I’ve just been to Salzburg to play a concert in the Mozarteum with the Gaudier Ensemble. Leaving London in spring weather, it was startling to find ourselves walking through the Mirabell Gardens a few hours later in heavy snow. How strange travel is! One minute you’re having breakfast in London and the next, you’re gazing up at the snowy mountains wondering what happened. The body can be quickly transferred from A to B, but the mind isn’t so quick to catch up.
We went to visit Mozart’s birthplace in the Getreidegasse, now an exclusive little shopping street. We paid our money and climbed up to the third floor where the Mozart family had their rooms – only to discover that their whole apartment was closed for renovation. All that was open was the little museum at the back of the house.
In the museum bookshop was a cookery book of recipes used by Johanna, the cook who worked for the famous von Trapp family of ‘The Sound of Music’. Johanna’s recipes were collected under the curious title ‘The Sound of Cooking’ and bound in a handsome green hard-back book with the incredible subtitle, ‘Life and Recipes of Trapp Cook.’ Trapp Cook? How could the publishers have allowed such an ugly wording? Surely it wouldn’t have been very hard, in Austria, to find an English speaker to advise on a better way of phrasing it. It never ceases to amaze me, the clumsy translations people offer to the world without even checking with a native speaker whether the result will fall on their ears with a horrible clang.