Slow Listening Saturdays: Bon Voyage

For today’s slow listening I picked a favorite piece of mine (pro tip: I will always pick my favorite pieces), the beautiful trio “Soave sia il vento” from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.  This recording is live and sublime, three dear friends on stage, one on the podium, and many in the orchestra making sweet music together. Check out what the violins are doing. It sounds so easy and smooth, right? There are probably eighteen people playing that undulating line. Think of how precise they have to be, but totally relaxed so that the sound stays gentle. Watch the singers breathing and pronouncing their words together – again, precise, but not tense. The musicians control everything but they hide that micromanagement from you so that all you hear is sweetness, the flowing sound of wind and water.

I was moved to choose this piece today because the opera seasons and school years are wrapping up. Many people are traveling to their summer gigs. Many students are graduating and moving to new cities, starting new adventures. I’m traveling to visit my family tomorrow, and my husband returns next week from a very long journey. So the words of this trio speak to me right now, and maybe they do for you too. Maybe you can share this trio with someone who will also find these words meaningful and moving. The singers sing this text in Italian; it’s a wish for safe travel and return. Here’s what the words mean in English:

May the wind be gentle, may the wave be tranquil.
And may every element respond kindly to our desires. 

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