HumanitiesWeb.org - Ludwig van Beethoven - A Sense of Destiny [Quotations]
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Ludwig van Beethoven
Quotations



"Beethoven can write music, thank God, but he can do nothing else on earth."
 
"I despise a world which does not feel that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy."
 
"It seems I could wrest my ideas from nature herself with my own hands, as I go walking in the woods. They come to me in the silence of the night or in the early morning, stirred into being by moods which the poet would translate into words, but which I put into sounds -- and these go through my head swinging and singing and storming until at last I have them before me as notes."
 
"Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents."
 
"Music is the meditation between the intellectual and the sensuous life."
 
"Music is the only bodiless entry into a higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind, but is not comprehended by it."
 
"Music is the wine which inspires one to new generative processes, and I am Bacchus who presses out this glorious wine for mankind and makes them spiritually drunken."
 
"Music should strike fire from the heart of man and bring tears to the eyes of woman."
 
"True art endures forever, and the true artist delights in the works of great minds."
 
"Musicians take all the liberties they can."
 
"I alter some things, eliminate and try again until I am satisfied. Then begins the mental working out of this material in its breadth, its narrowness, its height and depth. "
 
"Provided one can feel the music, one can also make the pianoforte sing. "
 
"When, occasionally, I decided to ignore my infirmity, ah, how cruelly I was then driven back by the doubly sad experience of my poor hearing, yet I could not find it in myself to say to people: 'Speak louder, shout, for I am deaf!' Ah, how could I possibly have referred to the weakening of a sense which ought to be more perfectly developed in me than in other people, a sense which I once possessed in the greatest perfection, to a degree which certainly few of my profession possess or have ever possesed."
 
"Only the flint of man's soul can strike fire in music."
 
"Every real creation of art is independent, more powerful than the artist himself, and returns to the divine through its manifestation. It is one with man only in this, that it bears testimony to the mediation of the divine in him."
 
"Freedom above all!"
 
"I will seize Fate by the throat; it shall certainly not bend and crush me completely."
 
"Of all my children, this is the one that cost me the worst birth-pangs and brought me the most sorrow; and for that reason it is the one most dear to me."
- to his friend Anton Schindler about Fidelio
 
"Handel, to him I bow the knee."
 
"I carry my thoughts about with me for a long time... before writing them down... once I have grasped a theme. I shall not forget it even years later. I change many things, discard others, and try again and again until I am satisfied; then, in my head... [the work] rises, it grows, I hear and see the image n front of me from every angle... and only the labor of writing it down remains... I turn my ideas into tones that resound, roar, and rage until at last they stand before me in the form of notes."
 
"Rossini would have been a great composer if his teacher had spanked him enough on his backside. "
 
"Strange, I feel as if up to now I had written no more than a few notes. "
- On his deathbed
 
"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom or philosophy."
 
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