This week in tiny satisfactions

Memory of music can be such a weird thing. I was listening to one of Beethoven’s string quartets the other day (number 10, Op. 74) and in the second movement there is a shift from one chord to another that reminded me of a different little snippet of music, but all I could get at of what it reminded me of was that it was 1. from an opera and 2. about sadness and irreparable loss of something beautiful. The bit of Beethoven wasn’t sad and didn’t evoke a sense of loss, but this was definitely the emotional content of whatever it was it reminded me of. I sat there and cycled through possibilities – the emotional vibe was wrong for Mozart or Handel; it was something from the 19th century, but it wasn’t Verdi. Eventually I figured it out. It was a bit of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, most likely Marie’s “O welch ein Schmerz!” aria.

Now, if I only knew enough music theory to indicate what the chord/s were!