How Did It Sound To You, Mozart?

Instead of the usual lecture yesterday evening, we were treated to an outstanding recital by pianist Asaf Fire. Top of my enjoyment list was Mozart’s piano concerto in D minor. I am a Mozart nut and can, and often do, listen to his music for hours on end. While the concert was in progress I thought to myself that Asaf was playing it better than Mozart himself could have – and then I got to thinking that it probably sounded rather different to Mozart than it did to us yesterday, what with modern technology and new instruments. Mozart composed for the piano when the instrument had been in existence for about only 100 years. 

What gave him the gift of magic he had? His music, composed in 30 short years from about 1760 to 1791, has not only endured but it increases in popularity as the years pass. Can you imagine our world today if Mozart had been born in the last 50 years, in the years of advanced medical treatment and healthcare? Can you imagine the attention and care that Mozart would have received once his genius was recognized – the teachers, the schools of music, the fostering of his genius? 

I understand that all music, and especially great music, can be interpreted in many different ways. So it is with the music of Mozart. When Asaf started playing the piano concerto in D minor I was immediately at home – his interpretation is the one I hum and whistle, the one that I know so well. Not so with others in the auditorium of the retirement home. There were about another 100 Mozart fans present in the audience and each one has his or her own Mozart interpretation: “You are playing too fast here, too slow there…!”

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