Beethoven comes alive!

July 25, 2008 at 2:03 am (Music) ()

Recently, Ron and I were listening to Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, often called The Pastoral. In the fourth movement, the music seeks to evoke the sound and fury of a thunderstorm. Now this is Beethoven, mind you, and in this particular passage, the music alone is very effective. But last night, Ludwig got some incredibly well timed assistance from Mother Nature. Just as the music was agitating its way toward a stormy climax, there came a loud peel of thunder!

Storms had been predicted for that day – they’ve been predicted for almost every day in the last week or so, but often they haven’t materialized. This time, one did – and its arrival could not have been more precisely timed!

I was downstairs on the computer; Ron was in the kitchen. After the low frequency rumbling finally subsided, we looked at each other in amazement. “What just happened!” I exclaimed. But of course, I knew – we both did.

In The Reason for God, in a section of the text called “The Clue of Beauty,” Timothy Keller quotes Leonard Bernstein as follows:

“‘Beethoven…turned out pieces of breathtaking rightness. Rightness-that’s the word! When you get the feeling that whatever note succeeds the last is the only possible note that can rightly happen at that instant, in that context, then chances are you’re listening to Beethoven….Our boy has the real goods, the stuff from Heaven, the power to make you feel at t he finish: Something is right in the world. There is something that checks throughout, that follows its own law consistently: something we can trust, that will never let us down.’

BTW, we were listening to a wonderful performance by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and The Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

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