Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sad song

Over at Daily Observations there was a thought provoking post about what pieces of music tug the heart strings.  I gave it some thought myself.  I had a hard time with the question because music and the emotions conjured are so context specific.  What moved me as an undergraduate at Iowa State University doesn't always move me now. 

After I learned I did really badly on the LSAT, Mozart's Posthorn Serenade grabbed me.  Listening to the piece today, I am no where close to breaking down in tears.  However, ten years ago it moved me.  Knowing that there is potentially an infinite number of pieces which could move me, I offer the following as a start, but not an end.  Only two of the five are oldies that I am unable to dislodge from my brain.  The other three have each recently impacted me.

  1. D. Shostakovich Trio No.2 Op.67:  Its a lamentation on the death of a friend and the Holocaust.  I heard when I first started listening to classical music and its stuck with me ever since.

  2. G. Enescu Piano Sonata No.1 Op.24:  I heard bits of this piece a few months ago, and was moved profoundly.  For this, context was everything.  The Seattle Symphony was having their Eastern European music festival and a frail, older pianist who had known Enescu came to talk about his music and perform some of his piano music.  Her devotion to Enescu won me over and when I hear the piece I can't help but imagine her spiritied Enescu evangelizing.

  3. O. Golijov The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind: We used movements of this piece to mark a memorial at my place of work.  Hebraic themes always get me.

  4. G. Mahler Symphony No. 3 Sehr langsam. Misterioso: Mahler routinely touches me.  This movement is the most recent. 

  5. W.A. Mozart Requiem:  This piece was theoretically moving.  It wasn't until last year I heard it performed as part of an All Soul's Day Mass that it really moved me.      

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Richard said...

I've attended two Mahler 6 concerts with the Chicago Symphony in the last three months. With or without the third hammer blow, the final movement brings me to tears. In college, it was the second movement of Beethoven 7; the turbulence seemed to reflect something in my soul. (This was before coming out!)

Z. Carstensen said...

That's a lot of "Tragic" Mahler in the last month. Nevertheless, Mahler is always a sure bet to conjure something deep down inside.