As a rule I don’t fall ill. I just don’t. But this time I did. A flu got hold of me out of the blue on a wonderful sunny weekend. Monday morning was not funny. A sleepless night, a head so dizzy I had trouble keeping my balance – back to bed then! But I am restless person as you know. Staying in bed all day was a frightening outlook! Especially against the backdrop that it was going to be one more sunny autumn day. There was little I could do however. Reading a book was out of question, at least during that morning. Music? Perhaps. I had a foreboding that Mozart would work, some chamber music, something to calm me down, to relax, to drown in benevolent sounds, to drift away and to make the day pass quickly.
Today’s society emphasizes perpetual self-improvement, and, considering my limited physical and intellectual capacities, I regularly resort to full-scale doping. I am not speaking of wine, mind, as the picture illustrating this post could suggest. I confess being an addict of Mozart’s piano concertos, and they invariably give me a boost. Here, Piano Concerto No. 11 in F Major (KV 413) is a true force multiplier. It is extremely pleasant to the ear – the Austrian wine connoisseur would say “lieblich”, which denotes a pleasant sweetness. And the melodies Mozart has woven into the piece are true earworms.
Is there any Italian opera libretto without a complicated plot? A straightforward love story, a cloak-and-dagger story, a simple lost bride drama – is that asking too much? Apparently. I love Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “La finta giardiniera” (The Disguised Gardener, KV 196), but when I had a look at the libretto – oh boy! Intertwined romantic liaisons, disguises, wedding plans – I always find life at Italian courts rather confusing. Anyway, the less known opera that Mozart wrote in 1774 for the carnival in Munich is a worthwhile experience. The music is just lovely and foreshadows both Mozart’s dramatic genius and his late operas “Le nozze di Figaro” and “Don Giovanni”.
Isn’t it amazing that such an eminent and prolific composer like Joseph Haydn wrote no more than three harpsichord or piano concerts? I think it is, and no, I am not contradicting myself if an earlier post of mine comes to your mind. Haydn wrote more than three keyboard concertos, but those did not feature solo parts for the harpsichord or then piano. Only three then. Whose fault could it be? Did Haydn lack the talent? Certainly not. A natural penchant for chamber music? He wrote more than 100 symphonies. I guess his patrons never asked for more piano concertos, and then there was a brilliant competitor claiming this genre for himself: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.