Sunday, April 1, 2012

Autobiography of the Month: Ludwig van Beethoven

Listening to: Beethoven's 9th Symphony (Fourth Movement)

Solomon Maynard writes a collection of masterful autobiographies. Rich with well-researched details, insight, and little known facts, Maynard introduces us to composers like never before. By far my favorite autobiographical writer, Maynard writes with thoughtful emotion while never straying from historical facts. One of his greatest works is is autobiographical sketch of Ludwig van Beethoven. "Hailed as a masterpiece for its original interpretations of Beethoven's life and music, this edition takes into account the latest information and literature. Includes a 30-page bibliographical essay, numerous illustrations, and a full-color pictorial biography of the composer."

Beethoven is unlike any composer that ever lived, and he is rightfully considered to be one of the greatest, if not THE great composer of all time. In addition to composing the the overwhelming majority of his music without being able to hear a single note he wrote, he also shattered the format of music and revolutionized the musical scene. Before Beethoven, music was very systematic and written in a precise A-B-A-C format. It was pretty and contained, completely restricted from unleashing the emotions that music sets free. Perhaps it was because Beethoven was deaf and couldn't hear what was vogue, or perhaps it was because this great composer is notorious for bucking the system and doing things his way, but he reinvented the way music was both played and listened to. His songs were written to express specific emotion, paint images with sound, and reach out and communicate the things that words cannot convey. Shut out from the world and completely misunderstood and often rejected, he poured his anguish, triumph, and unbreakable spirit into his works, and for this, we call him the Immortal Composer.

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