mozart’s piano sonata no. 11 in a major by fazil say

Many of Mozart’s piano pieces tend to be to pleasantly rippling along. I imagine them very befitting for the salons of Viennese aristocracy, where life is easy and privileged.

But his Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major, played by Fazil Say is wonderful. It still has that Mozart-feel, but there’s a dynamism to it, at times shadows of unsettlement before again retracting into pleasantry, which then again leads you, almost imperceptibly, into new territories. Adante grazioso has so much to offer in the first seven minutes already.

If you enjoy this, listen to the complete album, and then compare it to the equally wonderful performance by Alfred Brendel.

It’s always fascinating to me how something written almost 250 years ago still resonates with an audience today, especially when you consider how different life was back in those times. That’s one of the beautiful things about the universality of music, the timelessness and how it translates across cultures and countries.

It’s easy to assume that for a musical genius like Mozart, things came easy, and in fact this was widely assumed when he became successful, that he was some kind of effortless Wunderkind. Here’s what he had to say in his own words

I have spared neither care nor labor to produce something excellent for Prague. Moreover it is a mistake to think that the practice of my art has become easy to me. I assure you, dear friend, no one has given so much care to the study of composition as I. There is scarcely a famous master in music whose works I have not frequently and diligently studied.”

— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in a remark to Conductor Kucharz, who led the rehearsals for “on Giovanni” in 1787

Give as much care to the study of your craft as you can. Practice prolifically. Study the work of the masters, both past and present. You might never be a Mozart-level creative genius, but simply becoming better tomorrow than you are today is something worth aspiring to and celebrating.

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