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Sunrise Clouds

The Miracle of Simple Happiness

Colin Fields


This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle; wonderful, inscrutable, magical, and more, to whosoever will think of it,” wrote sixteenth century playwright Thomas Dekker, whose appreciation for the simple gifts of everyday life is worth remembering:

To awaken each morning with a smile brightening my face;
to greet the day with reverence for the opportunities it contains;
to approach my work with a clean mind;
to hold ever before me, even in the doing of little things,
the ultimate purpose toward which I am working;
to meet men and women with laughter on my lips and love in my heart;
to be gentle, kind, and courteous through all the hours;
to approach the night with weariness that ever woos sleep
and the joy that comes from work well done -
this is how I desire to waste wisely my days.

Johann Nepomuk Hummel was known in eighteenth-century Weimar not only as a brilliant pianist and composer, but also as a happy and honest family man who loved the company of other people. Content to leave genius to his moodier contemporaries Beethoven and Goethe, he advised one of his students, "Your purpose is to touch the heart, to instill joy, to delight the ear.” His E-major trumpet concerto may not be the weightiest music ever written, but its cheerful flow of melody does all those things with the effortless happiness of a summer day.

Here the third movement is played with fitting effervescence by Wynton Marsalis.

The Picnic by Thomas Cole, 1846. View Larger Image
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