Friday, February 17, 2006


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a prodigy; a peak in the history of music. He began to compose at age five and was publicly performing at six. He produced his first symphony before he turned nine and his first opera was written at twelve. By age thirteen he "had written concertos, sonatas, symphonies and operettas”." This genius had an "“uncanny aptitude", notes Grout, and his more than six hundred compositions have been called "a magic mirror"” in which was reflected every kind of contemporary Western music, "illumined by his own transcendent genius". Music critics use words such as godlike, preternatural, and miraculous to describe the works that flowed from Mozart's pen. For example ample, Robert Reilly remarks that his spontaneous gift for music "“flowed out of him in a profusion of incomparable melodies that it is hard to believe one human being could have produced. . . . Mozart's music has preternatural purity and perfection that somehow escaped the mark of original sin. It is both a sign of life before the Fall and a promise of Paradise.”" Unlike the great Franz Haydn, who had at times to pray for ideas as he was composing, "“one cannot imagine Mozart having to pray for musical ideas", remarks Grout; "they must always have been there, and he was able to transmute them into sound with a facility at once childlike and godlike. Given a satisfactory initial phase, the process of composition went on without hesitation or interruption to the end, in a perfectly logical if essentially mysterious flow. There is something miraculous about MozartÂ’s apparently effortless perfection." Though Mozart died in his thirty- sixth year, there is a sense of completion in his achievements. "It is hard to believe that there could have been more. The question as to why he died so young is always superceded by: How could he have existed at all? How could you ask more of a miracle?" These are extraordinary words from a serious music critic, and they cast no little light on the subject of the radiant form of the splendid.
Elegant music has indeed a privileged place in any discussion of radiant form and the evidential power of the beautiful and how they relate to our human pursuit of the divine.
(The Evidential Power of Beauty: Science and Theology Meet
By Thomas Dubay :60-62)

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