I realize it’s common knowledge that Beethoven had lost his hearing and still continued to compose his greatest works until the end of his life. However, as I’m taking a wonderful music history class this summer, I was doing a concert assignment through the night and early this morning and that awareness struck me in an entirely new way.
For my report, I’ve been listening through this stunning performance by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony of Beethoven’s 9th. Of course, we are all familiar the Ode to Joy – and, if you were raised Baptist/Methodist/Presbyterian, you, like me, can probably sing “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” in your sleep (and I love it forever). Still, there is nothing like hearing it in context, as one total work, the way Beethoven intended.
And, y’all, this performance is powerful.
I only needed to watch it through once. I’ve just been letting it play on a loop as I work because I am enamored with it.
That said, as I was writing about it and listening, the point TRULY hit me – Beethoven created this majestic piece for all of us – and could. not. hear. it. He even wanted to be on the stage to conduct (with someone else as well) for the first performance of it – but had to be turned around for the ovation – because he couldn’t even hear the audience going absolutely wild.
The thought of this just stuns me.
Of his inability to hear, he wrote, “I must confess that I lead a miserable life. For almost two years, I have ceased to attend any social functions, just because I find it impossible to say to people, ‘I am deaf.’ If I had any other profession, I might be able to cope with my infirmity; but in my profession, it is a terrible handicap.” Just heartbreaking.
There is no rhyme or reason to the suffering of this life.
Why arguably the greatest composer who ever lived would lose his hearing just defies any explanation.
Still, I am in awe of his ability to carry on with his calling and his purpose to the very end of his life despite such an incredible obstacle.
The creative spirit is truly a wonder.
May we always create and learn and grow. ❤
Be well, everybody. Take care of yourselves and each other.
Grace and Blessings.