I love listening to Beethoven. His 6th Symphony, The Pastoral is like the mind together with the heart and soul on a holiday out into the countryside on a summer day. Equally moving is the second movement of the 7th Symphony. The opening segment reminds me of a dirge which subtly builds upon itself into streaming lights of resolve and determination for the living, intermediate with streams of playfulness to remind us of the joy inherent in the midst of sorrow. In its day encores of this piece were not uncommon. Or who could ever forget and not be moved by the finally of the 9th Symphony, Ode to Joy; the ultimate triumph of spirit over matter. This music consistently creates such nourishment for the soul. But why is it that it’s so intrinsic to our very being.
George Elliot borrowed a line from her novel Middlemarch and referred to Beethoven as, “the roar which lies on the other side of silence”. In his inability to hear he created within his mind. The decibel level might be too much if we ordinary mortals are allowed to hear what was going on in there. Also, Beethoven composed music with Prometheus as a guiding influence… a fire in the mind. What then is the meaning of this thunderous light that manifest itself within the shadows of the composer’s silent ears?
Found in Beethoven’s desk after his death were three Egyptian aphorisms that give us a clue as to this illumination; his personal philosophy on life and music. They are…
I am all that which is, I am all that is, was or shall ever be.
No man that lives hath raised my veil.
He is of his sole/soul self and from this alone comes all things that be.
Similar in meaning, they stress a point… in reality, the Divine and man along with all things are One. But each of us is responsible for our distinct path in life from the situation we are born into. We take from the many to make what is individual in each of us, all under the umbrella of being One with all there is. In other words, it is our uniqueness which comes from our oneness by way of the many.
Beethoven sensed the visionary inflections in his music; the cadence, power, restraint, conflict, and spiritual come together in what he was saying and how he was saying it. All of these are snapshots from real life and great music mimics’ real life. And equally important is the fact that we become co-creators for therein the space between the notes being played are residence to our perception to what is playing.
It was Prometheus who procured fire from Zeus and secured it for man and all the Earth… a cosmic interchange, conducted by the composer so we could all understand that fire is music itself.