I hadn’t listened to Schubert’s Fifth Symphony in far too long, and I did today. I have a special relationship with that piece – or rather, it has one with me. It was one of the pieces I heard on recording from my first weeks out of the womb. I knew how it went before I could talk. And whenever I play it, I’m transported into feeling like I’m a child hearing music again, as something magical and captivating that I can’t figure out. It links me to a preverbal relationship with music, and reminds me, in a way unlike any other work, of how music must sound to people who can’t read it. There are other works that I was familiar with as early, such as Mozart’s D Minor Piano Concerto and his D Major Piano Sonata K. 576, but those I’ve analyzed many times with classes, and the spell has been broken. I have intentionally never cracked a score to Schubert’s Fifth. I can’t quite picture how it’s notated – I could figure it out, but don’t want to. There are even syncopations in the first movement where I’m not sure where the downbeat is. I hear that flute obligato joining the main theme and I’m instantly in another world, safe and secure, and nothing bad has ever happened. It’s an almost entirely right-brain experience (though there are still passages where I can’t keep the phrase “flat submediant” from leaping into my left brain). Someday before I die I want to open a score of the Schubert Fifth and break the spell, but I’m in no hurry. I feel like something about still having that experience intact helps keep me honest in my own composing.