Who was Beethoven, really?

Schiller Institute Chorus member Fred Haight has presented a useful 3 part series on Beethoven, shedding some light on one of the most creative and least understood geniuses in history. Stay tuned to this page for future contributions in this Beethoven 250th Year.

Ludwig van Beethoven: 1770 - 1827

 

Part 1. The American Revolution as a Global Affair

Though Beethoven never left Europe, he expressed his support for the American Revolution, which was not a tax revolt, but part of a global fight to establish true republics waged over 2,000 years. To do so required a scientifically, and artistically educated population capable of self-government.

Part 2. Beethoven's Bonn

Romantic images of Beethoven see him as an anomaly, who emerged inexplicably out of nowhere, with no predecessors. Thus there seems to be no way to ever create another Beethoven. The opposite is true. Beethoven's Bonn was a crash program to create a classical culture, and generate great composers, but you did not know who would emerge, so you had to educate everyone.

Part 3. Beethoven's Promethean Ideal

Like Prometheus the Fire-bearer, Beethoven was uncompromising in giving the gift of creativity to humanity. Several musical examples identify this.

 

 

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