Thursday, May 27, 2004


I was just listening (for the zillionth time) to Mozart's Symphony no. 36; "Linzer", a masterpiece of sheer genius. I think that here, more than in any other of his compositions, you can feel that he has merely "found" the tunes which were floating about in the universe. The delivery is effortless, and flows like current through a true superconductor. You too just sit back, and make no effort to absorb this magnificent piece of work. It just percolates through your soul and mind. It is best, although very crudely, compared to a sumptuous Chinese meal. As someone said, you relish it so much that your heart warms to the action. After you are done, you get a feeling of saturation but still are left begging for more! Priceless!
Incidentally, this leads me to rethink about the comparison of Mozart with Beethoven. Although it is always meaningless to quibble over who was the greater of the two-both were certified geniuses-there are some comparisons I do think of. Once Einstein was asked who he thought was the greatest Classical composer and he replied that it was Mozart. The reply which he gave when asked why he thought so is arguably the only common thought I share with the great man! According to Einstein, Beethoven, no matter how great he is, CREATES his music. You can feel the enormous, almost fanatical and monomaniacal hard work he has put in when he created these great works. Mozart, on the other hand, seems merely to have FOUND his music, as if it were always an indivisible part of the Universe, and as if only he had the genius to communicate with it and bring it to the common masses. I have listened to both these masters for a long time, and somehow I can't help but agree with this interpretation. Symphony no. 36 is a perfect example of Mozart's almost magical ability to 'find' music which is literally 'in the air'! Testimony also comes from the genius himself, who claimed that he could actually observe tunes floating around in his head, waiting to be written down. Having said all this, I have read more references to Beethoven being quoted as being the greatest composer of all time. Of course, in a field like music, opinions are purely subjective. But one interpretation I can think of for this opinion, is that compared to Mozart, Beethoven's music has more of the common touch. Especially his famed Symphonies nos. 5 and 9, where you can feel that he wrote them for the common man. In a way, this is an even greater achievement; producing a piece which is both satisfying in the highest echelons of musical thought, as well as being completely intellegible to everyone and anyone. But then again, Beethoven's Late String Quartets are quite hard to appreciate at first hearing, and it has been certified by more than one music lover, that they lose their opacity only during the third or fourth hearing. So it sounds a bit paradoxical. Anyway, even though my personal favourite is Mozart, I equally like selected pieces of all the great masters, especially Beethoven, Bach and Handel. But ladies and gentlemen, let us, for a moment stop this appraisal of music and musicians, and fulfil the true wishes of those creators; let us forget everything else and drown ourselves in these musical spirits ! After all that is what they were intended for...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ashutosh, since you have been listening to these classical greats for a long time, could you point out to me some compositions that are suited to whistling. It would be great if you can email me at with some info.
Nice blog you've got here.


11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear, I cannot believe you believe in anything that old Einstein believed in.

As far as the Beethoven-Mozart debate goes, it is universally acknowledged that it is Beethoven.

Beethoven used his Genius to change the course of history in Art in general and Music in particular.

So many are indebted to Beethoven, he was a humanist, the world's, he belonged and still belongs to all. Which is less that can be said in the case of old Einstein who created the atomic bomb that killed and is going to kill millions.


5:47 PM  

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