According to my handmade blog calendar, there are 31 days in April! So good morning to you all and thank you for visiting Rainne’s Ramblings on this ‘extra’ April day.
Patty and I have chosen this Essay, from the Authors, They’re Only Human column
by author Lynda McKinney Lambert
When I Begin my Day with Mozart
Lynda McKinney Lambert
I put the morning coffee on to brew, reach for a CD of Mozart’s Violin Sonata in B-flat, carefully placing it in the CD player in the kitchen, and push the Play button. The soft and slow opening lines of the Largo-Allegro begin as I listen. A piano and a violin are filling my kitchen with sounds from centuries ago. I close my eyes and listen awhile before I continue writing my essay. There is something about Mozart’s music that makes me stop whatever I am doing; it takes me back in time. But it’s not the time in the 18th century when the music was first performed for a royal audience. It is my own time at the end of the 20th century when the music of Mozart became a core element in my own life. Thoughts of listening to this music flood my mind on the chilly November day, and those musings create layers of memories.
As the days and years come to mind, I remember Austria when it was Mozart and me.
Mozart’s first performance of his original composition was April 29, 1784 in Vienna; Emperor Joseph II was in the audience. As Mozart played the piano, the emperor made a discovery. Mozart was playing from memory, for he did not have time to write the composition out on paper. The pages in front of him were blank!
My first trip to Europe in 1991 was a gift I gave myself to celebrate the completion of my MFA degree at West Virginia University. I arrived in Salzburg, Austria at the beginning of July, just in time to join in the celebration festivities for the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death. My month–long visit was filled with special art exhibitions in palaces and museums, all focused on Mozart. Mozart’s life and his music surrounded me everywhere I went. I attended concerts and special exhibits during my month–long vacation. Now I was hooked on Mozart!
I came to Austria as a participant in a drawing class, and I created an entire body of work on the theme of Mozart’s death and his music. I created art and wrote in a journal as I travelled.
Ten years later, my poems and reflections from that summer trip were part of a series of poems and drawings that appeared in my book Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage.
During that first visit, I made an intention for my own life while I visited this city. I fell in love with Austria, the culture of art and music of the people I met, and the music of the masterful composers who lived in Austria over the centuries. I intended to order my life in such a way that I would spend my summers there every year. I had no idea how that would happen, or if it could happen, but I knew that would be the life I would choose to live.
Five years after my first visit to Salzburg, I accepted a tenure−track position to be a professor of fine arts and humanities at a private college in western Pennsylvania. I quickly realized there was no study program at the college that provided students with the opportunity to study in Austria or Germany. During my first year of teaching at the college, I proposed creating such a course. The following year, I was back in the city I love, with students of my own. This was the first of many years that I would have the joy of bringing students to Austria every summer, where I taught “Drawing and Writing in Salzburg.”
During this course, we worked in a studio in a small village in the Alps, Monday through Thursday mornings. Most days, we met early in the morning and then travelled somewhere in the area to draw and write from the different places we explored. It was a dream that became my reality. I had the joy of sharing this magnificent country with my students every summer for a month-long sojourn. On our weekends, we travelled together to Germany, the Czech Republic, and Italy. We climbed mountains and locked our arms together as we skipped down steep mountain paths. We kept journals, wrote about cultural experiences, made drawings and paintings in the streets and along the breath-taking mountain paths. Students attended concerts and shopped and trekked through the new places we found.
Gradually, I began to realize that the seeds of what we love become the life we live when we set our intentions in that direction. I wanted to create a life where I could spend summers in Austria. I had set the dream I embraced into motion. My dream would become my life journey at a later time.
Now, sitting here in my office typing up this essay, I listen closely as the final piece of music comes to a conclusion. The piano and the violin have been playing together as I write.
Note: If you would like to enjoy this lovely work of art by Mozart, you can listen to it here:
The violin sonata plays on, and I listen to the rapid notes of the piano moving playfully through the house in what seems like a race with the violin. I can envision a spring afternoon and the violin and piano romping in the sunshine, chasing each other about on the lawn. At times it sounds like the piano takes the lead, yet, this is not the case. The violin weaves through the many notes, and in the end, they are one. I listen as applause breaks out immediately as the piano and violin strike the final note together.
This day will take me on other journeys as I walk my dogs, care for my cats, take my husband to the hospital for a check-up, and edit this essay tonight. At special moments throughout my day, I just might hear a few bars of Mozart’s Violin Sonata in B–flat. I hope so!
Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems
© 2017 by Lynda McKinney Lambert
Pennsylvania artist, teacher, and author Lynda McKinney Lambert invites readers into her world of profound sight loss to discover the subtle nuances and beauty of a physical and spiritual world. She takes strands from ancient mythology, history, and contemporary life and weaves a richly textured new fabric using images that are seen and unseen as she takes us on a year-long journey through the seasons.
All stories in this book were created after her sudden sight loss in 2007 from Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. Lambert invites us to see the world with new eyes.