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January 27th - Mozart's Birthday

A Minute with Miles
Mary Noble Ours
/
SC Public Radio

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.”

This has been A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.

Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.