Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Ceaseless Uphill Trek - Beethoven's Battles With His Existence...

Obviously, when one thinks of or deals with the legendary composer Beethoven, deafness is the primary issue thought about besides his defining  music.
Of course, the curse of his deafness began as early as his late twenties, and ended with a great deal of his greatest possessions having been written during total deafness - still a staggering proposition to swallow on this very day, almost two centuries after his departure.
But there were  more issues of discontent and consternation endemic to his existence, which dogged him through his adult years; such as his battles, both legal and personal, concerning his nephew Karl, whom he dearly loved and wanted to support without the interference of Karl's mother. Do read about this aspect, if you'd like -much has been written about this phase of Beethoven's life.
The most vexing issue, professionally, was Beethoven's experience with a number of those firms or people who published his work - keep in mind that the word 'copyright'  was not a reality  at this time, and  the composer was at the mercy of those times; for instance, he might publish a particular work with a publishing firm, then discover that the same work was published by others not involved with the composer, with many notes altered or expunged. To this day, one can purchase editions of a particular work of the great composers of this general period, and find each edition with notes that differ from another edition, even though it is supposedly the same work.
Another issue Beethoven faced from time to time, especially when he wrote various  works for the church, was to be given specific directions to, for instance, make the music soft at a particular point in the music, or to write music with a particular length of time required etc.
In short, the composer was bent, at times, into shapes he did not either conceive or agree with.
I use Beethoven as one example - other composers experienced the same kinds of exigencies during those times.
However, to me, Beethoven, who decried all forms of authority he deemed corrupt and arbitrary, is the best
example of why Ewen wrote a book about the composer, and in the title are the words, "The Man Who Freed Music"...
This giant won over the forces  waging war against his will - just listen to the music...



Blogger F.P.Barbieri said...

I think Beethoven's deafness, while important, is not as defining as the fact that he was one of the most appalling cases of child abuse on record. His father was a lousy drunkard who treated him as a money-making machine, and when Beethoven was barely 18 he went through the degrading experience of having to place legal restraints on his father's earnings, to prevent them all going to the local taverns. I think his famous temper and surface misanthropy, as well as his fantastic inability to mismanage his life, are standards of the life of survivors of childhood abuse.

July 9, 2013 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger F.P.Barbieri said...

I have written about it here:

July 9, 2013 at 12:49 PM  

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