Friday, September 14, 2012

Beethoven - Is There an Intelligible Definition of the Word 'Genius?'

Even before the total deafness had set in, Beethoven wrestled with the core meanings of his fusion with the art that possessed him. That is quite evident in his luminous Note-books, which are composed of his own words. The thoughts that he wrote down almost invariably connote the question of his own genius, and the meaning of what he had to pursue by way of the innumerable masterpieces he left to us. The result is a sense of questioning about his existence, in the words he wrote - but all the questions are invariably answered in his music, and with not a word uttered.
I sometimes wonder about the paucity of the music he wrote that had words attached - is it simply because the searing power of the musical ideas that poured into his consciousness required no words, especially after he becomes totally deaf?
At any rate, I thought that you might like to see some of the words he wrote down about both his art, and his love of nature. This is only the third time since starting my blogs in 2007 that I have consulted sources on paper, so that you can see the actual words, not paraphrases. The other two blogs dealt with; one, a visit to Beethoven by an officer of Napoleon's army, and; two, a description of the food that Beethoven once prepared for a group of his friends.
First, some words Beethoven wrote down about Art:
"True art is imperishable and the true artist finds profound delight in grand productions of genius."
"Truth exists for the wise; beauty for the susceptible heart. They belong together - are complementary."
"Art! Who comprehends her? With whom can one consult concerning this great goddess?"
Second, some of his words connected with his love of nature:
"O God! send your glance into beautiful nature and comfort your moody thoughts touching that which must be."
"When you reach the old ruins, think that Beethoven often paused there; if you wander through the mysterious fir forests, think that Beethoven often poetized, or, as is said, composed there."
"Nature is a glorious school for the heart! It is well; I shall be a scholar in this school and bring an eager heart to her instruction..."
These are but a few of Beethoven's many entries into his Note - books.
Look into his words - it can tell you more of what this giant was made of...



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