Manual Beethoven - His Spiritual Development

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Store Locations. This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity individual or corporate has a copyright on the body of the work. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public.

To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been proofread and republished using a format that seamlessly blends the original graphical elements with text in an easy-to-read typeface. The low standard of education lie achieved seems to have been as much due to his lack of plasticity as to his lack of opportunities. He was not an educahle man. He accepted none of the schemes of thought or conduct current in his time; it is doubtful whether he was even fully aware of their existence. He re- mained utterly faithful to his own experience.

Beethoven His Spiritual Development - J. W. N. Sullivan - Google книги

It is for this reason that his affirmative utterances, as in the Credo of the Mass in D, have such unexampled weight. Such utterances spring solely from his own personal and tested experience. Beethoven's capacity for realizing the fundamental character of life in its two aspects of suffering and achievement, combined with his lack of flexibility, was the necessary condition for the development of his attitude towards life.

That development takes the form of a synthesis.

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The Beethoven of the C minor symphony finds the meaning of life in achievement in spite of suffering. Fate is an enemy to be defied. Hie Beethoven of the last quartets finds that the high- est achievement is reached through suffering. That the reconciliation he thus effected was genuine and complete is made evidenl by the music, for none of Beethoven's music is more obviously the expression of an authentic experience. The quality of this experience has led many writers to call this music "mystical" or "metaphysical. He did not turn away from life towards some mystical Nirvana.

He forgot none of the joy, the effort, or the pain. What he achieved is some- thing much more wonderful than an old man's seren- ity. The life in the last string quartets is as full, varied and intense as anywhere in Beethoven's music. But those aspects of life that Beethoven formerly pre- sented as contrasted he now presents as harmoniously flowering from a single stem.

Within the iron framework of Beethoven's per- manent attitude towards life flourished a highly sensi- tive and passionate emotional nature. Although his vision had the stern strength of the Puritan outlook it had none of its bleakness. He was fully alive to the countless lovely and tender things in life.

No one's reaction to simple pastoral scenes, for example, was ever more intense and innocent than Beethoven's. He had none of the doubts that troubled the Victorian romantics after their acquaintance with the doctrine of the "struggle for existence," neither had he any of the eighteenth-century cultured affectation of a "love for nature. Only a man pure in heart could have written the Pastoral symphony.

The same quality is shown in what may be called his love music. In this it is typical.

Classical Music for Brain Power - Mozart

In spite of music's unexampled power of expressing eroticism, most powerfully exemplified by Wagner's work, there is no trace of this quality in Beethoven. He knows noth- ing, even in his most abandoned moods as in the finale of the seventh symphony of the ecstasy of sexual delirium.

We know from Beethoven's own words that he was what is called a "moralist" in sexual matters, but we know from his music that this was due to no asceticism, to no principles, but to the presence of very strong feelings which could allow nothing inferior in that kind to co-exist with them. To the man of the world Beethoven's love for music may be that of a romantic; to the youth who is just awakening to the awe and rapture of this great ex- perience Beethoven is one of the very few true poets of the heart.

Beethoven's attitude towards sexual love never became sophisticated. This very intense and rich emotional nature was, in truth, very simple and very pure. There were no feigned or borrowed emotions, and nerve-storms never took the place of feelings.


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These are the devices of a man who wishes to come to terms with his suffering without facing it in all its starkness. But Beethoven had the innocence of his courage. We have, then, in the person of Beethoven a musical genius with all the conditions for writing great music. He has a realization of the ultimate character of life, he has a force adequate to any trial, however arduous, his growth will he free from the distorting effects of mere convention, and his response is pure and sincere to a wide range of experience.

No other musician who ever lived has united so many advantages. The mystery of the appearance of what Goethe called "eine Natur" in contrast to a "siisse Puppe" is not to be resolved by any discussion of heredity and environment. For the chief characteristic of a person a "personality" is that it is a synthetic, an organic, whole, and not a mere collection of its constituent ele- ments. But, in fact, there is very little that is characteristic of Beethoven to be found in his ancestry. It must be remembered, of course, that we know very little about his ancestry.

It has been traced back to the beginning of the seven- teenth century and to a small village in Belgium near Louvain. But, for the most part, these people have left no record of themselves beyond their names and the dates of those events in their lives that are of interest to the State. We know that the family pro- duced a painter, a sculptor, and a cure, and that the commercial enterprise with which it was most prom- inently associated was the wine trade.


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  4. The first an- cestor about whom we have a fair amount of informa- tion is the grandfather, Ludwig van Beethoven, born in This Ludwig came to Bonn, at the age of nineteen, as singer in the court chapel, and steadily rose in his profession until, in , he became "Herr Kapellmeister. Beethoven always spoke of this ancestor with particular respect and, indeed, in his vigour and integrity he was not unlike Beetho- ven.

    It is probable that the old man had a good deal of the same "moralistic" outlook although, as he was not a creative artist, we cannot tell on what percep- tions and realizations it was based. In any case, he is the only ancestor we can point to as showing any resemblance to Beethoven at all. It is possible, never- theless, that Beethoven derived more elements from his grandmother and father.

    We have no direct evi- dence for this, but it is significant that both were habitual drunkards. Habitual drunkenness is usually, psychologists inform us, the result of an inability to accommodate oneself wholly to reality. It is often a vice in that unfortunate class of people who have im- perfectly co-ordinated artistic faculties. They yearn vaguely for something other than the world they know, but they lack the capacity to create a world nearer to their heart's desire. Neither the art of escape nor the art of revelation is possible to them.

    Nevertheless, they have perceptions they con- not use and impulses that never come to fruition. Drink, or some other drug, by relieving their sense of impotence and by blurring the unfriendly outlines of the real world, brings them solace and becomes a necessity. In the case of the father we know that he had fair musical abilities, quite equal to the grand- father's, although nothing sufficient to justify any great ambition. And he appears to have been of the weak, gradually deteriorating type, not in the least the headstrong passionate drunkard. He was a shift- less, feebly unscrupulous man.

    He presents many of the characteristics of the impotent dreamer type and certainly, if we are to account for Beethoven by any theory of heredity, something is needed to leaven the solid common sense and practical grasp of life shown by the grandfather. Of Beethoven's mother we know even less. We learn that she was "always seri- ous," a "quiet, suffering woman," pious, gentle and amiable, and that she was much liked and respected.

    It is certain that the boy Beethoven loved her pas- sionately; it is also pretty clear that he confided to her nothing of what was fermenting in his young mind. It was her patience, gentleness and suffering that moved the boy to such an agony of tenderness. The prof oundest love of such a man is always based on compassion. More virile types, where no sex in- terest was concerned, would get little from Beethoven but his best wishes. The traceable resemblance between Beethoven and his ancestry is, then, of the slightest.

    The fundamental characteristics we have already de- scribed are not, of course, to be illuminated in this way. There is no reason to suppose that Beethoven would have written like Mendelssohn if the circum- stances of his life had been as happy as Mendels- sohn's. A capacity for realizing the character of life is not created, but only exercised, by particular occa- sions. Mendelssohn, in some circumstances, might have been reduced to impotence; he would never have become a tragic poet. From the point of view of Bee- thoven's development he had what can only be re- garded as favourable surroundings in his early years.

    Beethoven - His Spiritual Development

    They were undesirable, as his deafness was calam- itous, only from the point of view of his personal happiness. From the point of view of mankind at large they were advantages. It must certainly be counted an advantage, for instance, that Beethoven should so early have been pushed on to acquire a considerable degree of self-reliance. This unusual degree of maturity is the more explicable if we re- member that Beethoven occupied a fairly important musical position even at the age of twelve years.

    Besides being assistant organist to Neefe he was also "cembalist in the theatre," a position of considerable honour and responsibility.