I was around 16 years old at the time of my humanities moment. I had been playing the viola for 7 years. As usually occurred, I became bored with practicing the first movement of J.C. Bach’s Viola Concerto in C minor that my teacher had given me for an upcoming recital, so I decided to skip to the next movement. The second one was not one that my teacher ever assigned her students, so I hadn’t heard it before. After a somewhat cobbled together sight-reading attempt, I decided to look up a recording.

The song was hauntingly beautiful, filled with slow, elongated melodies and fast, anxious lines. I don’t know what Casadesus intended to communicate with it, but, for me, it was a song about grief. The slow passages are restrained emotion, how one might feel when they are trying to keep themselves from feeling their sadness. The piece then becomes more anxious, as if unable to stop from considering what’s going on. After the climax, it wanes, as if exhausted by the full cycle of the feeling. All of this was clear to me immediately upon listening.

The piece both changed the way that I played music, but also changed the way that I considered music in my life. It was what I turned to play immediately after the passing of a loved one. I played it in my senior recital. I have returned to it over and over ever since. It encouraged me to seek out musical moments in my life, and to consider the emotional and personal significance of humanities works.

– Megan Kitts (Ph.D. Student)