Is time travel possible?
The photo above shows my great grandparents, Mileva Einstein and her husband, Albert Einstein, newly married. They met in the autumn of 1896 at the Federal Polytechnic Institute, a University in Zurich, Switzerland, where they studied physics and mathematics together in the same class. Both of them came from cities on the great Danube river, which flows through Vienna, where Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn worked. Albert and Mileva were fine amateur musicians.
Now, here are some photos of a book about Mileva and Albert Einstein's son, Hans Albert Einstein, who was my grandfather. He loved to play the piano, and he loved to play Mozart, Bach and Schubert. Naturally, he had made music with his father, Albert, who loved to play Mozart Sonatas for violin and piano.
Inside, there is a photo of me at the age of about 13 or 14, playing Mozart Sonatas on the violin with my grandfather, Hans Albert, at the piano. This was in northern Califonia, where Hans Albert was on the faculty at the University of California. Hans Albert Einstein was a professor of Hydraulic Engineering at University of California Berkeley. He was one of the leading engineers in his field, in the USA and in the world. He was a scientist, but he also had a great love for classical music, and he played music with accomplished professional musicians in his area every week, as part of his schedule. Albert Einstein and his wife, Mileva, wanted their children to have an education in classical music. They felt that it was very important. And so, Hans Albert and his younger brother Edouard became excellent pianists.
Hans Albert and I followed the family tradition and played chamber music together, especially the music of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and Schubert. For instance, we played the Mozart E Minor violin Sonata many, many times and also the Sonata No. 6 K 301. These were Albert Einstein's favorite Mozart violin sonatas. He thought they were particularly beautiful. As a boy, I had no idea that the two Mozart sonatas mentioned above were favorites of Hans Albert's father. My grandfather had played them many times with his own father, Albert Einstein. Hans Albert was a genial person, but spoke very little. He was outwardly calm. He had a keen and fiery temperament. I do remember though, that when we played these pieces together, he smiled quietly to himself. Perhaps, he was travelling back in time? Poetically speaking, classical music is a passport taking us back to the moment Mozart, or any composer, first conceived a lyrical thought. Of course, Hans Albert LOVED to play chamber music. And so, anyway, here is a photo of my grandfather teaching me to play Mozart: