Time For More Beethoven?

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“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy, it is the wine of a new procreation, and I am Bacchus who presses out this glorious wine for men and makes them drunk with the spirit.”
Ludwig van Beethoven
quoted in Marion M Scott, Beethoven (1934)

I generally don’t listen to much Ludwig van Beethoven. He like a bracing, strong Scotch – much too strong and upsetting for daily use, although just the thing now and again. “Wow! I had forgotten how good that is!” One cannot deny Beethoven’s genius, but he leaves me unsettled. I feel disturbed. I don’t like that in large doses.
I prefer Mozart — he can have the “edge” of Beethoven without the superficial gloss that too often is Haydn. Too much Beethoven will drive a person insane, and too much Haydn will turn him into a connoisseur (which is worse). Mozart covers all the bases. Mozart can do it all.
But maybe time to re-think Beethoven. Maybe more of him?
I shall have to head to my Netflix queue. But which tour guide to lead me through Beethoven’s symphonies? Claudio Abbado? Leonard Bernstein? Herbert von Karajan?
Maybe an audition is an order before I jump in head and foot.


  • katiehahn

    I agree…I enjoy playing (on the piano) Beethoven better because I enjoy the complexity and emotion of his compositions. I like listening to Beethoven; however, my favorite composer to listen to is definately Mozart. I am always amazed that he composed over 600 pieces…and died when he was 35! I think that we overuse the word “genius” in our culture…but, I believe Mozart was a true genius.

  • jack lee

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  • Jeff McCormick

    Mr. Geib, if you want Beethoven, I would highly suggest the soundtrack to “Beethoven’s Last Night” performed by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. They glide gracefully across their instruments when they should, and they rock when they need to as well. I have a copy of it myself I can burn for you if you’d like.