Music and Memory

I think about this topic quite a bit, probably because I think about music a lot. And that’s because I love music, in case that isn’t clear. When I was about 20 years old and spending summers with my dad in Plano, TX, I remember playing with a dinky little Casio keyboard. It had about 22 keys or so, and it also came pre-loaded with a few songs. One of them was a sped up version of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, the Andante movement specifically, often referred to as “Elvira Madigan.” At the time, I was not aware that it was Mozart, nor that it was a famous passage of music at all, but I did recognize its brilliance. I played it over and over, until I could pick out the melody and play it myself. It’s a simple but elegant piece, often considered the most beautiful passage of music in the world. That’s a highly subjective claim, but I’m hard pressed to disagree. Anyway, it wasn’t until years later that I realized it was Mozart, and that it was just one small part of a sublime concerto from one of the musical greats. The entire concerto remains one of my favorites, and I cannot listen to the Andante without tearing up a little, particularly a minute or two in when the main theme is played. I will weep instantly, but I have to wonder if it’s because of the sheer beauty of those piano notes, or because I miss my dad.

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