Harpsicord amongst the cannons

For as long as I can remember, one of the deepest connections I have been able to make with my soul is through music – particularly in making my own music on my piano. I have never learnt to play a whole Sonata, but I have it in mind to one day learn Mozart’s K331 which climaxes with the emotional Rondo Alla Turca. Now my history is not great but this piece has to do with a Turkish Invasion of Vienna and represents the triumphant march of the conquerors into the city,
I was making an effor to play this piece last night, frustrated by my lack of technical ability and consistent practice. But I did get a sense in my soul of the strength of emotion it contained.
It put me in mind of a radio interview I heard while driving around Adelaide almost exactly two years ago. The program was Margaret Throsby’s interview with Professor Richard Langhorne (Director of the Center for Global Change and Governance at Rutgers University). The interview itself was fascinating, but Throsby asks each guest to bring a selection of their favourite music. One of Langhorne’s was a 1941 recording of Wanda Landowska playing Scarlatti’s Sonata in D, Kk490 (L206) on harpsichord in Paris as the Nazis were laying siege to the city.
In the recording you can clearly hear the sound of artillery fire getting closer as the performance proceeds. And, as Throsby noted at the conclusion of the track, you could sense Landoswka’s Jewish defiance increasing as the sound of the cannon fire increased. In just that it was a moving performance – reminded to me by Mozart’s rendition of an invasion.
Not for one moment does chriscurnow.com want to glorify or romanticise war. However, in the midst of human suffering it is well to be reminded by the resiliance of the human spirit.
PS, The recording is available as Pearl GEMS 0106. I found it available and ordered it last night from The Compact Disc Club @ The Woods.

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