Mozart’s music is so pure and beautiful that I see it as a reflection of the inner beauty of the Universe. Albert Einstein
In the Hindu framework, music (gána) is one of the several modes (márga) of experiencing the Divine. So one speaks of gána márga as a spiritual path. At its best, music is spiritual experience of a high order for it can provide us with an ecstasy that is as close to an inkling of the Divine as any. Even as the saints and seers of traditions guide us to religious insights and awakening, the great composers of the world have taken us to lofty experiential heights through their magnificent works.
One of the great composers – known even beyond his own cultural matrix – is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (born: 27 January 1756). The prolific works of this most remarkable creative genius are cast in every musical form and format. His more than 620 compositions included lively minuets, heart warming symphonies, operas serene and comic, concertos for different instruments, and more. He inherited his talents, at least partially, from his father Leopold Mozart who was a composer-violinist himself.
Like Sambandhar of the Tamil tradition, Mozart began composing when he was very young. His father thought it was a great idea to make a spectacle of his son’s extraordinary talents. The lad and his older sister Maria played the key-board and violin traveling from town to town, performing even at the royal court in Vienna. They went to Paris, Milan, London and Munich, displaying Mozart and his music.
Mozart became a member of the then growing Freemasonry movement. With inspiration from ancient Babylon and Egypt this secret society was sworn to symbols. Many of its early members were stone masons of medieval cathedrals.
Mozart lived at the Classical Period in Western cultural history, and he enriched its musical dimension immensely. This was the time when creative minds in art, poetry, and music were influenced as much by the majestic stature of ancient Greek architecture as by the order and symmetry in the laws of physics that were being discovered. Thus inspired, many lasting works emerged in poetry and art, science and music. There is something as aesthetically grand in the compositions of Mozart and Hayden as in a theorem of Euler, a poem by Schiller, or a law in Newtonian mechanics. They all have implicit in them an ideal perfection. In due course, there arose a rebellion against the sheer balance, order, and symmetry of it all. Old order changed, yielding place to something new.
Even with all the free abandon, unrhymed verses and unrestrained creativity of the Romantic era, the marvelous works of the classical period have continued to live and be loved, like the religions of our distant ancestors. Down to our own times, countless musicians have played Mozart’s many pieces, giving unadulterated joy to all who have had the opportunity to perform or listen to his immortal works.
There are so many jubilant movements in Mozart’s sonatas, symphonies and concertos, so many dancing fingers in his piano pieces, there is never a dull moment in any of his works. Those who haven’t listened to the Eine Kleine Nachtmusik or the motet Exultate Jubilate, haven’t hummed with Papageno, been thrilled by the Queen of the Night’s aria, or chuckled at Leporello’s litany of the rake Don Giovanni’s exploits in Spain and Italy and other places, have missed some of the most tickling musical delights available to human ears.
The notes and melodies that enter the creative mind of a gifted composer are like the majestic lines that flow through the pen of epic poets, or the theorems that light up a mathematician’s mind. As Karl Barth famously wrote, “We must certainly assume that the dear Lord had a special, direct contact with him (Mozart).” Even those who are skeptical about religious revelations will have to recognize something magnificent and mysterious in human creativity that seems to elude rational explanations. The creative geniuses of the human family have left works that form a true treasure-chest in humanity’s cultural legacy. So, on his two hundred and sixtieth birthday day, I honor the memory of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
We live in an age when great music can be heard right in our homes through many channels, including the You-tube. If you have never heard Mozart before, urge you to begin by accessing one of them, like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSL5-wxgvFY
January 27, 2016