Listening to Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik is like taking a bubble bath in the sun. The effervescent Allegro is spirited and provocative with blithe valleys and frolicsome crests. It is perhaps the singularly most joyful piece of music I have ever heard.
I was raised on the Austrian composer’s work, this one in particular. My earliest childhood memory is of me dancing with my father to this “little serenade.” I remember hardwood floors and bare feet, the pale pink silk nightgown I loved so much with its matching robe, twirling, trying to catch up with my long, dark hair as it streamed behind me. When my father would pick me my feet would reach his knees.
Later, as a teen, I would steal this CD from my parent’s collection and listen to it on repeat as my heart played out its youthful angst. The second movement, Romanze: Andante, is always what stirred my adolescent soul the most. It is sweet yet a little solemn, like lovers walking the same path in a moonlit garden, but never in the same place at the same time.
The following Menuetto: Allegretto picks up the tempo again, stately but with a touch of prance. The fourth and final known movement, Rondo: Allegro, is almost back to the first’s playfulness, but not quite. There’s a maturity to it, a grandeur, that is not present in the opening’s notes.
This composition has played in the background of my life since I was a girl, and I’d like to think that it captures the essence of the human experience: the exuberance and bravado of youth, the bittersweet nature of love, the responsibility and unexpected joy of moving through adulthood, and the elegant jubilance of a full and well-lived life, l complete with laugh lines and silver.