Anyhow, May the Wind Be Gentle

I may be the very last one to recognize the genius in Mozart offhandedly giving his most beautiful song to two sincerely anxious fiancées and to one smug, insincere joker, who, remember, finishes his song with a wink and a cheery “what a good actor I am!”

It’s easy enough to say that the presence of the joker means the song sends up our pretensions of perfect beauty: there’s always going to be a stain, a broken crank, a monster. Forgetting that, we imagine, is being complicit with happiness and the status quo more generally. The habits of critique.

I prefer to think it means this, though: regardless of our stupid plans, regardless of our own stupid psyche and tics, we still might end up doing something wonderful. We won’t always know we did it, but we might do it anyway. There’s beauty here despite our efforts. And not always beauty.

Soave sia il vento,
Tranquilla sia l’onda,
Ed ogni elemento
Benigno risponda
Ai nostri {vostri) desir.

[May the wind be gentle,
may the wave(s) be calm,
and may every one of the elements
warmly fulfil our (your) wishes.]

(translation from here)

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