Monthly Archive for July, 2011

Beethoven spoke to us through his last symphony

This morning, I had to the pleasure of listening to radio show To the Best of our Knowledge, and show discussed a topic that held my interest since I was an young teenager starting a rock band. The concept of “a song that changed the world” seemed like the ultimate accomplishment any musician could achieve. Later, as I tried to discuss the idea with people, I was discouraged that such a thing was impossible. So, it caught my attention as I turned on NPR while making a late breakfast to hear about this very concept over a decade later that I have all but abandoned.

The entire show The Soundtrack to War and Peace were interviews with various musicians and musicologists discussing just how music has changed socio-political situations. The last segment was an interviewed with author Harvey Sachs who wrote The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824 and discussed on the show Beethoven’s political leanings and philosophical aspirations and how they’re reflected in his last symphony. Sachs stated that Beethoven spoke to all future generations, us, people before and after us, and how we should all get along. This is why he had voice in his symphony, which is very unusual; he wanted to speak to those who do not know how to understand music and explicitly state that all previous men of power, although many admirable, have never done much good for common man. The lyrics of the symphony couldn’t be clearer.