Monday, October 26, 2015

Remembering Wolfgang

It has been awhile since I have written about Wolfgang Mozart, but recently I watched a wonderful BBC documentary on his life and works, and heard one piece in particular that made me want to go through my collection of CD's and bring Wolfgang back into the car with me, to listen to him "speak" as it were, as we drive along. I have not enjoyed that for a bit. And I say "speak", because he does speak to us through his music. We hear him jubilant or care-worn, lighthearted or serious. We understand his social and political views through his operas. We see how devoted he was through his spiritual religious works. Of course, we know that at the heights of his despair, he could write as if he was at a festive party. He really is a miracle, writing over 600 pieces of work that really define the Classical era, as well as being as relevant and fresh today as they day they came off his work table.

The piece that just grabbed me is the Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major (K.488). Written on March 2, 1786, it is a mature work. Mozart was 34. He had encountered a good deal of life, personally and professionally, and this work, especially the second movement, the Adagio (sometimes called the Andante), has tremendous depth and longing. It is written in F-sharp minor, 6/8 time. It is the only work he wrote in that key. That same year, around that same time, he premiered Marriage of Figaro. This concerto, though, was on of three subscription concerts that Spring, and Mozart probably also played in it as well as conducted. The concerto is scored for piano solo and an orchestra consisting of one flute, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns and strings. 

Give this beautiful adagio a listen:

Little did he know, that he would live only 6 years more. Sometimes I liken Wolfgang to a magnificent flame, burning extremely bright and white hot, and then all of a sudden, gone. But instead of being silenced, his incredible creation lives on as we listen to his work, and cannot deny that it touches our soul.

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