Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Tragedy of Beethoven - a letter in 1802

This letter which he wrote to his brothers has been come to be known as the "Heiligenstadt Testament."
In it the full impact of coming deafness, probably first discerned by him in 1798, is given us.
In part, he thinks of the possibility of suicide, but understands the impact of his creative gift, and reasons his way back to the job he must do.
"How humiliating - I must live in exile. When someone stands next to me and hears a flute, and I hear nothing - only my art holds me back from ending my life."
And the letter goes on, demonstrating that suicide is not a choice; as these incredible gifts are so rare, that there is a job to do.
This defining document, therefore, describes the first battle in a life-long war which the fabled composer wins, as is proven by the legacy he left his world.
I will address other aspects of Beethoven's experiences in the near future.

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