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Lazer / 11/07/2020

Secret devotion: the career of musician Albert Einstein

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Secret devotion: the career of musician Albert Einstein


Article translated by the website Universo Racionalista and originally published on the website CMUSE

“Nature continues to shine in eternal beauty and is so happy with someone's precarious existence that the human dilemma is forgotten. One feels reduced to the level of an innocent animal. I dare to hope that you share this feeling? Does music still belong to that untouchable sphere? I believe so, as long as we are not professional musicians. ”

- a letter to the Queen of Belgium, in January 1952.

If Albert Einstein had died in 1905 after publishing his first work on relativity, he would have been only 26 years old - but he would still have completed an impressive job more than enough for a lifetime. Several of the greatest composers in music history died before the age of 30, and what they all have in common with Einstein is that they lived remarkable lives and left visible legacies behind while they were still young.

But we all know that Einstein did not stop at 30. He continued to refine his theory, to work as an educator, to assume a public role as an activist, to raise two sons and a daughter - to live the complex kind of life that we all live. And part of that invisible legacy, part of that complex life, was his love for music. It may not be important to the story, but the story has a mercenary pattern of importance. It was important to Einstein, and that is enough. Check here, some curiosities and facts of the life and career of the musician Albert Einstein.

His mother was the family musician

Pauline Koch Einstein was a consummate pianist in her own right, and taught Einstein to play the piano and violin when he was very young. Initially he showed more aptitude for the piano, but when he became a teenager he developed more interest in the violin.

He loved Mozart's violin sonatas

Over the past ten years, physicist and historian of science Brian Foster has brought new critical attention to the profound influence that Mozart's violin sonatas had on Einstein's life. Mozart's work, wrote Einstein, "was so pure that it seemed to be always present in the universe, waiting to be discovered by the master". In that respect, he saw Mozart as a kind of musical physicist - someone who seemed to find his own sound in the most cosmic essence of harmony.

He deeply admired Bach and Beethoven, but he never cared about Wagner or Debussy

In 1955, Reader's Digest's Jerome Weidman visited Albert Einstein hoping to conduct an interview and found that Einstein was curious - and completely determined to expand - his own musical tastes, playing records for him in his private study and encouraging him to sing along . If you want to check out the full interview, click here.

"I have to say," Einstein declared in a different interview, "about Bach's works: listen, touch, love, revere - and keep your mouth shut."

But Einstein did not love all music. “I admire Wagner's inventiveness,” he admitted, “but I see his lack of architectural structure as decay. Furthermore, for me, his musical personality is indescribably offensive, so that, for the most part, I can only hear him with disgust ”. About Debussy, he wrote in a 1939 questionnaire: “I feel that Debussy is delicately colored, but shows a poverty of structure. I cannot work with great enthusiasm listening to something like that. ”

He credited his violin, nicknamed Lina, with most of the joy in his life

This is not an exaggeration. "I know that the greatest joy in my life came to me my violin," he said as an old man - with a certain amount of homesickness, because at that point he had lost the ability to play his violin with satisfaction due to decreased motor coordination in your left hand.

He often played classical music with a brainstorming technique

“As a child”, Einstein's second wife, Elsa, commented: “I fell in love with Albert because he played Mozart so beautifully on the violin. He also plays the piano. Music helps you when you think about your theories. He goes to his office, comes back, plays some chords on the piano, writes something on paper and returns to his study. ”

Although there is no known record of his performances, he enjoyed playing in public

Two years ago, an alleged audio recording of a rare performance by Albert Einstein - Mozart's Violin Sonata in Si - began to run online. In fact, the performance outside of his friend Carl Flesch. But Einstein has performed in public many times, and his efforts have generally been well received. "There are many musicians with much better technique," said Einstein's doctor, János Flesch, with candor, "but none, I believe, who has played with more sincerity, depth and feeling than Einstein."

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