madshutterbug (madshutterbug) wrote,

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Last weekend when I drove to Orlando, I listened as long as possible to the local NPR station. It being a Saturday, the morning info/news show ran on a bit longer than weekdays, fine by me. One feature caught my attention in particular because of the topic and how they handled it. Titled CSI: Beethovin, it is a story looking at and investigating how, why, and when Beethovin went deaf.

Now, Beethovin is one of my favourite composers. My Dad didn't particularly like him because according to Dad, Beethovin shouted at him. I don't agree totally with that interpretation, but I accept it. Some of Beethovin's pieces are intended to be rather loud. Then again, Beethovin was going deaf. Likewise, so was my Dad, though not to the extent that happened to Beethovin. Dad's loss of hearing is directly attributable to industrial noise. He made automobiles.

The CSI Beethovin article (found here: ) combines the work of several people, but the two that stand out for me are the conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Martin Alsop, and Dr. Charles Limb, from the Department of Otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Otolaryngology is a fancy way to say Ear Nose Throat, and Dr. Limb is a foremost authority on deafness. The goal of the program is to look hard, as hard as possible, at the reasons Beethovin went deaf, while asking other questions. Could his deafness be prevented, or cured, today? How did his deafness affect his life? Most importantly, would he be the composer, the artist he is, if he hadn't been deaf.

It's pretty well accepted, for example, that Beethovin was completely deaf when his 9th Symphony debuted. It's recorded that he became quite angry with the orchestra when they would not follow his commands to continue into the 2nd Movement, until the First Violinist turned him around to see the standing ovation the audience gave him.

My own involvement in exploring Healing Art also brings me to wonder about this: people who promote their own healing and recovery by creating art, much of it incorporating imagery which comes from their illness and treatment.

Following the trail, as it were, over to the NPR web site brought me to more Beethovin features. You can no doubt guess this also led to additional thoughts, which I will inflict upon you. Correct. The next feature I followed on was titled "Why Do We Love the Moonlight Sonata" with the article found here:

Yes, the Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Opus 27, No. 2 (Most commonly called the Moonlight Sonata) is one of my favourite pieces, by any of the many people who've played it. It's one of the best known of Beethovin's works as well, for the opening triplet. There are five recorded versions available to listen to associated with this article. However, all five of them are only the first movement. A piano sonata, much like a poem sonata, is comprised of three parts (movements in the case of music, verses for the poem, a rose is a rose is a rose). Listening to only one-third of the piece is... lacking. Dissapointing. Leaves the listener with a disquieting sense of Starvation.

Beethovin wasn't quite deaf when he composed this piece. Beethovin also doesn't have much to do with what's going to wrap up this little essay either, other than his being deaf.

I don't watch the Superbowl. Pro football doesn't much interest me; everyone who's playing is supposed to be very good (they're Pros, after all), and it just doesn't much interest me. So I don't watch the Superbowl. Not even because of the ads, though I usually do like a lot of those ads. Since it's such a big deal, being the Superbowl and all, a lot of energy goes into making those ads, and often they are amongst the best of the Best.

This year is no exception. I've not seen them all, but I believe I've found the one that stands above all the rest for me. There's no sound in it at all. It's simply great theatre, which also sells a product.

Bob's House:

The Making Of Bob's House:

Tags: art, hearing loss, music

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