" People who read books in public places are regarded with suspicion because they appear self-sufficient. When you seem self-sufficient, other people think that you think you’re better than them, and they get resentful. "
Mozart, Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K. 310 (1778): 1. Allegro maestoso
Alicia de Larrocha (1979)
Strange to say, this is the only recording of K. 310 that makes total musical sense to me. One gets too caught up in the story of his mother’s death, the autumn in Paris coming on, the tragedy and heartache.
But what I can remember, listening to Larrocha, is that lengthy, almost diffident letter he wrote to his father, breaking the news about his mother’s death. He mentions it happened, in a short paragraph at the beginning — and then rambles on and on for pages about Cannabich and the Mannheim orchestra, the old tenor Anton Raaff, the follies of certain organists and impresarios, and his talentless student in Paris, who couldn’t write the littlest minuet, even after hours of prodding and prompting. And behind the letter you can imagine him wandering from room to room, circling around these ridiculous things, pointlessly holding to a sort of tact or studied grace — only occasionally returning to the one thing that’s keeping him from standing still.
Larrocha does the second movement even better, in the legato middle section. There’s no desperation here, only a sort of duty to keep going on. Not for anything (there’s nothing out there), but because of something else.