MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Happy Birthday, Beethoven!

Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler (1819)

Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler (1819)

He was an artist, but also a man, a man in every sense, in the highest sense. Because he shut himself off from the world, they called him hostile; and callous, because he shunned feelings. Oh, he who knows he is hardened does not flee! (It is the more delicate point that is most easily blunted, that bends or breaks.)

Excess of feeling avoids feelings. He fled the world because he did not find, in the whole compass of his loving nature, a weapon with which to resist it. He withdrew from his fellow men after he had given them everything and had received nothing in return. He remained alone because he found no second self. But until his death he preserved a human heart for all men, a father’s heart for his own people, the whole world.

Thus he was, thus he died, thus he will live for all time!

Oration by the playwright and poet Franz Grillparzer delivered on the occasion of Beethoven’s funeral on 29 March 1827

To mark the occasion of the day celebrated as Beethoven’s birthday, here’s an account of what may well be Beethoven’s greatest large-scale composition – and his greatest “opera” – in an account led by Leonard Bernstein with the Concertgebouw: the Missa solemnis.

Filed under: Beethoven

One Response - Comments are closed.

  1. DianaC says:

    Indeed, he was astonishing…He is my favorite composer and I shall always learn from the undying passion with which he kept going in spite of his deafness…

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