If Beethoven didn´t exist

31 07 2015

There is this great fashion to post something pseudosmart in the social networks, opening the whole post, of whichever depth and quality, with some sort of apocalyptic vision:

„Imagine the world without classical literature/drama/piano music/Nirvana/Beatles“ etc.

My „best ever“ so far has been a post on violin versions of popular Rock melodies, starting with an invitation to imagine how the world had sounded, if (NB!) „violin players would have destroyed all other musical instruments“. I have never thought the Instrumental guys are that brutal, you know.

In any case, such posts attempt to sell convey all the same message: the reader should break down and cry, earth-shattered by the author´s wisdom forced upon them, repent and find their way back to the heavenly Grace of „superior“ Art: „proper“ books, films, music etc.

The problem I have with those self-appointed moralist „Flagellants_2.0“ is my earnest belief that no one can be forced into virtue (whatever it be). The genuine acceptance of values, wisdoms, virtues – but also of errors, mistakes and alike – comes via one’s own experience on one’s own bare skin (or soul) – and definetely not through some pseudosmart sayings.

And I am by no means a person of authority at deciding what is right and what is wrong, and what belongs to good or bad taste. I speak three languages and yet often switch to suboptimal slang, neglecting the beauty and richness of the Standard register. I have been shameless enough to write to Benedict Anderson after I have found some inconsistency in his Imagined Communities and yet I ordered the three so-far published Travis-novels by Kleypas. Or I watch some highly dramatic films like Little Children and then SpongeBob with comparable pleasure.

I have discovered Beethoven. For myself, I mean. If there happens to be someone who has read my blog since its first days, you might remember my excitement about Gould’s version of the 14th Sonate. Recently it was the Allegretto from the 7th Symphony. If one could choose a soundtrack for one’s perception of something, this Allegretto would be my soundtrack for History as a discipline. Really. I don’t know how on Earth it is possible that a dead deaf Romanticist brings an educated neo-liberal Foucaultian scepticist into cry. Beethoven does.

Coming back to the pseudosmart sayings, here is one from me: if Beethoven did not exist, one should invent him.

Symphony 7, Movement 2. Furtwängler, Berliner Philarmoniker, 1943