The New York Philharmonic on Thursday, March 22.
What I love most about classical music (and by this I mean music of the classical period, roughly 1750 to 1820) is its irrepressible buoyancy. Composers then didn’t think of music as self-expression (that began in the romantic period that followed), so angst and pain rarely weigh down their compositions. Mozart, for example, wrote some of his loveliest, airiest pieces during some of the darkest times in his life.
I love tense, impassioned music as much as the next person, but there’s something very special about those bright classical works. To me, they express an unearthly sense of innocence. It’s as if the music is coming from a different plane, a world without suffering or trouble.
I went to Thursday’s concert feeling moody and glum. Work had been frustrating, the skies were grey, and Sean had to work late and couldn’t join me. Then the concert began—Haydn’s lilting “La Reine” symphony followed by one of Mozart’s piano concertos, with the glorious Mitsuko Uchida as soloist—and the music was so radiant and clean, so unaffected and blithe, that all those petty concerns evaporated. That’s the power of classical music.