Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Where is the dead Beethoven?

It is Beethoven's birthday! He was born on this date in 1770. Beethoven did us the courtesy of being born in a round year so it is not too difficult to figure out how old he is. He is 245 by my calculation. Am I right?

I once saw the Beethoven Haus in Bonn. Also I visited his grave in Vienna's Central Cemetery. I visited Mozart's grave too but that is a whole other story.

There is a famous story in our family. Everyone in our family made an individual pilgrimage to Beethoven's grave. I was with my mother but I think everyone else did it separately and alone.

My sister Margie was in Vienna looking for Beethoven's grave and she needed to ask someone where it was. So she mustered up some German and she said: "Wo ist der tot Beethoven?"

Meaning: Where is the dead Beethoven?

And the German she asked looked at her dead serious. And he responded:

"Der tot Beethoven ist im Himmel!"

The dead Beethoven is in heaven!

Well, you just know that he is.

Leonard Pennario recorded some great Beethoven but all that is out there on YouTube is his "Moonlight" Sonata with orchestra, and he would kill me if I posted that for Beethoven's birthday.

So there is this. Conducted by Josef Krips, another great musician who spent time in Buffalo.

There is nothing like listening to Beethoven to reassure you that God will triumph and the battle has already been won! My father once told me that when he was a boy he heard this Allegretto from the Symphony No. 7 and just cried. He could not imagine anything more beautiful.

Can anyone? His taste stayed the same over the years. Mine have, too. The music I loved when I was a kid I still love. Even now I am leaning back listening to this. Ahhh.


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