May 27, 2012

10 Things I Learned from Listening to All 27 Mozart Piano Concertos.


Yoga & Mozart

I’ve decided to dispense with Yoga
And just listen to Mozart all the time.

It gives me the same sense of wonder.
It fills me with the same infinite cosmic joy.

It collapses my entire being into the present moment
Where the music is divine
I am divine
You are divine
The whole world is one and divine.

I’ve decided to dispense with Yoga
And just listen to Mozart all the time.

But then again
Why not have both?
For are they not one and the same?


10 Things I Learned from Listening to
All 27 Mozart Piano Concertos.

1. The early ones are wonderful, too.

Mozart’s last 10 piano concertos are considered among the greatest human achievements.  I fell in love with them in junior high school.  When I had a couple of bucks, instead of buying the latest rock & roll album, I would go out and buy a Mozart piano concerto.

But I had never heard the first 17 concertos very much.  I assumed they must be of a much lower quality, perhaps just learning exercises, or like sketches compared to a painting.

I was quite astounded to  learn that every single one of them is wonderful, starting with his first arrangements as a young boy prodigy.  I was never anything less than entranced.

2. Amadeus is my favorite movie of all time.

Ok, already knew that, but makes me want to see another five times.  The movie is a fictional account, of course.  But reliving Mozart’s short life through his lifetime of piano concertos reminded me just how good the movie is, and how wildly inventive and creative Mozart was, just as portrayed in Amadeus.

3. Mozart was just trying to make a living.

It’s easy to think of Mozart in God-like terms today, and forget that at the time he wrote these concertos he was just trying to figure out a way to make a living, just like being a musician today.  Mozart was under constant threat of running out of money.

Many of these sublime concertos were written for his own subscription concerts, under extreme deadlines, like “the concert is tomorrow, I better figure out what I’m going to play…”.  Plus, he had to enchant the audience every time, or there would be no more subscribers.

4. …and keep himself musically entertained at the same time.

How do you write 27 major pieces in the same basic three movement form, fast-slow-fast, for piano and orchestra, and make every one unique and fresh?

You can just hear Mozart saying to himself throughout, hmmm, what about this, and wow, I never tried that yet, etc.  A lot of creativity comes out of a person’s mundane desire to avoid getting bored by their day-to-day work.

5. It reminded me of when my kids were little.

When my kids were growing up I was as likely to take them to a Mozart opera as a kid’s movie.    It was either that or a Marx Bros. film.  (But their favorite was “Night at the Opera”.)  They seemed to have survived.  In fact they always seemed thrilled to go.  All three are music lovers today.

6. I still like falling asleep to Mozart, just like I did as a kid.

7. I would go broke without Rhapsody.

I would go broke if I had to pay a dollar for each track of music I listen to.  The Rhapsody $14 monthly subscription is like have a juke box in your home, only this particular juke box can play almost any piece of music known to man.

8. Listening to music with relaxed concentration is a high form of meditation.

Yoga meditation has made me a better listener.  It’s the same process.  Your mind wanders and you gently bring it back.  The more you just pay attention non-judgmentally, the more you hear and the more wondrous it becomes, just like the world itself.

9. I failed as a father.

When I was about half way through the 27 concertos, I got so excited about how moving and inventive and varied they were, I just had to play a couple  for one of my sons, a very talented and discriminating musician in his own right.  He listened attentively and said, “That music is good, but it all sounds alike.”  Oh no!  Where did I go wrong as a father?

…what I really learned is:

10. Not even Mozart is a God to everyone like he most certainly is to me.


(Postscript: Now that I’m done, am I moving on to the next project, all the Beethoven sonatas, for example?  No, I can’t let it go yet.  I’m starting over again on Concerto #1.)

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