I am gearing up for a little Front Yard Mozart! An old student who is home from college is joining me to play duets 6’ apart in my front yard. We’ll practice individually and then meet some evening when the weather is nice to play a short outdoor concert of violin and viola duets.
We are still planning our pieces but have definitely decided on the Duo in B-flat Major by Mozart. The music is marvelous obviously but I also love the story behind the piece and there is plentiful evidence to support the story. Sometime around 1787 Michael Haydn accepted a commission from the Archbishop of Salzburg to write six duos for violin and viola. Haydn wrote four but then became ill and was unable to finish the commission. The Archbishop threatened not to pay him for any of the pieces since the set was incomplete. Luckily, Mozart was visiting his father in Salzburg and heard about Haydn’s situation. He quickly wrote two duos, delivered them to Haydn and told him to send them off as his own works. Mozart helped Michael Haydn through a rough spot in an act of kindness and I like knowing that about him.
This pandemic has been a clarion call for me in some important ways. Truthfully, as an introvert, the social distancing is pretty easy, comfortable even, and that is not altogether a good thing. But I also value my community in a new way. It seems like everyone does. As my community’s tempo has slowed, its pulse has become stronger. Everyone seems happy to stop and chat for a while, we more meaningfully ask “how are you?” and are ready for a real answer. I see people sitting on their front lawns eager to greet neighbors and passersby. I know many, many people doing small acts of kindness every day. I know that my friendships are becoming more deeply rooted; that my acquaintances can become friends and strangers can become acquaintances.
So while I grieve for the terrible suffering across the world brought by this pandemic and acknowledge Oregon has been touched only lightly by it, I see the evidence of grace as some of humanity’s best instincts rise in response.
So, I’m going to have to get some (lots of) weeding done in the front flower beds and make sure the front lawn is mowed. And when Lucy and I play our front yard concert I hope my neighbors and strangers enjoy the sound of Mozart floating through their lives.
Mozart Duo No. 2 in B-flat Major performed by Arthur Grumiaux and Arrigo Pelliccia: