Virtual coffee with a graduate  2022-01-27

Beethoven in the 20th and 21st centuries

Compact disc and Beethoven interesting story, see full text PDF  here .

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in Japan, see  here .


Private life

Modest life, see  here ; letter about going deaf, see  here ; “Immortal beloved” letters, see  here .

Vienna, unwitting mirror of modern humanity

Nowhere on earth is like Vienna, the city of high culture that found itself unwittingly hosting people who represented the most beautiful and most ugly of modern humanity. 5 individuals lived in 18th-20th centuries Vienna, and each represented the most sensual beauties, the cruelest, and the dream and hope of humanity. Of the 5, Beethoven comes to represent humanity’s dream and hope.

Architecture parallel

Occasionally and seldom, a building strikes our impression and gives us a good feeling. When a building:

1) Uplifts our spirit / optimism / happiness,

2) Teaches us something,

3) Appears always fresh, in solid form and in idea,

the building becomes a fine art.

The same is true in music, and this gives us some standard to compare a fine music and a fine building. Buildings and music are vastly different in medium, creation method, and goal, but one way to look at how different arts commonly uplift our spirit / optimism / happiness, is to look at how the designer / composer limits the creation goal. Below are examples of designers brightening a building:

1) With only one outstanding idea (“Sonata”),

2) With two outstanding ideas juxtaposed (“Duet”),

3) With four outstanding ideas intermixed (“Quartet”),

4) With multiple outstanding ideas juxtaposed (“Symphony”).

“ Sonata ”

“ Duet ”

“ Quartet ”

“ Symphony ”

What about us common mortals?

Despite being deaf, Beethoven moved the world with his music. Also, despite being near total invalid, Stephen Hawking moved the world with discovery of the universe. It was music and science that gave them meaning too big to let terrible illnesses, which would kill lesser humans, stop them to live full and rewarding lives.

In city streets and parks, I have seen some people waiting for the end of the day. Most of us are not born with the big gifts of Beethoven or Hawking, we make mistakes, and sometimes we do not find great meaning in our lives. But we are here with individual circumstance, we are here with fair chance to contribute to the world, and fair chance to learn, in doing so lies our purpose.