Funny hierarchy. Frederick the Great.


Funny hierarchy. Frederick the Great.

A King of Prussia Frederick the Great had a special hobby – the monarch liked to spend his free time playing the flute. A distinguished German flutist, composer and a music theorist Johann Joachim Quantz (who was called by the citizens of Berlin ‘the famous rich and brutal Quantz”) taught the King of Prussia how to play musical instruments.

Frederick’s first lesson began when he was yet a crown prince. His father forbade him to play music at that time so the prince had to hide from him. Thus all their lessons were carried out secretly from a strict father. When Frederick ascended the throne, he officially nominated Quantz for the post of court composer and musician. This post the famous musician had for the rest of his life, he kept conducting orchestras, making custom-designed instruments and, of course, giving the monarch lessons so that he could improve his playing flute.

It’s also worth mentioning that that distinguished musician turned out to be a total hempecked husband, because he got marry rather late. He valued his wife Ann a lot and he was a little afraid that he might lose her.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Back, a son of another talented and famous musician Johann Sebastian Bach even made up a puzzle concerning this matter. Once he asked his friends such a question: ‘Which animal should be considered to be the most dangerous in the world?’

The solution to the riddle was the following: ‘a small puppy which belongs to Frau Quartz’. The thing was that Frau Quartz worshiped the dog, spoiled it totally and she never failed to humour it no matter how many whims there were. Herr Quartz was a little bit afraid of his wife and he, in turn, always humoured her. The king himself was afraid of the musician-‘hempecked husband’. And the whole world was afraid of the King of Prussia!

Frederick happened to hear this funny but extremely audacious and impudent joke. He had a good laugh at it, and then he said: ‘The most important thing is that Herr Quartz hasn’t heard this horrible joke yet, otherwise he would throw us out and hire someone new for our positions.’