A lockdown musician attempts to live a day like Beethoven

A lockdown musician attempts to live a day like Beethoven


norman lebrecht

May 02, 2020

The singer-songwriter Mary Spender, 29, tries life the Beethoven way.

She omits the more disgusting personal habits, such as the overflowing chamber pot underneath his chair.



  • M S Kandan says:

    It is impossible to recreate his life. The creativity would have transcended and made irrelevant every other irrelevant detail.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    .. and drinking cheap wine laced with lead

  • John Borstlap says:

    The video is inbearable. This lady could never ever benefit from anything LvB did.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Even for you, Mr. B., that’s a pretty extreme statement.
      Inbearable, as a matter of fact.
      How can you possibly know what benefits Mary can derive (and has already derived) from studying Beethoven’s daily routine?

      • John Borstlap says:

        Sorry for the typo, my PA was talking loudly to me, which was truly unbearable.

        What benefits can a carpenter have from studying the daily routine of a lawyer, or a sailor from studying the daily routine of a miner? And then, the daily routine of an artist is so bound-up with his work that disconnected from it, it has no longer any serious meaning.

        • Greg Bottini says:

          Well, Mr. B., you’d better get your PA out of the room while you type.
          Unless you want everything you type to be the kind of pish-tosh that “the daily routine of an artist is so bound-up with his work that disconnected from it, it has no longer any serious meaning” is.
          Get a grip, man. And a life.

  • Thomas Schmidt says:

    This person knows nothing about living like Beethoven. This is a criminal assault on his memory

    • Brian v says:

      Not at all it is praising the composer what a genius he was.

      • John Borstlap says:

        B’s genius is not to be found in his daily routine. He studiously counted the coffee beans for his breakfast, forgot to empty the chamber pot, took showers which rained-down on the neighbours, walked for miles on end without umbrella and the right overcoat, had difficulties with the daily shave, broke furniture by simply sitting on it, bullying his housekeeper, etc. etc.

  • Brian v says:

    Excellent the lady also has a nice voice

  • Jim says:

    Oh dear, the criterati have spoken and the criterati are not pleased.
    Listen to the bit from 6:40.
    Then go back and listen to the bit from 6:40.
    I don’t believe that anything in the video would lead anybody to think that she pretended to be Beethoven. She has taken some aspects of Beethoven’s life, and *adapted* them to her circumstances and made some useful changes in her own life. She also has made good use of some self-reflection.
    If you want to escape from the criterati class you could do worse than spend $20 on the Botton book ‘How Proust can change your life.’ (Plot spoiler! First sentence: “There are few things humans are more dedicated to than unhappiness.” Final sentence: “Even the finest books deserve to be thrown aside.”) Mary Spender has digested and thrown the Beethoven book aside.
    Fortunately for all concerned, Mary Spender will not emulate Beethoven to the extent of becoming a grumpy old man.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Beethoven was a grumpy old-ish man, since I don’t consider mid 50’s to be ‘old’. He may have been grumpy but his music was not. And even you might have complained without central heating, reticulated water and sewerage, electric blankets, MRI testing, national health, the internet, democracy, painkillers, modern medicine, bionic ear technology.

      I think he did remarkably well under extremely trying circumstances (to say the least of it).

    • Brian v says:

      Jim she is also a good singer. Nice personality

    • John Borstlap says:

      I’ve thrown De Botton’s book aside without having been able to decide whether it was one of ‘the finest’, the first chapters were enough to see it was a mere self-help book, trying to reduce Proust to a manual.

  • Erica Cooper says:

    Thank you Mary. Good way to get a glimpse of a giant in our music history, plus get people talking about Beethoven! Others should try it as well as other composers who impacted our musical life.