Listening to Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major mvnt two this morning, I was transported back two years to when I played the clarinet part in my Sixth form’s orchestra. Although I think this is an exceptionally beautiful piece of music, my reaction to it could not help but be ‘distorted’ by the experiences I associate with it. I use the word ‘distorted’, not to portray negative connotations of nostalgia, but rather to express how strong sense memory can be.
It is not just a case of remembering what was happening in your life at the time.. which you relate to the music (although of course that does have some influence) but rather how your senses help create a complete listening experience.
One cannot simply separate the present listening experience from the past.
I cannot help but re-experience the warmth or the room we rehearsed in… the musty teenage smell…the sound of my friend Izzy playing the flute part so beautifully.. the panic I felt as my difficult triplet passage crept nearer..
Could nostalgia be described as mental time travel? Maybe.