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Monday, July 20, 2009

When the legend announced his Deafness


One of the most surprising facts about Ludwig van Beethoven is that he was deaf. How can a musician, a composer, lack what we would imagine to be his most important sense?
The first people he confided in were those who were gorgraphically far from him, but in whom he had absolute confidence: those who lived at Bonn.
When he could no longer hide his handicap, Beethoven used notebooks in which visitors could write what they wanted him to know, or equally ask what they wanted to know. Because of this, we lack, of course, the most important part to understanding better his personality.

Beyond the fact that Beethoven's deafness was exaggerated and dramatized, it is important to note that it was not complete deafness from the start. To be true, it was an infirmity that established itself slowly, and also developed itself quite erratically. What was really dramatic indeed, was the moment in which the young and successful composer and virtuoso had to accept that he was suffering from a chronic, incurable illness with which he will have to live. And that was going to get worse.
Later no, when he could not hide his deafness anymore, he accepted it. It was in the midst of his heroic period and it was documented by himself, in a quote written in the margins of the Razoumovsky Quartets.
We could safely state that even to the end of his life, there were days in which he could hear a bit. Many many others in which he was stone deaf. Then finally when the communication difficulties became really great, --more or less around 1818-- Beethoven got to use leafs of paper, or tablets, where his friends and visitors could write what they wanted to tell him, or ask him. These are known now as the "Conversation Books". Naturally we lack the answers the Master provided to the questions written there. except for a few cases, all we can do is guess what he might have said.

This blog provides a more detailed learning about Bethoven's biography. To accses, click here.


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