Music does not exist without air! And this is not only true for wind instruments like trumpets or flutes – No, not even sounds nor words would be audible; not even the big bang.
I am sure you’ll want to know now what any of this has to do with Mr. Schnabelewopski. The „memoires of Mr. Schnabelewopski“ is a story by Heinrich Heine from the year 1831. It was read by the famous musician Richard Wagner, who was deeply impressed. The story is about a Dutch captain who insulted God. As punishment, he is unable to find a harbor and has to again and again cross the stormy sea. Only a faithful lover could lift his curse.
Richard Wagner was in debt. His creditors were demanding their money back, but he was not earning enough to pay them. He found himself in such a precarious situation that he fled to England with his wife Minna. It was the year 1839 and airplanes did not exist yet. So they travelled by ship, which was not always easy depending on weather conditions. And the inevitable happened: The ship was hit by a powerful storm and poor Mr and Mrs Wagner got terribly sea sick. Green-faced, Richard Wagner remembered the story of Schnabelewopski by Heinrich Heine. Despite his seasickness and due to his being an excellent musician, he imagined the thunder as kettledrums and wind as violins. His art helped him to overcome the terrible situation. And this is how his opera „The flying Dutchman“ was born with tremendous lightning, wind and thunderstorms. Without weather and climate it would unfortunately be: NOTHING! And since we could not possibly want this, we should have the utmost respect for our fragile atmosphere.