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Op-Ed: Celebrating Beethoven at 250

The following op-ed is written by Christian Miller, a Ft. Wright-based consultant

2020 has been an ebb and flow of uncontrollable feelings of being at peace but also being in frenzy panics of what is coming next. The urge to throw in the towel has been all too real for many. The stress from the outside world can be enough to make you feel trapped with nowhere to go. However, there is one thing that has kept many of us sane and hopeful for a better tomorrow and that is, music. Whether you were constantly waiting for the next thing in pop, or you were basking in the remastered jazz and bluegrass albums, even some of us counting down the minutes to at home classical concerts from empty venues across the world. Music is getting us through it, music is giving us hope, music is helping us escape reality. 

Music as we know it today would not be possible if it wasn’t for one of the most influential people in our world’s history. That man is none other than Ludwig Van Beethoven, the artist that forever changed what it meant to play, listen, react, and love music. What better way to recognize it than on his 250th birthday. Beethoven’s contributions rarely go missed when surrounded by a cohort of other purveyors of classical music. But Beethoven also must be recognized for nearly every genre of music and how we listen to it today.

December of 1770 is when Beethoven was born, and I am sure at this time no one knew how he would forever change the world. It wasn’t until he was 24 that he performed his Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major that launched him into the eye of the world as a virtuoso and compelling artist. Once the world was watching Beethoven continued to impress with his reworking of a structure of not only a symphony but the organization of an orchestra. His fifth symphony continues to still remain number one as the most recognizable symphonies in our history, and his Bagatelle in A minor, now coined at ‘Fur Elise’ is the first piano piece played by almost every piano student in the country, and world. 

His contributions don’t end at his pieces just being incredibly popular and recognizable. We look at elements from his early piano sonatas and works that give us a glimpse into what Jazz is today. The riffs and harmonic combinations that give us the warm feeling we have all come to know and love. His masterful Ninth Symphony includes choral elements that had never been heard before and are still being used today. 

Music is the one art form that transcends it all. Music is not limited to barriers that other art forms experience. Music has the ability to inspire, to heal, and to empathize. Without music, our world would be nothing. Without Beethoven music today would be unrecognizable. His contributions will forever live on and his life memorialized. Happy Birthday Ludwig, thank you!

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