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Wolfgang Amadeus Remembrance

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart shares his birthday with the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. There’s a moving kind of harmony in that . . . . Albert Einstein once said that Mozart’s music was “so pure that it seemed to have been ever-present in the universe, waiting to be discovered by the master.” Later in life, the scientist confessed that “Mozart remains as beautiful and tender as he always was and always will be.” Here’s to Mozart in 2016 — and always — with his very last concerto, his only one written for the clarinet. Its middle movement is of the ever-present stuff Einstein mentions: both inimitable and inevitable.

Composer Arvo Pärt

Composer Arvo Pärt

I typically mark Remembrance Day (Veterans Day in the U.S.) by playing Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, a dramatic, secular meditation on memory, war and loss. Here, however, I’d like to draw attention to another related musical meditation.

Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten (1977), by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, is a reflective homage, a remembrance of the composer of the War Requiem. It simply doesn’t get more inward looking, more striking, than this. Pärt summons a musical language from an age we don’t know but which is paradoxically our own.

“The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.”

(The old Lie; How sweet and fitting it is to die for one’s country.) – Wilfred Owen, 1918

Shantih    shantih    shantih