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27. Beethoven: 7th Symphony


[…]
Burroughs killing his wife with a gun
Mailer stabbing his
the impossibility of being human
Dostoyevsky lined up against a wall to be shot
Lorca murdered in the road by the Spanish troops
the impossibility
Shakespeare a plagiarist
Beethoven with a horn stuck into his head against deafness
the impossibility the impossibility
[…]
these punks
these cowards
these champions
these mad dogs of glory
moving this little bit of light toward us.

Excerpt from  Beasts Bounding Through Time by Charles Bukowski 


Beethoven was the greatest composer of all time according to many. Beethoven premiered his 7th at a charity concert, to move a little bit of light toward wounded soldiers. That evening he called it his best work so far, and the powerful 2nd movement had to be encored.

Recommended recording:
Carlos Kleiber & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Carlos Kleiber was the greatest conductor of all time according to the BBC. Others say his repertoire was too limited and lacks stuff that legacies are judged by. Carlos was the son of legendary conductor Erich Kleiber. In ’89 he was the predetermined successor of Karajan at the Berlin Philharmonic. It’s a position for life that has no recruitment procedure, other than saying “hell yeah” when they offer it to you.

When they offered Kleiber the job he turned it down. Kleiber only conducted when he felt like it. Or as Karajan stated: “Kleiber only conducts when his fridge is empty.” That rarely happened though. Kleiber was a wanted man with a price on his head. Cars big as bars and rivers of gold were his preferred methods of payment. And even that was no guarantee he would show up. One out of tune triangle was all it took for Carlos to bail without thinking twice.

“I am lost to the world” he said. He wouldn’t have it any other way. The world definitively lost this mad dog of glory on July 13th, 2004. Cancer shortened his life, but his outstanding recordings - including this Beethoven 7th - live on. Great album cover too. Kleiber’s black and white silhouette slowly fading into the dark background. Like he doesn’t belong.

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