Thursday, October 23, 2008

Late Beethoven

No one deserved it more than he did. No one fought harder, or more fiercely, or against greater odds.

No one saw as clearly that triumph is a demon. That fury sings. That beauty, at its heart, is an act of will.

No one learnt at greater cost how wild perfection is, how savage - how it destroys those who nurse it, must be tamed by brute force.

And yet, listening to these final works - these quartets with their voices that meditate on silence, these sonatas where the piano is an animal set free - is it possible not to envy him? Envy him neither his suffering nor his glory, but what lies beyond both - the knowledge that moves beneath these pieces, informs them, inspires them. The sure-footed intuition of a mind at peace.

We may never be old enough for this music. We may not live so long, or so intensely. But it comforts us to know such harmony is possible: a season of soft promises, of beauty both ripe and bare.

7 comments:

Musings of a wanderer said...

Yes there is a beauty in the hanging notes in silence of a piece from Beethoven. And clearly there is a beauty in the way you have put it here. Good one.

km said...

Lately I've been listening to his violin sonatas (well, not late period but the "onset of deafness" period..) and hot damn those sonatas always blow my mind.

Anonymous said...

You are not allowed to crush on Ludwig van. You simply are not. Such Hallmark like sentiments are reserved solely for yours truly, who wasted her teenage years fantasizing about being his helpmeet, when she could have been dating Ravishing Royston from Rebello Road. Or "being friendly with" the likes of Bradley, Elroy and Melroy from Stanislaus High School.

n!

Falstaff said...

musings: Thanks.

km: Ya, they're pretty awesome aren't they? What recording are you listening to?

n!: You're not seriously suggesting that giving up on 'being friendly with' some random losers from Stanislaus was a sacrifice, are you?

km said...

A lovely old recording featuring Pinchas Zukerman and Daniel Barenboim, recorded in 1972-73 (in Abbey Road Studios).

Falstaff said...

km: Nice. Don't miss the Piano Trio recordings from 1969-70 (also at Abbey Road) - featuring Zukerman, Barenboim and Du Pre.

km said...

Stop snooping around my house, Falstaff. That very CD is actually in the CD changer right now :)