No Commentary Necessary — Mozart’s “Commendatore”

For some strange reason, my most vivid college memories almost always involve music — a fact that ceased to surprise me long ago, but one that I still find curious. And which my professors would probably find depressing. C’est la vie

A corollary to my peculiarly melodic style of recollection is that my roommate’s musical tastes had a tremendous impact on my college days. Case in point, my long-standing fascination with the Commendatore’s dramatic confrontation scene from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” We used to listen to that every couple of weeks — mostly at night, when it was particularly creepifying — and it made a profound impression on me, opera-Philistine though I was (and remain). It’s been seared into my memory ever since, even though it was years before I really understood what was going on in the scene. Or what the words meant.


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Watching that wonderful clip, I realize that listening to the musical banter is actually a markedly different experience than watching it. The voices blur together in a really interesting way when one is only listening, and that’s a difficult effect to duplicate visually. Great, great stuff. And just in case you’re not sold yet, YouTube is awash with versions: here, here, here, here, and here. Just to give you a taste.)

I’m not quite sure why this popped into my head this morning. It has nothing to do with my current work environment. Honest! (Also, the combined view counts of those clips is over 2.2M.)

UPDATE: Over on Facebook, Word on Fire’s Father Steve Grunow made a cinematic reference that sparked something in my memory, and I realized I’d neglected to post a frighteningly obvious Commendatore reference from Sherlock Holmes Duex: Something With Shadows or Something. What a missed opportunity. (For me. And for Ritchie.)

Attribution(s): “Don Giovanni Playbill Vienna Premiere 1788,” licensed under PD-US via Wikipedia

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About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, being amazed by his (currently) lone daughter, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.