  These researchers make the heroic suggestion is that even FB were he to practice his on drive for that long could get the bat on the ball more times than not.

The second point of interest is the so-called Mozart effect.  The suggestion is that if you play Mozart's innings to sleeping children they will turn into geniuses, or if you play it to cows they will produce more milk.  FB is sceptical of this claim, but suggests to be on the safe side Mozart should be played throughout all Carlton junior coaching sessions from now on.

In the meantime, here is FB's Mozart All time greatest First XI

Marriage of Figaro
Don Giovanni
The Magic Flute
Symphony No 41 in C,  K 551, the Jupiter
Piano Concerto in Dmin, K466 
Piano Concerto in D K537, the Coronation
Clarinet Concerto in A, K622
Quintet for Clarinet and strings in A, K581
Serenade for wind in Bb, K361, the Gran Partita
Quintet  for piano and wind in Eb, K452
And if you can't wait for the Radio 3 festival to start, try this  - as one of the greatest shots in cricket  history.  (The aria starts 2 minutes into the extract if you can't take the recitative).  Truly miraculous - and an outstanding performance.  Test Match Quality.

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