Published May 22, 2011 in home

The idea started with a simple phrase, “I totally see you playing the Variations on “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman”…” I had a lunch meeting last year with Martin Duchesne, director of Disques XXI-21, at which he uttered those words and I was immediately brought back to my childhood.

Mozart is the reason why I became a musician. My first encounter with his music began with the Concerto in F major K.459 when I was just 9 years old, at which time I also learned the Rondo in D major as well as the Adagio in B minor featured on this disc. His music was so joyful yet innately accessible, so simple and yet so deep. I immediately felt drawn in and was forever hooked. I remember vividly on one occasion while rehearsing the concerto with a second piano, I had a vision of performing in a brightly lit big hall with orchestra. I could “feel” the energy and the audience surrounding me. Little did I know that this would soon become a reality and my life…

The following year, I learned the Concerto K.488 as well as the Sonata K.570. I consider these works to be the most dear to my heart. They always brought me good luck during important concerts and competitions. Speaking of competitions (CMC for the Canadians reading these notes), I heard countless renditions of Variations on “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman” that even though I never played them until now, I can surely attest I learned them by osmosis as a child!

It was also during my childhood, the movie “Amadeus” came out. I had forced my parents and any adult willing to accompany me to the movie theater to watch it over and over until I literally knew almost all of Tom Hulce’s lines! The piece that really struck a chord was the Requiem. When I finally read Liszt’s transcriptions of Confutatis and Lachrymosa, I was imagining the scene in which Mozart was dictating each part to Salieri. I felt as if I had already analyzed the counterpoint while watching the movie!

When I was just six weeks old, my parents hired a nanny while they both went to work. She was a good Catholic nun and she would bring me to mass every day of the week until I entered pre-school. It is during this time I heard numerous “Ave verum” while quietly drawing on the blank collection envelopes. I loved Mozart’s music so much that years later, I even decided to live in Salzburg to study at the Mozarteum.

The rest of the pieces on this disc are less familiar works that are quite elaborate and florid, more in the style of C.P.E. Bach. It is a pity these gems that are not performed enough. The spirited Klavierstück in G was newly discovered in 2009 and I could not resist to include it.

Psychologists say that events during your childhood form your character. Why do you think studies show that playing Mozart’s music to an infant is beneficial? Baby Einstein anyone? It was a privilege to have Mozart’s music accompany me throughout my formative years. It made me soar and showed me the power of dreams.

Lucille Chung

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