The ear problem of Beethoven started before he composed 2nd symphony. He was famous as a pianist and composer. But he was not at the top. He was only 26. From that time, until he died at 57, he continued to struggle with the problem. As known, he was completely deaf when he composed his 9th symphony. When the symphony was premiered, “he had to be turned around to see the tumultuous applause of the audience; hearing nothing, he wept.”
Whenever I listen his 9th symphony, I wonder how it sounded to him. He couldn’t hear. It was not from outside. It must be inside of his mind. Vibration of violins. Thundering of timpani. Echoing of horns. What about all the voices? What was the sound he heard?
Recently I watched a performance of 9th symphony by Bernstein and combined orchestra from 6 countries to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. Bernstein was 71. But still he was great. So much energy. He showed the music with his body. He “literally” jumped with joy several times. He died 10 months after this performance. I believe this concert is very close to what Beethoven heard in his mind.
With this beautiful song, I always think two old men. The one who was difficult to hear and the one who was difficult to breathe. But the body problem couldn’t pull away them from their music, their passion.
When you have something that you really love to do, it makes you happy. Nothing can stop you. What you hear in your mind decides what you do with your body.
It is clear that Beethoven and Bernstein, both heard the sound. I envy them. They are really lucky men.