I was homeless, and working holding a sandwich board on the side of the road. It was so dull! I saved up for weeks and got a Sony Discman for $50.00. Now I had something to listen to while I worked. The Discman was so expensive that all I could afford was an Excelsior Gold recording of the fourth and sixth symphonies that was lying in a discount bin for a dollar-fifty. When I was playing it for the first time, in my board, pacing up and down the block — because if you stopped moving at anytime, the police would ticket you for loitering — I suddenly burst into tears. I felt like Beethoven was there with me, saying, “I know this sucks. But look— here is the whole world, outside, birds, the sky, the sun, and here you are! You are in it! Buck up!”
Peanuts, March 25, 1952 by Charles Schulz. Some pieces of music require a running start! Hell yes. From Schulz’s Beethoven: Schroeder’s Muse, an awesome 150+ page web exhibit from the Charles M. Schulz Museum and the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San José State University. Lots of strips and music samples and biographical details to peruse.
Beethoven’s laptop. That’s a clever little desk, no?
In the last weeks of Beethoven’s life this travel desk was placed right next to his bed. Three days before he died, he wrote a codicil to his will at the desk, in which he named his nephew Karl as his sole heir. Beethoven probably kept his letter to the Immortal Beloved in the open compartment shown here.
“If Beethoven is standard American orchestral fare today, it’s because a group of Bostonians in the 1830s and ’40s decided he was the next big thing.”