Music Composers

Beethoven-Part 1

by Arthur S. Garbett

Beethoven suffered a threefold loneliness; he was unmarried; he was deaf; he was a genius. The first deprived him of the loving sympathy he so much needed; the second, of social intercourse and of the music that was the breath of his life; and the third set him apart from all mankind. Beethoven had many friends. They were kind to him and helped him in his troubles, provided him with financial assistance; and yet none was such a companion as Goethe might have been had their single meeting ripened into friendship. Beethoven felt the lack of a real companion keenly; he needed someone to play David to his Jonathan. "I have no real friend," he wrote to Bettina Brentano. "I must live alone. But I know that God is nearer to me than to many in my art, and I commune with Him fearlessly. I have ever acknowledged and understood him."

To speak of the "home life" of this lonely, homeless genius seems an anomaly. Save when he visited such friends as Count Licknowsky or Prince Lobkowitz, save for his brief glint of home life with the Breunings in Bonn, after his mother died, his whole life was spent in Vienna, in one dreary attic after another. Occasionally the monotony was broken by a visit to the country in search of health; but mostly he wandered from one lodging to another; and, form the many descriptions given by those who visited him, one gathers always the same impression of bare walls, scanty furniture, scattered papers, a piano or two and a few other musical instruments, clothes lying where they fell and a general atmosphere of indifference to material things.

The Etude Magazine June 1921





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