My Conversation with Ludwig van Beethoven
Arshak Andriasov: Thank you. Mr. Beethoven, for taking the time to speak with me. I think most people will want to find out what does music mean to you?
Ludwig van Beethoven: “Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.”
Arshak Andriasov: Would you say this is the main reason why you were so misunderstood?
Ludwig van Beethoven: “O, you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me. You do not know the secret cause which makes me seem that way to you, and I would have ended my life – it was only my art that held me back.”
Arshak Andriasov: I would like to thank you from all composers and audiences for breaking through and not committing suicide. I cannot even imagine composing without hearing. How did it truly feel to be deaf?
Ludwig van Beethoven: “When somewhat at a distance, I cannot hear the high tones of instruments, voices. Often, I can scarcely hear any one speaking to me; the tones yes, but not the actual words; yet as soon as any one shouts, it is unbearable. In speaking, it is not surprising that there are people who have never noticed it, for as a rule I am absent-minded, and they account for it in that way.”
Arshak Andriasov: It definitely must have been a tough life.
Ludwig van Beethoven: “I must confess that I lead a miserable life. For almost two years, I have ceased to attend any social functions, just because I find it impossible to say to people, ‘I am deaf.’ If I had any other profession, I might be able to cope with my infirmity; but in my profession, it is a terrible handicap.”
Arshak Andriasov: Were you ever content with your work?
Ludwig van Beethoven: “The true artist is not proud: he unfortunately sees that art has no limits; he feels darkly how far he is from the goal, and though he may be admired by others, he is sad not to have reached that point to which his better genius only appears as a distant, guiding sun. It seemed unthinkable for me to leave the world forever before I had produced all that I felt called upon to produce.”
Arshak Andriasov: But people should never lose interest and hope even if life is not eternal.
Ludwig van Beethoven: “Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us, and never stop learning.”
Arshak Andriasov: What inspired you to compose?
Ludwig van Beethoven: “I have never thought of writing for reputation and honor. What I have in my heart must come out; that is the reason why I compose.”
Arshak Andriasov: Which advice would you give our readers?
Ludwig van Beethoven: “It is my wish that you may have a better and freer life than I have had. Recommend virtue to your children; it alone, not money, can make them happy. I speak from experience; this was what upheld me in time of misery.”
Arshak Andriasov: Thank you so much for your time. Your life has been such a difficult one but your perseverance made it possible for us to listen to your beautiful music. Let us all push through obstacles to bring beauty to the world in every field possible.