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The New York Times asked fifteen important musicians and music critics to name the five minutes of Mozart they would play for a friend to make her fall in love with him. Who can be surprised that even though Mozart wrote a trillion tunes, two of the fifteen agreed those few minutes would be Soave sia il vento?

Extra credit: Listen to the end – starting at around 2:00 – of Met cellist Kari Docter’s interview.

UD discovered Soave in her restless quest to listen to everything Julia Lezhneva has performed, cuz longtime readers know UD is a Lezhneva fanatic. On first hearing it, UD concentrated on the unbelievable sweet piping clarity of JL’s voice (UD feels similarly about Kathleen Battle, another otherworldly singer), but UD quickly shifted to the threesome singing the song, and the way their voices wove this particular brief transcendence…

Bernard Haitink: [T]he trio “Soave sia il vento” is one of the most sublime things I know. The text is “May the winds be gentle, and the sea calm,” and you can almost feel the breezes gently blowing and the waves lapping in the violins as it starts. Such beauty, tenderness and longing, all in the space of just over two and a half minutes.

Mitsuko Uchida: The trio “Soave sia il vento” … brings tears to my eyes every time the strings start playing.

Okay, so we have the powerful testimony of quite a few people – throw in the writer Alexander McCall Smith (“Not only is this one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed, but the words are extraordinarily peaceful, generous and resolved. ‘On your voyage, may the winds be gentle; may the waves be calm; may all the elements respond to your desires…’ What more can we wish anyone setting off on life’s journey? I listen to this several times a day; I never tire of it. It is music suffused with the greatest possible sympathy and humanity. It expresses what I want to feel about the world. It is the deepest truth.”), and I’m sure there are many others. Can we suggest why this piece is so emotionally powerful and so surpassingly beautiful?

Well, UD will give it a go.

First, though, she will mow her back lawn. (She did the front an hour ago.) Ne quittez pas.

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2 Responses to “The higher you go, the less subjective is taste.”

  1. Ravi Narasimhan Says:

    “Mitsuko Uchidaha”? What would the Schoolmarm say?

  2. UD Says:

    WHoooops. Thanks.

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