Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

An artist at work: Ludwig van Beethoven

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I arrived at the master’s home in Mödling. It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon. As soon as we entered we learned that in the morning both servants had gone away, and that there had been a quarrel after midnight which had disturbed all the neighbors, because as a consequence of a long vigil both had gone to sleep and the food that had been prepared had become unpalatable. In the living-room, behind a locked door, we heard the master singing parts of the fugue in the Credo—singing, howling, stamping. After we had been listening a long time to this almost awful scene, and were about to go away, the door opened and Beethoven stood before us with distorted features, calculated to excite fear. He looked as if he had been in mortal combat with the whole host of contrapuntists, his everlasting enemies. His first utterances were confused, as if he had been disagreeably surprised at our having overheard him. Then he reached the day’s happenings and with obvious restraint he remarked “Pretty doings, these, everybody has run away and I haven’t had anything to eat since yesternoon!”

Anton Schindler, biographer of Ludwig van Beethoven

Written by nevalalee

June 4, 2011 at 7:38 am

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