Beethoven's 250th Anniversary
By Seth Escalante
Written: 17th December, 2020
It has been 250 years since Beethoven was born. He changed the history of music drastically while facing the worst adversity a musician can be faced with, being deaf.
It was without a doubt that after learning about Beethoven in school, his life story was the inspiration for me choosing a career in music. I have always admired the perseverance of mankind, as the perseverance of one individual can change the world and that's what Beethoven did.
There are different historical eras of music that show us its evolution. There was the Renaissance Era (1400 - 1600) which means 'the rebirth.' After that was the famous Baroque period (1600 - 1750) which had very prominent characteristics such as counterpoint, the bass continuo, the baroque orchestras, and very embellished melodies.
Then came the era that coined the term Classical Music; this era was called the Classical Era (1750 - 1830). In this period of time we were introduced to the legends such as Mozart, Haydn and Schubert. Each era so far transitioned for many factors such as the evolving instruments, the availability of musical performances and the growing technology of printed music.
However... coming down to the end of the Classical Era, Beethoven emerged. He was a driving force for his entire life. There was nothing that could have stopped Beethoven from changing music forever. Not even deafness. While all the eras so far had a slow and steady transition including many factors, the transition from the Classical Era to the Romantic era was the fault of an unstoppable force, Ludwig Van Beethoven. He pushed music to the barriers until he broke through to a new era of music that we now call, The Romantic Era of music (1830 - 1920).
When he lost his hearing, he started to have suicidal thoughts as he was recommended to spend some time in a quiet village. His letters of suicide are available to view today. He eventually left the village and went on to complete a total of 9 ground breaking symphonies, challenging all the rules and formats of music and creating trends such as symphonies that are an hour long that demands your attention for every second. Unfortunately, Beethoven could not escape from 'the curse of the 9th symphony'.
He lived a life battling with something that we may never understand. He would get in huge arguments and write his apology letters to those he argued with at the end of the day. He walked around with a book that his friends had to write in for him to communicate. He was known for taking long, solitary walks through the woods surrounding the city of Vienna, Austria.
"When a violinist complained about the music being too hard, Beethoven said "Do you think i give a damn about you and your pathetic violin?"
- He made music without regard to complexity.
"To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion in inexcusable!"
- He understood music
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."
"Music is the mediator between the spirtual and the sensual life"
- He knew music was spiritual.
For someone who created such beautiful sounds for our grateful ears to hear but could not hear it yourself, I know now you are surrounded by beautiful divine music