Perhaps you know Felix Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony?
(go on…play it as you read…)
This 1st movement is the soundtrack of my life.
Mendelssohn wrote it to be played Allegro vivace (trans: very fast!), but somedays I think he wrote it with me in mind.I hear this movement sometimes when I drive, sometimes when I run from my office to class, but most often when I am running behind. The tune accompanies me ferociously playing as I race through stores, run through the long parking lot to the Southeast Train Station, or bob-and-weave through numerous major airports, thus proving that the 19th Century Mendelssohn is still mobile.
The symphony is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani and strings. That is at least 15 orchestra instruments, and there are days I am not surprised that I am carrying so many different winds and horns in my head.
The San Francisco Symphony notes from a program claim that, “the Italian Symphony is extroverted from the outset, when violins launch the vigorous first theme over the propulsive repeated notes of the woodwinds.” Having the feeling to propel (Propulsive) is how I feel, hearing the melody as I am propelled to write for a deadline, propelled to grade for a deadline, or propelled and cook on a deadline. All deadlines propel people; my deadlines have a German composer attached.
The past week the noise of the soundtrack in my brain has softened a bit. Perhaps this is because the symphony was written to capture Mendelssohn’s impressions of the sunny Mediterranean, “to capture the vitality of the art and landscape he had encountered.”
Summer absorbs some of the allegro vivace of my life, letting me pause every now and then to enjoy the sun and blue skies, just the way Mendelssohn wanted me to enjoy.