It is amazing that people who have been greatly blessed with a special gift can continue to use that gift even after they physically find it almost impossible. The determination, courage, and faith that it takes to continue…to press on regardless of the circumstances is inspiring indeed.
One of my favorite pieces of music by Beethoven is the part of the The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor “Quasi una fantas,” which we know as the Moonlight Sonata.
It was completed in 1801 and dedicated in 1802 to his pupil, the Countess Giulietta Guicciardi The piece is one of Beethoven’s most popular compositions for the piano, and it was a popular favorite even in his own day. Beethoven wrote the Moonlight Sonata in his early thirties, after he had finished with some commissioned work; there is no evidence that he was commissioned to write this sonata…The name “Moonlight Sonata” comes from remarks made by the German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab. In 1832, five years after Beethoven’s death, Rellstab likened the effect of the first movement to that of moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne. Within ten years, the name “Moonlight Sonata” (“Mondscheinsonate” in German) was being used in German and English publications. Later in the nineteenth century, the sonata was universally known by that name. (Wikipedia)
By the love letter Beethoven wrote to Giulietta, it was obvious that he was in love with her. However, it appears that her father objected to a marriage for the two. Beethoven was not rich enough nor had a position he considered suitable for his daughter. This great piano virtuoso would not have his love, for she eventually married another man.
Beethoven’s love letter to the Countess:
My Angel, My All, My Very Self,
Just a few words to-day, and only in pencil . . . Can our love endure otherwise than through sacrifices, through restraint in longing. Canst thou help not being wholly mine, can I, not being wholly thine. Oh! gaze at nature in all its beauty, and calmly accept the inevitable – love demands everything, and rightly so. Thus is it for me with thee, for thee with me, only thou so easily forgettest, that I must live for myself and for thee – were we wholly united thou wouldst feel this painful fact as little as I should . . .
Now for a quick change from without to within: we shall probably soon see each other, besides, to-day I cannot tell thee what has been passing through my mind during the past few days concerning my life – were our hearts closely united, I should not do things of this kind. My heart is full of the many things I have to say to thee – ah! – there are moments in which I feel that speech is powerless – cheer up – remain my true, my only treasure, my all !!! as I to thee. The gods must send the rest, what for us must be and ought to be.
The young Beethoven and a painting of Beethoven after his illnesses and the loss of his hearing. What could be more devastating than for a composer to not hear what he was playing…Yet, he continued to use the gift God gave him.
“Beethoven died in his apartment in Vienna, on 26 March 1827 at the age of 56, following a prolonged illness. Beethoven’s funeral was held three days later, and the procession was witnessed by a large crowd. He was originally buried in the cemetery at Wahring, although his remains were moved in 1888 to the Vienna Central Cemetery.”
In this short, dramatic movie clip, given in part here, Beethoven could hear nothing of what his genius and gift from God had allowed him to compose. The strings of the orchestra moved, but for Beethoven, where was no sound. The audience heard it, however…and finally, he was given the applause that he could at least see. He finally saw with his eyes their appreciation for his beautiful music.
Turn up sound and click link and then click the back arrow to return for a piano performance of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
PIANO PERFORMANCE OF THE MOONLIGHT SONATA: Arranged by Georgii Cherkin Classic FM Orchestra Conductor: Grigor Palikarov Soloist: Georgii Cherkin – piano