January 27th - Mozart's Birthday
Today is January 27, and it’s Mozart’s birthday. I know I don’t have to tell you how wonderful Mozart’s music is to listen to… but if you’re not a musician yourself you may find it interesting to know that Mozart’s music is also wonderful to play. And it’s not that it’s easy—in fact it’s usually pretty hard, and sometimes very hard.
But it’s never stupidly or needlessly hard—with enough practice it’s always playable, and it’s always satisfying to play. Mozart was a performer himself, and he knew what gave performers pleasure. My friend Max Raimi, who plays viola in the Chicago Symphony, once said that he’d enjoy playing Mozart string quartets even with soap on his bow, just for the pleasure of the physical movements. And in 1901 Claude Debussy wrote a concert review in which he said, “Next Monsieur Pugno played a concerto by Mozart. It couldn’t be played badly because it is so well written for the piano.”
A Minute with Miles is a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.