Beethoven’s Lessons

On that averagely average, cold and damp Irish spring day I met a woman in her 50s, an artist. She was a sort of a ‘enfant (should write: ‘ personne agee’) terrible’ in our small and – have to admit – still quite narrow-minded environment. Always alone, apparently considered as ‘dangerous’ or (charitably speaking) ‘weird’. I’ve just glanced her vegetarian dish and she shared it with me with ‘I don’t accept ‘no’ for an answer’ attitude (tasted awfully, by the way). Then we struck up a chat and – after an hour or so – I realized that such a liberating conversation I hadn’t have experienced in months. It was like an instant ‘click’ and we met at a higher level, where all the differences/petty worries/judgements simply don’t exist – you talk and you know that you are being understood – in a flash, thanks to a sort of a magical, inner chemistry sparking between two minds, two souls…

She was a great listener and a mentor, yet her soul has been damaged by  a  cruelty of life, the cruelty of people. And it was extremely painful to watch her – sliding on the thin ice, appearing and disappearing like a cube of gold melting in a pot – with all the ridiculous helplessness, you feel facing the mystery of another human being and his/her story never-to-be-disclosed.

So, I remember – she said: “It was Beethoven, who taught me how to be an artist.” I didn’t get her then, yet, now – I’m almost sure, what she meant by that. So – I would like to dedicate this post to her and to Beethoven, though I know it – neither of them will ever read it… Those fallen angels are always like that, lighting up the world with their strange, dark light, yet never asking anything in return – except maybe the absolute surrender to them.

Yes, Beethoven is a powerful teacher, one of the best any artist can get – and, what a privilege! – he is, by his music, always there for you, when you need him. I chose the “Moonlight” as a feature for this post, mainly because I’m completely taken by Rubinstein’s interpretation – the best I heard so far, just so perfect… Yet, one has to listen to Beethoven’s No.9, No. 5, his “Coriolan” Overture – in a fact to the most of his work to hear the giant fighting the Gorgons. You may know nothing of his personal struggles, yet you can sense it – the reality, the life is there to be confronted without fear – this is the message, one of the most universal and brilliant, the art can convey to humanity; the harder your fate tries to overpower you, the stronger you become to fight it back. The charismatic ability to inspire courage in others and to transform their life in one touch; the towering strength of a personality – perfectly integrated, though it’s been challenged continuously by the ill fate and by the composer himself – this is Beethoven’s lesson of ‘how to be an artist’. Yet – don’t read it as an unattainable wishing-list for the super-humans – see this artist’s letters, where the shield of his genius sounds doesn’t protect him – he is certainly the one of bones and blood, of tears and screams, of a doubt and a crisis. Feel the might of his monsters and then listen to what he had done to them. Have that braveness to live without masks and an armour, so intensely – you fear to lose your sanity. Then, lying on your deathbed – you will be able to say without any pretense: “Applaud my friends. The comedy is over”.


Video featured thanks to the courtesy of ehttsinaip from Youtube.


About kasia

Born in Poland. Lives in Ireland, Cork. Visual artist. View all posts by kasia

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