We all know the emotion Beethoven displayed in his music, the fiery intensity. It was unheard of in his day.
We also know the comparison between him and Mozart in regards to composition. Mozart was able to get on a train, a few hours later get off with a whole opera composed in his head. For Beethoven every phrase, every note, was like pulling teeth, a mess of erasures and scribbles on a piece of paper that a copyist would later have to decipher.
He once said, “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” The DMZ. No Man’s Land. The geography of dreams; exiled from Creation, yet also exiled from destruction. Yes, I can see it in the face of Ludwig Michalek’s etching. The rich inner life; beauty, drama, melancholy, depression, and a feeling of being unique.
Haruki Murakami asks in Sputnik Sweetheart, “Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why?” Beethoven might answer: I will fill their souls with an agreeable surprise, gratify their curiosity, and give them ideas of which was not before possessed. My devils will be their angels.
I can hear the words of Samuel Taylor Coleridge when I look at this etching: “Could I revive within me / Her symphony and song, / To such a deep delight 'twould win me, / That with music loud and long, / I would build that dome in air, / That sunny dome! those caves of ice! / And all who heard should see them there, / And all should cry, Beware! Beware! / His flashing eyes, his floating hair!”
Beethoven gives us a chance to experience this beauty and power on a direct feeling level.