Humans are infinitely varied in their inborn talents and native intelligence. Then given the right training in a nurturing environment, it’s astonishing the heights the lucky few attain. Consider music. In the Western musical canon, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart epitomizes musical genius. Born in Salzburg in 1756, “Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty.” [wiki.]
We don’t have a video of his performance when he was five; we can only imagine. Or we can watch the 5-year old Elisey Mysin perform Morzart’s Concerto No 3 in D major. The youtube video description notes:
The youngest pianist in Russia does not get his feet to the piano pedals, but masterfully performs the most complex musical works. When Elisha Mysin sits down at the piano and music begins to flow from under his fingers, it is hard to believe that he is five years old. He still does not reach his feet to the piano pedals, and the height of the chair for him has to be increased with a pillow. However, talent and hard work have already helped Stavropol Prodigy to win the appreciation of professionals and the love of the public from different parts of the country.
I agree with the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 -1900) that “without music, life would be a mistake.” Music — together with literature and poetry — helps me keep my balance, beside being a source of pure joy. I love to share what I enjoy.
Here I present to you a perennial favorite, the “Moonlight Sonata” by another German genius, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827.) He completed writing it in 1801.
Thus it has been around for nearly 220 years and is one of the crowning pieces of the Western musical canon, and will last as long as that tradition endures, which is likely to be at least a couple of centuries. It’s an example of those rare successful attempts by humans to achieve the sublime. Continue reading “Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata”
Music is of one of my most enduring passions. I can’t play any musical instrument to save my life. But I am grateful that I love music and my taste is eclectic. And I am happy that I live in an age in which I have access to an inexhaustible source of music of all kinds.
I enjoy a wide range — from Hindustani classical to Western classical; from Hindi popular cinema songs (from the 1960s through 1980s only) to Western pop songs; and world music also. I love contemporary composers like Philip Glass and Ennio Morricone.
Talking of Morricone, here’s a favorite tune from the master. It’s based on the theme from the movie The Mission for which he gave the music. He’s written the scores of scores of movies — including the spaghetti westerns (For a Few Dollars More, and the like). I hope you like this song.
One of my favorites, Beethoven’s 9th symphony is his final complete symphony. Composed between 1822 and 1824, it is considered to be his finest and some even think that it is the greatest composition in the Western classical music canon. In the final movement of the choral symphony, the chorus sings the words to Friedrich Schiller’s poem “An die Freude” (composed 1785). Beethoven conducted the symphony when it premiered. He was totally deaf by that time and so he had to see the ovation that followed, rather than hear it. Continue reading “Flash mob performance of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy””
Carl Sagan was a man of extraordinary vision — and what is more, a man who helped others to see more clearly. Here’s Sagan’s meditation on that little speck seen in this image taken from a distance of 6.4 billion kms from earth, the place we call home. The image was taken by Voyager 1 (launched 1977) in 1990 on its way out of the solar system. It shows earth as if it were a “mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” Sagan had persuaded NASA to command the spacecraft to capture this image. He explained the significance of that picture in his 1994 book, The Pale Blue Dot. See below for a reading of that bit by Sagan. Continue reading “The Pale Blue Dot”