M: Mozart and the Beauty of Simple Things

Mozart_at_Melk09

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) has gone down in musical history as a master composer, an art that he took up at the tender age of five. His greatest claim to fame, however, is that he was a “Master of Melody.” His melodies are simple, clear, and stunningly beautiful. Mozart knew better than to overcomplicate his music, and understood that there is powerful beauty in simplicity.

If you’ve ever caught yourself humming the tune to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, then you’ve encountered the power of a simple melody.   His twelve variations on this old children’s song, Ah vous dirai-je, Maman (K. 265/300e), is a perfect example of the masterful way Mozart could take something utterly simple and transform it into something absolutely exquisite.

Here is a video, so you can hear this for yourself:

12 Variations on Ah vous dirai-je, Maman – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

What can we learn from all this? That as artists, we can stop beating ourselves up for not coming up with something impressive enough to make the world stop and take notice. If we can help others see the beauty of life’s most simple things, then we can make a powerful difference in the world.

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Photo Credit:  Mozart at Melk Abbey,  Saverio dalla Rosa  (Public Domain)

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The Classics.jpg

This post was submitted as part of the A to Z Challenge, where participants agree to write an article that corresponds to each letter of the alphabet, posting every day of the month of April (except Sundays).

Here on The Artistic Christian,  my theme for the month is The Classics.  Each day I’ll examine a book, film, or work of art that has become a beloved classic and discuss what has made it such a success, and what eternal themes it contains that Christian artists can use as modern illustrations.

For daily reflections from my personal travels around the world, check out my companion blog, Everyday Musings, where my theme for April is Reflections From Around the World.

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18 thoughts on “M: Mozart and the Beauty of Simple Things

    1. So do I… in college there was a faculty piano recital. One professor was very flashy and played something extremely complex, while the other chose a simple piece by Bach but played it so musically that I’ve never forgotten the performance. I’ll choose the beauty of simplicity any day!

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  1. Agreed. The little things, when we observe them, make life worth living. That performance, however, is no little thing. The hours of practice little Ryan Wang must have put in are a great big thing. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, his wife probably would have thought so! Mozart’s wife was so angry that he devoted more time to music than to her, that she threw some of his manuscripts into a fireplace at one point. It was a rocky marriage… the price of genius, perhaps, although I’d like to believe he could have been successful and also have time for happy relationships…

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  2. I love this, and I love literature or film (or now music) that uses simple things as its subject. Big adventures and mysteries are fun too, but I love it when an artist can completely engage an audience with a story about taking a walk. Lawson Inada, Oregon’s former poet laureate, told a story about washing dishes that had me spell bound. That’s really all he said … just talked about washing dishes one night, but he made it beautiful and meaningful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, I’d love to read that poem! If you happen to remember its title, let me know! That’s one sign of a truly great artist, I think, to take something so ordinary and create something so memorable…

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