You'll have a good, secure life when being alive means more to you than security, love more than money, your freedom more than public or partisan opinion, when the mood of Beethoven's or Bach's music becomes the mood of your whole life … when your thinking is in harmony, and no longer in conflict, with your feelings … when you let yourself be guided by the thoughts of great sages and no longer by the crimes of great warriors … when you pay the men and women who teach your children better than the politicians; when truths inspire you and empty formulas repel you; when you communicate with your fellow workers in foreign countries directly, and no longer through diplomats...
I do strongly feel that among the greatest pieces of luck for high achievement is ordeal. Certain great artists can make out without it, Titian and others, but mostly you need ordeal. My idea is this: the artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he's in business: Beethoven's deafness, Goya's deafness, Milton's blindness, that kind of thing.
Consciousness is our gateway to experience: It enables us to recognize Van Gogh’s starry skies, be enraptured by Beethoven’s Fifth, and stand in awe of a snowcapped mountain. Yet consciousness is subjective, personal, and famously difficult to examine.
Beethoven said that it's better to hit the wrong note confidently, than hit the right note unconfidently. Never be afraid to be wrong or to embarrass yourself; we are all students in this life, and there is always something more to learn.
I did put on the record player, the love symphony of Beethoven wafted in the air. You and I made love,last February on that amazing Sunday afternoon. And the neighbor's dog barked madly every time our bed creaked from all the gyrations that you and I could outmaneuver in our frenzy of wanting each other's body and soul!
I remembered that Beethoven's symphonies had sometimes been given names... they should have call [the Fifth] the Vampire, because it simply refused to lie down and die.
A deaf composer's like a cook who's lost his sense of taste. A frog that's lost its webbed feet. A truck driver with his license revoked. That would throw anybody for a loop, don't you think? But Beethoven didn't let it get to him. Sure, he must have been a little depressed at first, but he didn't let misfortune get him down. It was like, Problem? What problem? He composed more than ever and came up with better music than anything he'd ever written. I really admire the guy. Like this Archduke Trio--he was nearly deaf when he wrote it, can you believe it? What I'm trying to say is, it must be tough on you not being able to read, but it's not the end of the world. You might not be able to read, but there are things only you can do. That's what you gotta focus on--your strengths. Like being able to talk with the stone.
Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.
At a certain place in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, for example, he might feel that he is floating above the earth in a starry dome, with the dream of immortality in his heart; all the stars seem to glimmer around him, and the earth seems to sink ever deeper downwards.
Modern man is full of platitudes about living life to its fullest, with catchy keychain phrases and little plaques for kitchen walls. But if you've never retreated to the solitude of a dark room and listened to Beethoven's Ninth from start to finish, you know nothing. For music is a transcendental exploration of human emotion and experience, the very fabric of life in its purest form. And the Ninth our greatest musical achievement.
He supposed that, except musicians, every one thought Beethoven a bore, as every one except mathematicians thought mathematics a bore.
No; look out for the part where you think you have done with the goblins and they come back,' breathed Helen, as the music started with a goblin walking quietly over the universe, from end to end.
Beethoven introduced us to anger. Haydn taught us capriciousness, Rachmaninoff melancholy. Wagner was demonic. Bach was pious. Schumann was mad, and because his genius was able to record his fight for sanity, we heard what isolation and the edge of lunacy sounded like. Liszt was lusty and vigorous and insisted that we confront his overwhelming sexuality as well as our own. Chopin was a poet, and without him we never would have understood what night was, what perfume was, what romance was.
I should think that to hear such lovely music as that would really make him feel better.The lady gave a discriminating smile. “I am afraid there are moments in life when even Beethoven has nothing to say to us. We must admit, however, that they are our worst moments.
Three miles from my adopted city lies a village where I came to peace.The world there was a calm place, even the great Danube no more than a pale ribbon tossed onto the landscapeby a girl’s careless hand. Into this stillness I had been ordered to recover. The hills were gold with late summer;my rooms were two, plus a small kitchen, situated upstairs in the back of a cottage at the end of the Herrengasse. From my window I could see onto the courtyard where a linden tree twined skyward — leafy umbilicus canted toward light, warped in the very act of yearning —and I would feed on the sun as if that alone would dismantle the silence around me.At first I raged. Then music raged in me, rising so swiftly I could not write quickly enough to ease the roiling. I would stop to light a lamp, and whatever I’d missed — larks flying to nest, church bells, the shepherd’s home-toward-evening song — rushed in, and Iwould rage again. I am by nature a conflagration; I would rather leap than sit and be looked at.So when my proud city spread her gypsy skirts, I reentered, burning towards her greater, constant light.Call me rough, ill-tempered, slovenly— I tell you, every tenderness I have ever known has been nothing but thwarted violence, an ache so permanent and deep, the lightest touch awakens it. . . . It is impossible to care enough. I have returned with a second Symphony and 15 Piano Variationswhich I’ve named Prometheus,after the rogue Titan, the half-a-god who knew the worst sin is to take what cannot be given back.I smile and bow, and the world is loud. And though I dare not lean in to shout Can’t you see that I’m deaf? —I also cannot stop listening.
Through this evening of sentences cut short because their completed meaning was always sorrow, of normal life dissolved to tears, the chords of Beethoven sounded serenely.
Don’t say you don’t have enough time or enough money to change the world. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Gandhi, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci and Jesus Christ.
It was the quartets of Beethoven (numbers 12,13,14, and 15) which over fifty years, created and expanded the the audience of listeners to the quartets of Beethoven, thus achieving, as all masterpieces do, progress if not in the quality of artists, at least in the company of minds, which is largely composed these days of what was missing when the work appeared: people capable of liking it.