Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beethoven's Fifth Symphony

I am going to go off an a bit of a tangent here. I learned this in music class and I found it appropriate to celebrate the God-given genius of Ludwig van Beethoven. The most spectacular thing about Beethoven was his deafness, and his ability to compose, write, and develop music far beyond the recesses of his time. What I mean is that Beethoven paved the way for the Romantic era of music? Beethoven was living in the Mozart era of Classicism, which Mozart literally dominated; but even before Mozart's death, Mozart actually listened to Beethoven play. Mozart said, "Look out for this man, he is going to be great." Overall though, the main thing that separated the greatness of Beethoven from the greatness of Mozart was Beethoven's ability to develop music beyond the era of Classicism. That was the key difference between arguably the two greatest composers of all time.

Did you know that Beethoven was not born deaf? His hearing started straying from him around his early 30s because of lead poisoning from the cups that he drank from. It started getting worse and worse that he eventually stopped going to social events, parties, and the like because he couldn't bear the thought of anyone knowing that he was losing his hearing. At that time, he was a great composer, but he started fading out of the public eye until he lived in seclusion the rest of his life. Only going out when necessary. Most of all, the greatness of Beethoven rests in the music that he wrote after his ears succumbed to total deafness. Beethoven wrote his greatest music at this time. Even though he could never hear it, he could play it in his mind and put it down from pen to paper. He was that great and that talented. He knew every note and recalled to memory the most important pieces that fit together perfectly. He was a natural musician. A natural genius. His most famous piece The Fifth Symphony is a small taste of his genius. This piece is over 30 minutes long and what is more impressive about this piece is the fact that the most famous first part is played more than 700 times throughout the symphony in many different forms. Simplistic, but entirely complex. The same type of piece played over 700 times throughout the symphony in many different complex forms. It was unheard of back then. Only Beethoven could do it and only God could have given that talent to Beethoven.

I don't know if Beethoven ever accepted Christ as his Lord and personal Savior. It would have been a horrendous choice if he didn't, but he gave us the most beautiful classical music ever written. I am thankful for the music of Beethoven and for my teacher Dr. Ball (DB) in teaching our class about the greatness of classical music, and music in general. Enjoy the first two movements of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and I will talk to you later.

Soli Deo Gloria!


Anonymous said...

Hi Joshua, I came over to your blog, from JJ's blog, feel free to check out my Blog I thoroughly enjoyed your post, and I love Beethoven's 5th Symphony

Rachel M. said...

Same here, Josh. It is so amazing to hear about a man who composed music even with deafness. But most importantly, did he know Jesus? I was just listening to the music we have to study for our test, and Haydn's Symphony No.94 (Surprise) makes me jump! :D

God bless, dear brother, and ttys ;D

Layman Pastor said...

Here's an interesting link:


Josh said...

Hey Joshua,
Beethoven truly had an amazing gift from the Lord. He is one of our family's favorite classical composers to listen to.
On a side note, the composer on the video is fun to watch!
Blessings to you brother,

Elliot said...

Karajan is fun to watch alright. :) It's not so clear in this video, he's got perhaps the smoothest, most controlled baton action I've ever seen. Not my favorite conductor, but he's got to be one of the most famous, if not the most famous, of the 20th century. One of the few to [occasionally] conduct with his eyes closed too.

Anyways, all that to say very good choice on the video, Joshua. :) Thanks for sharing.