(17) Chapter 9.

After a musical evening, Perdita tells her brother Lionel that he cannot understand what woman’s love is.

“An Horizontal Grand Piano-Forte” from Rudolf Ackmann’s Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, &c., Third Series, July 1826; via Internet Archive

More than any other, Mozart’s music possessed the transcendent attribute of appearing to come from the heart; you entered into the passions he expressed, and were transported with grief, joy, anger, or confusion, as he, our soul’s master, had chosen to inspire. That night at Windsor, the spirit of hilarity was kept up for some time; but, at length, Perdita slipped away from the piano.

I’ve reached out to a pair of music professionals I know to serve as guest DJs for this installment. Many thanks to Darrin Britting and Lynne Mazza for the tracks that follow—I asked them to recommend the crème de la crème and they’ve delivered.

Raymond had just joined in the trio of Don Giovanni’s “Taci ingiusto core.”

Seduced, abandoned, and vengeful, a noblewoman standing at a hotel window is unexpectedly serenaded by Don Giovanni, the irresistible scoundrel she cannot forget. Effortlessly, from the darkened garden below, he charms and lures her away to an assignation—but she’s been tricked again. The Don only wants her out of the way so he can seduce her maid; his near-identical servant is the one in the garden, wearing his cape.

Mary Shelley explains this next one herself:

Idris sang next, at the harp, “Porgi, amor, qualche ristoro,” that passionate and sorrowful lament by the Marriage of Figaro’s deserted Countess over the ruin of her marriage to the faithless Almaviva. Tender sorrow’s very soul was breathed forth in this aria.

Here’s a gem from the incomparable collection of The Morgan Library in New York–an aria from La Nozze de Figaro in the composer’s own hand:

As a bonus treat, here’s a personal favorite: American soprano Eleanor Steber in fantastic form with another Mozart aria, this time sung in English:

And finally, here’s the write-up on the piano featured up top:

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