{ I Love to Listen To } ~ Beethoven

Charcoal sketches of Ludwig Van Beethoven on his birthday.

Beethoven left an indelible stamp on Music.  All who followed could either embrace or rebel against his achievements but you could not ignore him.  Perhaps Jascha Heifetz said it best:
"I play contemporary composers for two reasons.  First, to discourage them from writing anymore, and secondly to remind myself how good Beethoven is."
This was certainly how many composers themselves felt.  It took Johannes Brahms years to complete his first symphony because he was so terrified of the  long shadow cast by Beethoven. 

Within the Classical Music repertoire, his music is the standard, be they symphonies, sonatas, or concertos.  His work is revered by musicians and public alike.  Itzhak Perlman speaks for many when he notes of Beethoven's Violin Concerto:
"You have nothing to hide behind.  The way one plays it is so subtle.  Everything, time-wise, has to be just  in place.  I could play this piece every day and not get sick of it.  I played it five nights in a row and every time I found something else in it."
He remains a talismanic figure in music.  When jazz legend Peter Erskine published his memoirs he opted for the title "No Beethoven"; when Chuck Berry opted to 'bury' Classical Music he chose Beethoven in his iconoclastic "Roll Over Beethoven".  It remains to be seen whether either of these musicians enjoy his longevity.  More likely, Beethoven's star will continue to shine while these lesser lights flicker and fade into obscurity one or two hundred years after their deaths.  The famous New Wave group the Eurythmics were more charitable offering their ode to the greatest composer "I Love To Listen To {Beethoven}".  Hear, hear.


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