recently been listening to Beethoven and reading a lot, and
started to meditate on music in literature....In
Beethoven (a composer E.M. Forster turns to again and again) is
seen as universal, overcoming all barriers...
generally be admitted that Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is the most
sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man.
All sorts and conditions are satisfied by it.'
And then, one
inevitably thinks of Lawrence Durrell’s sweeping and lyrical
Apparently Durrell was very much taken with Beethoven’s Quartets,
and had even traveled with them to Corfu. He wrote to T.S.
Eliot that his
me of that gruesome last quartet of Beethoven. So arid, so
abstract, and so dry, and yet so rich in every other way.'
there is Tolstoy’s short story,
named for Beethoven’s sonata of the same name and here irrevocably
associated with passion. To Forster, Beethoven was also,
always, about passion. In
With a View,
when Lucy Honeychurch is determined to go out into Florence by
herself, Mr. Beebe puts it down to
Beebe was right. Lucy never knew her desires so clearly as
And so we put
on the sublime, contained passion of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony,
properly known as Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, so
familiar and yet so divine. dah-dah-dah-DAH! The notes
which the Allied Forces associated with the V for Victory ..._ in
Morse code. Fiery and intense, thunderous passages
alternating with the poetic.
said of the Fifth while composing it:
am aware of what I want, the fundamental idea never leaves me. It
mounts, it grows. I see before my mind the picture in its whole
extent, as if in a single grasp." The
four movements—a dramatic allegro con brio with its famous
4 opening notes, what is often referred to as the ‘fate motif’--
and of which Beethoven is supposed to have exclaimed:
"Thus fate knocks at the door,"
is repeated throughout the symphony, followed by the andante
con moto, where two themes, the lyrical and the heroic,
contrast; then a rapid allegro with soft strings and a horn
motive, and finally an allegro in sonata form as in the
first movement, martial, victorious. The movements work
together, woven through with the motif, triumphant over destiny.
Beethoven wrote in a letter,
take Fate by the throat; it shall not wholly overcome me.”
says of the Fifth:
“Beethoven chose to make all right in
the end...the gusts of splendor...and amid vast roarings of
superhuman joy, he led his Fifth Symphony to its conclusion.”
been reading Colum McCann’s marvelous fictionalized life of
where a character
Beethoven on the stereo, to be followed by James Brown – a little
musical anarchy please!”
And so we complied, always influenced by the books we read, and put on
I Got You (I
A Room With a
View, E. M. Forster
A Room With a
View, a Merchant Ivory production
Kleiber & The Vienna Philharmonic, considered by many to be the
Ludwig van Beethoven
(1770 - 1827)