Bach and Mozart (3)

Both Mozart and Bach succeed because of their intense innate musicality. Both were geniuses beyond compare, and both were well-suited to the tastes of the time in which they lived. That I can play their music at all is a great gift to me.

But I am a writer, not a musician. I toyed with professions other than writing early in life. I trained as a dancer and actor. I took a BA in music. Professionally, I became a linguist in seven languages, and I earned a living and supported my family by spying. I retired as early as I could to be able to write full time. That turned out to have been a wise decision.

But through it all, I kept returning to playing the piano. It started when I taught myself to play because my family couldn’t afford music lessons for me. I eventually earned enough money from part-time jobs to buy my first piano, an ancient upright with some keys missing. Throughout my life, I’ve never gone for very long without working at the keyboard.

Bach and Mozart were always important to me, but it wasn’t until my maturity that they came to dominate my playing and listening. Had I lived two complete lives, I still wouldn’t be able to encompass the greatness of their music.

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