Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Music box magic

After writing about Orli Shaham the other day and linking to the Mozart E Minor Violin Sonata I found myself thinking about music that sounds like a music box.

That is because the theme of the second movement of that sonata, it is haunting in that peculiar simple, bell-like, singsong way. The main theme of the movement sounds like that and so does the middle section.

Saying that something sounds like a music box can be a compliment. There is something poignant about music boxes. Not all! But some. That is why music boxes appear in movies and dramas, often about the supernatural.

Here is Pennario playing the Chopin B minor waltz, Op. Post., which can remind me of a music box.

Here is a rondo that always makes me think of a music box. It is Beethoven's "Tempest" Sonata. Wilhelm Kempff is playing it here -- beautifully, I think.

Kempff, you will notice in the notes to that video, was born in the town of Jueterbog, Germany. That is the town that lent its name to the jitterbug!

Joke, joke!

Rondos sometimes have that music box thing going on because of their repetitive, turning nature. The last movement from Mozart's A minor sonata is music-box-like.

Look, in that video whoever writes the notes even comments on the music's haunting quality.

It is not only me!


  1. What a delightful post! Kempff has a serene expression when he plays, though I've never seen a "music box" demand so much of it's player ;)

  2. Tuned Teeth, thank you for the comment! You are right about Kempff! He is so serene. I would imagine that is what makes his performance great. That Beethoven has to be so graceful and flowing. It is what gives the music that haunting quality.