Mozart’s Piano Concerto Number 21

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Painting by Alex Katsenelson

“You have to listen to Mozart’s Piano Concerto Number 21, part 2.” Those were my father’s words. He just heard it on the radio and could not wait to tell me about it. This was over twenty-five years ago, but I still remember this moment as though it were today. I could hear the excitement in his voice and see the glow on his usually placid face. I went to the store, bought the tape (this was a long time ago), and suddenly I could relate to his excitement. It was music out of this world.

This is what is amazing about classical music. Mozart wrote this concerto in 1786. My father (and then I) heard it in 1993, 207 years (eight generations) later. And today, almost 25 years (a generation) later, 231 years after it was originally composed, I am writing about it to you, my dear reader, as if it was composed just yesterday.

I’ll play this concerto to my kids in the car today when I drive them to school, and their lives will get a bit brighter thanks to this amazing music. I cannot really put my finger on it, but there is something magical about the ability of classical music to slip into our lives and leave its mark on them. As I think about my relationship with my father, to us classical music is what sports may be to other fathers and sons – a point of connection. My father and I sit together in front of Youtube and listen to classical music for hours.

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Vladimir Ashkenazy

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