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Brief biographical sketch

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is widely considered to be one
of the pre-eminent classical music figures of the Western world.
This German musical genius created numerous works that are firmly
entrenched in the repertoire. Except for a weakness in composing
vocal and operatic music (to which he himself admitted,
notwithstanding a few vocal works like the opera "Fidelio" and the
song "Adelaide,"), Beethoven had complete mastery of the artform.
He left his stamp in 9 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, 10 violin
sonatas, 32 piano sonatas, numerous string quartets and dozens of
other key works. Many of his works are ingeniously imaginative
and innovative, such as his 3rd symphony (the "Eroica"), his 9th
Violin Sonata (the "Kreutzer"), his "Waldstein" piano sonata, his
4th and 5th piano concertos, or his "Grosse Fugue" for string
quartet. (Of course, each of Beethoven's works adds its own unique
detail to Beethoven's grand musical paradigm.)

It is difficult to sum up briefly what his musical works represent
or symbolize, since taken together they encompass a vast system of
thought. Generally, however, those who apprehend his music sense
that it reflects their own personal yearnings and sufferings. It
egoistically, and always intelligently, "discusses" with its
listener his or her feelings in the wake of personal failure and
personal triumph, from the lowest depths of despair to the highest
heights of happy or triumphant fulfillment. In his music, he
represents the feelings felt by those attempting to achieve their
goals within their societies, whether they are competing for love,
status, money, power, mates and/or any other things individuals
feel naturally inclined to attempt to acquire.

In a thematic sense, Beethoven does not promote anarchist ideas.
The listener cannot, in listening to Beethoven's music, apprehend
ideas which, if applied, would compromise the welfare of his
society. The music is thus "civically responsible," as is the
music of Bach or Mozart. For Beethoven, the society exists as a
bulwark with which the individual must function in harmony, or at
least not function such as to harm or destroy it. And, should the
society marginalize or hurt the individual, as it often does, the
individual must, according to Beethoven, humbly accept this, never
considering the alternative act of attempting to harm or destroy
the society in the wake of his or her personal frustrations. But,
thanks to Beethoven, such an individual is provided with the means
to sooth his or her misery in the wake of feeling "hurt" at the
hands of society. The means is this music and the euphoric
pleasure that it can provide to minds possessing the psycho-
intellectual "wiring" needed to apprehend it.

Some post-World-War-II composers, such as the late, LSD-using John
Cage, reject the music of Beethoven because of its predominant
reliance on "beauty" as way of communicating idealized concepts.
Also, since the music intimately reflects the cravings and thought-
processes of the natural human mind, which in numerous ways is
emotionally and intellectually irrational, the music may itself be
consequently irrational.

The following book consists of brief biographical commentaries
about Beethoven, each followed by sections of quotations
attributed to the muse. In these quotes, Beethoven demonstrates
his intense preoccupation (or obsession) with thinking
artistically and intelligently, and with helping to alleviate
man's suffering by providing man with musical artworks that could
enlighten him, so as to become educated enough to pull himself out
of his misery. He felt immediate, strong disdain at any artistic
statement that was not truly intelligent and artistic, such as, in
his view, the music of Rossini. Although not prudish, he had high
standards when it came to marriage, and was morally against
"reproductory pleasure" for its own sake, or any form of adultery.
He never married. Interestingly, experimental psychologists have
discovered that people who have an intense love of humanity or
are preoccupied with working to serve humanity tend to have
difficulty forming intimate bonds with people on a personal

Jan 6, 2016
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