Friday, January 22, 2010

We take music much too seriously. Starting with the required "Practice!" and the required right notes in circumstances where good behavior is the only alternative, we find ourselves on a not-at-all slippery path to boredom --ultimately perhaps a dissertation, but not to musical exuberance.

I am fascinated by exuberance in music.

The other day I was discussing the natural horn with a total stranger at the Chamber Music America conference. This respectable-looking middle-aged man is a collector of horns and an avid amateur. He leapt instantly from talk of the horn to talk of drinking companions.

How likely do you think it is that some of Mozart's outrageous horn concertos were conceived in moments of drunken hilarity shared with his Salzburg pal Leitgeb?