Four things that Beethoven never didWhy Beethoven
In my monthly music essay for The Critic I describe a counter-intuitive approach that I took in to discovering Beethoven – not so much describing what he did as discovering what, out of principle, he refused to do:
…He never, for instance, went to church. In the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, he abstained from the social rituals of the state religion. As an artist, Beethoven can get away with it — just. But he is also making a statement about the privacy of faith.
We see it once more when, meticulous in delivering commissions on time, he brings forth one work unforgivably late — three years late, in fact. It is the Missa Solemnis, written for the ascendance of his friend Archduke Rudolf to the archbishop’s seat at Olmütz. Epileptic and rumoured to be gay, Rudolf was Beethoven’s close confidant. He hated losing him to God….
Read on here.
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