Our World Europe pays homage to anniversary of Beethoven’s birth

STEPHEN SCOURFIELD tracks celebrations of the musical master

I have a quote on the pinboard beside my computer at my writing desk:

Just as he was unable to write anything superficial, or simply pretty, he was equally unable or unwilling to write anything portraying what was fundamentally and exclusively evil.”

This is pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim writing about composer Ludwig van Beethoven.

It is, surely, a motif for any writer to live by.

Just as we travel to form connections, so we travel as a result of them.

And here, I must share a childhood moment, for, over decades, it has led to this story. When I was 10 years old, I was called to a stage at a primary school to receive a small violin award, and presented with an equally small, plastic bust of Beethoven.

It was enough to form an instant connection to the composer, of course.

I couldn’t tell you precisely how many times I’ve listened to the three movements of his Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 61, and how many violinists I’ve heard play it, but it will be in the hundreds. My current favourite is Anne-Sophie Mutter.

I couldn’t count the number of hours I now put into fumbling slowly through his cheerful mandolin music.

And so, this year’s 250th anniversary of his birth, with its celebrations across Europe, feel personal...

This is an edited version of the original, full-length story, which you can read here.

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