What Is the Purpose of Your Life?

Mahler Symphony2
Look up! © Charles Thibo

Gustav Mahler. This composer gives me trouble. Usually I do not feel attracted by his music, I hardly ever listen to his works. But if you would press me to give you a reason, I would not know what to say. Prejudice? Perhaps. Nevertheless, every now and then I end up in a concert hall and have to listen to one of his symphonies. And then it strikes me that I do not listen to his works more often. And perhaps the reason for my ambiguous feelings are the simple dimensions of his works.

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A Mass Composed in Monastic Seclusion

tintoretto crucifixion_edited-1
The ultimate sacrifice, painted by Tintoretto in the 16th century.

Today Christians all over the world commemorate a man’s ultimate sacrifice: A man sacrified his life for a cause he believed in. And when I watch tens of thousands of children and teens all over the world standing up each Friday to make us grown-ups aware of the dangers linked to climate change, I am wondering how much we grown-ups are willing to sacrifice to give these children the feeling that we are not letting them down, that we think about their life and well-being too? How much of our present way of life are we ready to sacrifice? We are not asked to give our life. We are perhaps asked to fly less, to drive an electric car, to insulate our house more efficiently. We are being asked a sacrifice infinitely smaller than the one that man from Nazareth was ready to give.

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Emilie Takes up the Challenge of Composing

That smell… © Charles Thibo

Andante maestoso is the mood of the first movement of this work, Emilie Mayer’s Piano Trio in D major op. 13. And majestic the opening is, but don’t you trust appearances, it is almost immediately balanced by a delightful melody, a Romantic signature, of course. Emilie Mayer has already been introduced in an earlier post, I will not repeat myself. The trio was composed in 1859 at the latest and by then the composer was living in Berlin. She was part of the generation of Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, but she could not have met either of the two. She moved to Berlin in 1847, the year both Mendelssohns died, which explains why she is neither mentioned by R. Larry Todd in his excellent biographies of the two Mendelssohns, nor in the Mendelssohns’ letters.

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Upbeat Melodies For the King of Prussia

Light! © Charles Thibo

Relief – that’s what I felt over the past two or three weeks, actually since the first morning a crossed our garden to get to my car in daylight. The darkness of the last winter month made me feel a little depressed at times and I longed for light. I was glad when this dark period was finally over. Light – there’s a lot of light in Ignaz Pleyel’s String Quartet in F Major, B. 338, one of his Prussian Quartets”, about which I have written already in an earlier post. I particularly like this string quartet because of its upbeat joyful mood and its elegant, catchy melodies. More spring music!

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