Here's a little Beethoven tribute page, with a selection of powerful Beethoven quotes and pictures. Hopefully this sheds some light on the master's personality and thoughts!
I've divided the page into quotes which Beethoven himself said, and quotes which other people said about Beethoven.
"Music, verily, is the mediator between intellectual and sensuous life... the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.", in a letter to Goethe
"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. It is the wine of a new procreation, and I am Bacchus who presses out this glorious wine for mankind and makes them spiritually drunk."
"I always have a picture in my mind when composing, and follow its lines."
"Tones sound and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes."
"I never write a work continuously, without interruption. I am always working on several at the same time, taking up one, then another."
"I am not in the habit of rewriting my compositions. I never did it because I am profoundly convinced that every change of detail changes the character of the whole."
"Beethoven can write music, thank God, but he can do nothing else on earth."
"I have never thought of writing for renown and glory. What I have in my heart must out; that is why I write."
On his deafness:
"How great was the humiliation when one who stood beside me heard the distant sound of a shepherd's pipe, and I heard nothing; or heard the shepherd singing, and I heard nothing. Such experiences brought me to the verge of despair;--but little more and I should have put an end to my life. Art, art alone deterred me."
"I shall seize Fate by the throat; it shall certainly not bend and crush me completely."
"No friend have I. I must live by myself alone; but I know well that God is nearer to me than others in my art, so I will walk fearlessly with Him."
And one of my favorites, in which Beethoven attacks the aristocratic system of his day:
"What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven."
From these we can see that he was an extremely opinionated and strong-minded man, with a powerful passion for music.
I'm not sure of the authenticity of some of these. To be honest some are probably second-hand and distorted. If anyone can verify them please contact me!
"Everything will pass, and the world will perish but the Ninth Symphony will remain." - Michael Bakunin
"A colossus beyond the grasp of most mortals, with his totally uncompromising power, his unsensual and uningratiating way with music as with people." - Yehudi Menuhin
"If anyone has conducted a Beethoven performance, and then doesn't have to go to an osteopath, then there's something wrong. - Sir Simon Rattle, conductor
And to end on a comic note...
"What can you do with it? It's like a lot of yaks jumping about." - Conductor Thomas Beecham, on Beethoven's 7th Symphony
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