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.
Curious? Any idea what’s behind that door? Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Trio in G Major (op. 9 no. 1) sparks my curiosity every time I listen to it. It starts in a sparkling, fresh way into the first movement and begs you to listen on. What’s next? How is the composer going to develop this idea? Is going to develop it at all? Beethoven is leading you into an exhilarating musical maze, and before you realize it, you have listened to the piece through its four movements. And hopefully you have deeply enjoyed the experience.
A year ago I was in Vienna, and being Vienna always makes me happy. I was done with work, i.e. meetings at the Vienna International Center hosting several UN agencies, and I had time for a stroll through the municipal park. I was on my own, I sat on a bench and I enjoyed Mozart’s Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, KV 452. A beautiful piece and a remarkable one for Mozart had some very special ideas on his mind.
I don’t want to live in a world where the political agenda is dictated by ideology, populism, superstition or religious dogmatism. I don’t want to be governed by politicians guided by their emotions, their so-called “instincts” or their beliefs. I consider rationalism as the foundation of democracy and the state of law. Anything else will lead to autocratic forms of government or worse. And I am afraid of an evolution where haters repudiate, abuse of or physically attack what they call “the elites”, social, economical or scientific experts. People do not become suspect or evil because they have a higher education. Much to the contrary. But what happened to rationalism? What happened to the Enlightenment?