Beethoven - His Spiritual Development

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Read Books, Mar 1, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
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Since two people wrote reviews worthy of the village idiot and worth for the village idiot...
Let it be asserted now that this is one of the finest books about Beethoven ever written. Beethoven
's genius, oddly enough, centered around his deafness. He started to go deaf by age 26 and by age 40 he was completely deaf. This means he did not hear the musical notes so much as he envisioned the sound of the notes within his brain, within his mind. That's genius!
On page 42 Sullivan writes: "Few men have the capacity fully to realize suffering as one of the structural lines of human life." Having been raised on the Book of Job, the Life of Christ, Oedipus, Shakespeare's Hamlet and Lear--those words struck a resonance in me when I first read them in 1968--my junior year of college--and they have been struck with me my entire life.
We are told that Beethoven dismissed the notion that the opening bars of the 5th Symphony---da, da, da, dum--signified 'fate knocking at the door." And yet when the 5th Symphony became emblematic of Britain's fight against the Nazi Blitzkrieg--and by extension a war where fate takes this life, but not that life--then the Symphony does indeed speak to 'Fate knocking at the door"--whether Beethoven intended that programmatic reading becoming irrelevant. Why does an individual suffer any particular fate? And why this disastrous and specific fate? There is no answer to the question but the question is no less real for that. And the 5th Symphony addresses that question. And years later an entirely death Beethoven would write--Muss es sein? Es muss sein--for his profound last String Quartet No 16. And maybe the' Difficult Decision' Beethoven wrote about here is the decision to accept that Fate that knocks at the door.
There are many books about Beethoven, but this one will stand the test of time. Reviewed by Steven Torrey


User Review  - jay1941 -

Still have and refer back to certain chapters often. Read full review

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