Piano concerto No.2 in B-Flat major, Op 19 and Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Beethoven: a great master’s dexterous virtuosity is always inspired by genius peers…

David Geffen building–Lincoln Center /Monday October 7th, 2019.

This week, friends, welcome back to the David Geffen Hall, to tell you about the incredibly glorious, and moving New York Philharmonic Fall Gala, showcasing last Monday, a romantic, lyrical and solemn, double bill, by composer extraordinaire, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), in the spring of his adult life.

How about it!

And what incredible pianist we were given to applaud, Monday!

Who else but Lang Lang: the hot, hot, hot, international Chinese star pianist of the last two decades, who at age 37, today, in my opinion, is at the top of abilities; and has even, in the spring, been deemed by Billy Joel, to be “the top pianist in the world”!

If that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what does!


Let me just mention, a few things, about Beethoven. This genius, is considered to be one of the greatest composers of all times, as well as being a crucial, most influential figure, in the transition between classical and romantic eras, in classical music. He also remains one of the most recognized musicians. Bar none.

Beethoven came from a family of incredibly gifted musicians, and his own talent was honed very early on, by his talented father; who sensed the “prodigy” potential of/in his son. Therefore at a very young age, Beethoven was taught as well, by various prominent teachers, including Neefe, the Court’s organist.

Archbishop Elector of Cologne and Bishop of Münster, Maximilian Frederick von Königsegg-Rothenfels noticed as well, Beethoven’s talent early, and subsidised and encouraged the young man’s musical studies.

At age 12, young and grateful Beethoven, went on, to dedicate three piano sonatas to his employer/protector.

Teenage Beethoven, was then eventually sent by his protector, to visit Vienna, where it seems certain, he met Mozart; and may have taken piano lessons from him. He was only 17.

At 21, Beethoven, kept on honing his skills with great composers, and was taught by Haydn.

And of course, Beethoven the musician, as a young man, was equally influenced by the Enlightenment Philosophy of the time, as well as freemasonry, his protectors/teachers abided by; which allowed increased support for education and the arts. The teenage Beethoven, was almost certainly influenced by these changes.

Beethoven then, depended throughout his life, on various patrons, official public engagements, and teaching to support himself.

Interestingly also, romantically inclined Beethoven, was also painfully shy, and afflicted with all sorts of physical pains, including growing deafness, yet, during his short life, Beethoven, was also extremely taken with a few ladies; and had incredibly powerful affairs. Especially one. More about his “Immortal Beloved” in a second.

And of course, back to our Fall Gala, last Monday: at the time where Beethoven started composing the first piece showcased, (Piano concerto No. 2), Beethoven had probably already met already Mozart, and Haydn; and actually spent over a decade revising this piece.

Let’s now listen to the second movement, my favorite:

Let’s in particular pay attention to the romance of the piano, which allowed to show off Beethoven’s ability as a pianist improvisor, as he did not set much of the concerto down on page, for a a few years.

And of course, we can hear Mozart’s influence as well, but let’s especially listen, to the last three minutes, which Lang Lang delivered masterfully, last Monday.

And to me, this poetic melody evokes a beautiful loving fairy, twirling in the air.


Isn’t it just amazingly beautiful ?

The second piece, we listened to last Monday, is the world famous Symphony No. 5, sometimes called the “Fate” Symphony. It is way more solemn of course, and the first movement, is the most recognized by all, and not just by classical music fans.

Yet, I enjoy even more, the second movement; bucolic in nature at the beginning, which then turns stately, before morphing back again, to sizzling poetry, and back again to majestic expressions.

Let’s take a listen:

Isn’t it simply glorious?


But let’s take a look at the man again, in all his complexities:

Let’s watch the trailer of this moving movie, about Beethoven’s life, entitled “Immortal Beloved” (1995) by Rose:

Beethoven, as you can see, was an unusually refined and complex character, capable of astounding expressive artistic feats, and not only musically, but also as a writer, and poet.

Let’s read some of Beethoven’s utmost romantic letters, written in the spring of his adulthood. The letters are known as “The Immortal Beloved Letters”.

And while there are no certainties regarding who this “Immortal Beloved” was; some experts believe Giulieta Guicciardi, or Thereza von Brunswick, or Amalia Seebald or Antonie Brentano, might has been this mystery lady, as all of these women were known, to have been the object of Beethoven’s affection, at one time or another.

Yet, the mystery still remains about her identity.

How powerful!

Let’s read and dream:

July 6, in the morning

My angel, my all, my very self – Only a few words today and at that with pencil (with yours) – Not till tomorrow will my lodgings be definitely determined upon – what a useless waste of time – Why this deep sorrow when necessity speaks – can our love endure except through sacrifices, through not demanding everything from one another; can you change the fact that you are not wholly mine, I not wholly thine – Oh God, look out into the beauties of nature and comfort your heart with that which must be – Love demands everything and that very justly – thus it is to me with you, and to your with me. But you forget so easily that I must live for me and for you; if we were wholly united you would feel the pain of it as little as I – My journey was a fearful one; I did not reach here until 4 o’clock yesterday morning. Lacking horses the post-coach chose another route, but what an awful one; at the stage before the last I was warned not to travel at night; I was made fearful of a forest, but that only made me the more eager – and I was wrong. The coach must needs break down on the wretched road, a bottomless mud road. Without such postilions as I had with me I should have remained stuck in the road. Esterhazy, traveling the usual road here, had the same fate with eight horses that I had with four – Yet I got some pleasure out of it, as I always do when I successfully overcome difficulties – Now a quick change to things internal from things external. We shall surely see each other soon; moreover, today I cannot share with you the thoughts I have had during these last few days touching my own life – If our hearts were always close together, I would have none of these. My heart is full of so many things to say to you – ah – there are moments when I feel that speech amounts to nothing at all – Cheer up – remain my true, my only treasure, my all as I am yours. The gods must send us the rest, what for us must and shall be – 

Your faithful LUDWIG

Evening, Monday, July 6

You are suffering, my dearest creature – only now have I learned that letters must be posted very early in the morning on Mondays to Thursdays – the only days on which the mail-coach goes from here to K. – You are suffering – Ah, wherever I am, there you are also – I will arrange it with you and me that I can live with you. What a life!!! thus!!! without you – pursued by the goodness of mankind hither and thither – which I as little want to deserve as I deserve it – Humility of man towards man – it pains me – and when I consider myself in relation to the universe, what am I and what is He – whom we call the greatest – and yet – herein lies the divine in man – I weep when I reflect that you will probably not receive the first report from me until Saturday – Much as you love me – I love you more – But do not ever conceal yourself from me – good night – As I am taking the baths I must go to bed – Oh God – so near! so far! Is not our love truly a heavenly structure, and also as firm as the vault of heaven?

Good morning, on July 7

Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us – I can live only wholly with you or not at all – Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits – Yes, unhappily it must be so – You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart – never – never – Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. And yet my life in V is now a wretched life – Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men – At my age I need a steady, quiet life – can that be so in our connection? My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day – therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once – Be calm, only by a clam consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm – love me – today – yesterday – what tearful longings for you – you – you – my life – my all – farewell. Oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.

ever thine

ever mine

ever ours

Aren’t all of these letters, just breathtakingly romantic?


Now, let’s get back to Beethoven’s music, to discover the timelessness and immense breadth of expression, from Beethoven; let’s listen to three other masterful pieces:

The first one, is another achingly beautiful melody, which expresses his heart’s longing feelings, in such a simple, effective, and romantic way. Some experts also think, that this sonata was dedicated to his “Immortal Beloved”.

How wonderful!

Let’s listen and dream away:

And now, let’s listen to another piece, which starts off very peacefully, builds slowly, until at 6:55, it turns downright, into a jazzy tune; which I am sure, Gershwin knew about, and just adored:

Let’s listen to it, played with incredible soul, by Arrau.


Finally, this third piece by Beethoven, was only published 40 years after his death, and is, his most iconic work.

It is a short piece for the piano, of light and mellow character, called a bagatelle. Deeply melodic, and filled with a nostalgic feeling, it has become world famous. And once again, Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved”, inspired this piece; and her identity, although there are various theories; to this day, still remains a mystery.

How romantic!

Let’s now listen to this masterpiece; and let’s especially listen to the middle section, which is so incredibly beautiful:

And Beethoven, although madly in love with his “Immortal Beloved”, did not marry.

And I think of course, that although, he was so taken with his “Beloved Immortal”, because of the conservative nature of his times, no possibilities of such a union, were opening up for them.

If I had been his friend, I would have told him, that in my mind, determination when faced with obstacles is key; as is, absolute faith, in the universe’s plan for us. And most importantly, that if someone is supposed to be yours, he/she will be; and that free will, and universe’s plan, work alongside each other. And free will, always needs to be displayed, in a way that is optimistic, positive, enthusiastic, truthful of one’s heart desires; and yet, also; respectful of one’s duties; and that of course, sometimes, creates conflicts. Yet, I believe karma, always responds to purity of intentions; and sometimes, you get a second chance at making something work; sometimes not. Nothing is ever certain, in terms of the way, it will physically manifest. But love always wins, anyway; always; whatever shape it takes; and one, always needs to be grateful for love, and for its beautiful nature. And patience and serenity are key.

As this beautiful “hymn to love” states:

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.

And I would have suggested, showering his “Immortal Beloved”, with wonderful demonstrations of love, of various types.

And of course, why not share with Beethoven, works of various centuries.

Way more fun that way!

But first, German poetry from his time, of course, comes to mind:

Why not this “Roman Elegy” by Goethe:

Beloved, don’t fret that you gave yourself so quickly!

Believe me, I don’t think badly or wrongly of you.

The arrows of Love are various: some scratch us,

And our hearts suffer for years from their slow poison.

But others strong-feathered with freshly sharpened points

Pierce to the marrow, and quickly inflame the blood.

In the heroic ages, when gods and goddesses loved,

Desire followed a look, and joy followed desire.

Do you think the Goddess of Love was calm for long

Once Anchises attracted her in the groves of Ida?

If Luna had waited to kiss her beautiful sleeper,

Ah, then envious Dawn would have woken him swiftly.

Hero saw her Leander at a loud feast, at once

Her hot lover leapt out into the midnight flood.

Rhea Silvia the royal maiden went to the Tiber

To draw water, and the God captured her there.

So Mars conceived his sons! – And so a she-wolf

Suckled twins, so Rome became Queen of the World.

How wonderfully imaginative and romantic, is it not?

Or, while on the topic of myths, why not speak of the beautiful love of Daphnis for Chloe: A tender tale describing eager young love, Daphnis and Chloe tells the story of these two charming heroes, discovered separately, two years apart; alone and exposed on a Greek mountainside. Taken in by a goatherd and a shepherd respectively, and raised near the town of Mytilene, they grow to maturity unaware of one another’s existence – until the mischievous god of love, Eros, creates in them a sudden overpowering desire for one another. A masterpiece among early Greek romances, attracting both high praise and moral disapproval, this work has proved an enduringly fertile source of inspiration for musicians, writers and artists from Henry Fielding to Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Maurice Ravel. 

Let’s take a look at a beautiful ballet, set to Ravel’s wonderful music:

Or let’s listen to Ravel’s “Daphnis and Chloe”, in this wonderful theme for Preminger’s 1944 film, entitled “Laura”:

Or let’s read this beautiful poem by Schiller, which is translated here, in French, which also celebrates Laura:

Le ravissement

“Laura, il me semble que je m’élance autour de ce monde, que je me plonge dans les rayons d’un ciel de printemps, quand ton regard répand sa flamme sur mon regard. Il me semble que je respire l’air éthéré quand mon image se reflète dans le céleste azur de tes beaux yeux.

Je crois entendre la harpe du paradis, la mélodie des astres, et ma muse s’abandonne à d’amoureux transports quand ton accent harmonieux s’échappe de ta bouche charmante.

Je vois les Amours agiter leurs ailes, les arbres émus frémir derrière toi, comme aux accords de la lyre d’Orphée; et les pôles tournent rapidement autour de moi, lorsque, dans l’essor du bal, ton pied sa balance comme une vague légère.

Quand tes regards sont animés par l’Amour, ils pourraient donner la vie au marbre et faire palpiter le rocher. Mes rêves deviennent une réalité quand je puis lire dans tes yeux, Laura, ma Laura!”

Or from 2004 “Phantom of the Opera” film, by Schumacher, Beethoven could also, have sang this song to his “Immortal Beloved”.

Or from 2005 “Pride and Prejudice” by Wright, Beethoven could have expressed also, the following:

Or from 1994 “Little Women” film by Armstrong, Beethoven could have also behaved as follows:

Or from 2006 “The Lake House” film by Agresti, Beethoven could have also decided to do this:

Or, Beethoven could have sang these songs, for his “Immortal Beloved” by Gershwin, and sang beautifully by Ella, of course:

Or this one:

Or this third song:

Or Beethoven could have made his “Immortal Beloved” laugh, with wonderful performances, from unbelievably funny and silly comedians:

Or from Reisen’s 1941 “The Big Store” film:

Anyway, as always I get carried away!

But how wonderful to dream!

So to start ending this long and imaginative post, mostly about Beethoven’s genius, let’s finally listen to two wonderful pieces, that still resonate today; to demonstrate one last time, some of Beethoven’s timeless works:

Let’s first, listen to a recent “flashmob” of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”: I love how his music brings everyone together, and creates such glee:


And finally, I want to end this long, joyful, and happy post, with this last piece; a recent remix of Beethoven’s 5th symphony, which is so modern and fun you won’t be disappointed!

Get your dance shoes on!

Pretend you are Rita dancing with Glenn, to dance even more beautifully, if needed.

Brace yourselves, as it is irresistible, and so fun!!!

I just love it!






Eternal butterflies 😊