Beethoven Pathetique Sonata, 2nd Movement
Beethoven was my introduction to Classical Music, as a young man, my first love really. I’ve always associated his music with adolescence, and I mean that in a positive way.
Beethoven challenges you, constantly. He is ebullient, full of energy, and sometimes rage and fury. But he can also be soft, gentle, even tender. And he is always honest, rigorously honest. His music will always tell you how he feels.
I think it is that energy together with that honesty, that so appealed to me as a young man, and I’d always recommend starting out a voyage into classical music with Beethoven as a guide.
Beethoven pushed music as an art-form further than anyone before, or probably since. His influence is everywhere, particularly in the flood of great composers who came in his wake. Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Wagner, these composers (and many more) venerated Beethoven, and you can hear Beethoven in their work.
He is almost certainly the most influential composer who ever lived.
And then, as if all that energy and innovation wasn’t enough, Beethoven gave us his late period.
Much of the music from this last period sounds out of this world, as if it comes from another universe. It is intimate, and at the same time universal. Beethoven was my first love, and has remained over the years one of the closest of musical companions.