Today it's 250 years since the greatest musical genious the world has ever seen was born. His music has been a part of my life since I started to play. He has given me great experiences, but also moments of anxiety and restlessness.
His music seems simple and is easily understood, but behind the surface, it's intricacy and complexeness is a challenge for all musicians. I've battled with his music from time to time, the first time I remember was in my early teens. My clarinet teacher gave me the sheet music for his Clarinet Concerto. I wasn't a good student. I liked to play, but didn't wan't to practice. This piece intrigued me anyway, especially the second movement. I tried figure out how a special passage with lots of semiquavers and triplets should sound, but I couldn't get the math of it correct. I listened to a cassette (back in those days :-)) several times, and suddenly one day I got it! The sentiment of mastering was a great experience. You've probably heard that piece. It has been described as the most lovely music piece ever written, and it's used in the movies Out of Africa and Ironweed.
Another delightful moment was when I first saw the movie Amadeus. There is a scene where Constanze, his wife, is showing the scores of Mozart's works to his alegded enemy Salieri. He studies the scores, and we see glimpses of Mozart fooling around, laughing out and behaving like a big child, and in the background we hear my favourite piece for winds, the slow movement from the Serenade for 13 winds, Gran Partita. I nearly stopped breathing. I'd never heard anything that beautiful before. Since then, I've played the piece three times. and I'm still looking forward to playing that movement.
I mentioned nervousness earlier. That has to do with the Clarinet Concerto. When clarinettists autidion for positions, the two first moments are compulsory almost everywhere in the world. You will never be alloved to play it all, only the first part of the first movement, and 2/3 of the second. If you fail in the first, they won't let play the second at all. So you practice for weeks and months, and when audition comes, you've got max 15 minutes to prove that you are the best person for that job. I was lucky the first time, probably because it didn't understand how serious it was. I've auditioned for other positions later, without any luck at all. So I'm sticking to my job in the wind band and feeling sorry for all the musicians that have to go through this ordeal to be able to work with what they love most of all in the world.
We're going to celebrate him tonight with a large concert in the concert hall in Harstad, the nearest town. There will be a choir, song soloists, strings and winds. If you check the cultural calender for your town or communtiy, there will probably also be a celebration of this great composer. Check it out and enjoy.
Happy birthday Mr. Mozart!