When I write, the best music to keep me focused is Mozart’s piano sonatas. The simplicity and unembellished sound of piano surrounds me without distracting me from the task at hand. That is, until it comes to Mozart’s Sonata No.6 in D Major, K.284, “Dürnitz”: 111 Tema con variazione, the part that starts half way through. I can only stop and listen. Then tears flow softly. Not sad ones, but undefinable ones of longing and ascension.
Tchaikovsky is another favorite composer of mine. He said that just the mention of Mozart’s name would bring him to tears. I really get that. In my childhood my father’s repertoire was from the romantic genre, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Beethoven. How lucky I was to have and hear so much music in my formative years. I came to know Mozart’s music later. My dad thought his music sounded all the same, too classical and intellectual. I respected my dad, but I think he didn’t hear enough of the immense range of emotion Mozart expressed. One of the best examples of this range that comes to mind is his Requiem mass in D minor, K. 626. It soars from deep melancholia to blissful angelic dimensions.
My words fail to describe. But in Beauty; Rediscovering the True Sources of Compassion, Serenity, and Hope, John O’Donohue’s words describe how the sonata affects me: “Music embraces the whole person. It entrances the mind and the heart and its vibrations reach and touch the entire physical body. Yet there is something deeper still in the way that music pervades us. In contrast to every other art form, it finds us out in a more immediate and total way. The inrush of intimacy in music is irresistible. It takes you before you can halt it. It is as though music reaches that subtle threshold within us where the soul dovetails with the eternal. ”
Click here to hear Mozart Sonata No.6 in D Major, K.284, “Dürnitz”: 111 Tema con variazione on Spotify, the part I like best starts at 11:45 minutes.
Ah, Kathleen! Mozart is my go-to composer when I need both soothing and uplifting moments. I too, remember listening to classical music with awe when my father would play it on our hi-fi or stereo player when I was growing up.
I’m so glad to know we have this in common. I listen for the same reasons, to be soothed and uplifted. Also feeling smarter, I’m sure you know about the studies done about listening to Mozart. Did your dad have translucent red records? I remember that so vividly from the 50’s. I’m guessing you have a soft spot for Chopin as well?
Sweet. Thank you for O’Donohue’s quote. Your knowledge of the names and writers of musical compositions far exceeds mine, yet I too appreciate growing up listening to classical music. I am grateful to my mother who played classical music records every day to which I would dance and to this day that music is recorded in my head. What a blessing and sense of balance it gave me. Thank you for sharing your deep feelings and recognizing it’s impact on your life.
Classical music is so expanding, there is such variety to choose for occasions, I can picture you and Elizabeth dancing. Great mom for exposing you to music.