Life is short, art eternal – Beethoven – The Man & the Artist as Revealed in His Own Words

Life is short, art eternal.

Beethoven in his Own Words

Love of Nature

How happy I am to be able to wander among bushes and herbs, under trees and over rocks; no man can love the country as I love it. Wood, trees and rocks send back the echo that man desires.

On His On Works

So I haven’t a single friend; I must live alone. But well I know that God is nearer to me than to the others of my art; I associate with Him without fear, I have always recognized and understood Him, and I have no fear for my music; — it can meet no evil fate. Those who understand it must become free from all the miseries that others drag with them.

Beethoven as Critic

Do not tear the laurel wreaths from the heads of Handel, Haydn and Mozart; they belong to them, — not yet to me.

Handel is the unattained master of all masters. Go and learn from him how to achieve vast effects with simple means.

Handel is the greatest composer that ever lived. I would uncover my head and kneel on his grave.

On His Disposition and Character

I love most the realm of the mind which, to me, is the highest of all spiritual and temporal monarchies.

I spend all my mornings with the muses; — and they bless me also in my walks.

Many a vigorous and unconsidered word drops from my mouth, for which reason I am considered mad.

On Suffering

It was impossible for me to say to others: speak louder; shout! for I am deaf. Ah! was it possible for me to proclaim a deficiency in that one sense which in my case ought to have been more perfect than in all others, which I had once possessed in greatest perfection, to a degree of perfection, indeed, which few of my profession have ever enjoyed?

My defective hearing appeared everywhere before me like a ghost; I fled from the presence of men, was obliged to appear to be a misanthrope although I am so little such.

On God

All things flowed clear and pure out of God. Though often darkly led to evil by passion, I returned, through penance and purification to the pure fountain, — to God, — and to your art. In this I was never impelled by selfishness; may it always be so. The trees bend low under the weight of fruit, the clouds descend when they are filled with salutary rains, and the benefactors of humanity are not puffed up by their wealth.

Just 106 pages long, this Dover publication contains fascinating insight into the mind of the greatest composer of all time, on everything from art to God and nature.  Excerpts are from Kerst and Krehbiel’s book,  Beethoven – the Man and the Artist, as Revealed in his Own Words

Never did my own music produce such an effect upon me; even now when I recall this work it still costs me a tear. (Referring to the Cavatina string quartet in B flat, Opus 130)

 

May 20, 2016

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

About the Author

Mylinh Shattan is a writer who has lived on three continents, served in the Army, worked in corporate America, and taught in college. She loves adventures, in the world and in the mind. Literature is relevant and learning is a lifelong pursuit, so you might as well have a bit of fun along the way.

Stay Up to Date

Become a better reader and writer today and try the TreeHouseLetter for free. Always learning with a bit of fun.

Latest Posts

Most Underused Punctuation Mark in American Writing*

Short take Writer's Toolbox Em-dash Book recs So says the lexicographer and usage genius Bryan Garner. My desk copy of the 4th edition of Garner's Modern English Usage states on page 750, "The em-dash is perhaps the most underused punctuation mark in American...

Books for Mothers and Daughters

Short Take, 2 min read Mother's Day Book recs, ages 9 to 99 AVAILABLE ON PODCAST CLICK HERE It's a gray day full of drizzle in Connecticut though it's not as cold as it has been. The yellow lilies in the porch planters are in full bloom and they remind me of my...

What Makes a Speech Great? An Admiral Tells 3 Stories

6 min read Writer’s Toolbox Public speaking AVAILABLE ON PODCAST HERE Admiral McRaven commemorates the 11th Anniversary of Operation Neptune's Spear What makes a speech great? There are a lot of good speeches and good speakers. But a great speech is one you remember....

Exercises in Style: a Writing Tribute

3 min read Book rec Writing Toolbox Wordplay Ages 9 to 99 AVAILABLE IN PODCAST HERE Titles begin with letters as human forms Narrative One day at about midday in the food line, behind the checkout of a more or less busy Costco, I observed a person with a very big...

1000 Push-ups? Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

6 min read Memoir rec Work-outs, push-ups and running AVAILABLE ON PODCAST CLICK HERE Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s the short take on Living with a SEAL*, 31 Days Training With the Toughest Man on the Planet. Jesse Itzler, the author, is fit by most...

Bedside Counselor on Parenting in Anger, in Two Translations

6 min read Book rec Prose for emergencies Writing feature AVAILABLE IN PODCAST, CLICK HERE For solace and for counsel, I have several books I find myself returning to again and again, and to this one, most recently, as my third child prepares to leave home.* For...

What I Learned Walking With a Friend

8 min read True Story Military service Road walking, trail notes AVAILABLE IN PODCAST - CLICK HERE Not 30 miles as the crow flies, that’s how far I was from my childhood home. It was gray and threatening rain, the time in spring that’s cool, tree buds just coming in,...

Topics

Become a better reader and writer today and try the TreeHouseLetter for free. Always learning with a bit of fun.