November 12th, 2014


I Love Ludwig

I was preparing supper, Vladimir Askenazy was sitting on the dishwasher playing the piano- and Ailz comes downstairs and says "Will you turn that down; it's banging off the walls up here."

"But it's Beethoven. It's "The Moonlight Sonata".

I will admit to sulking.

I have fallen in love with Beethoven. I was reading something the other day (I can't for the life of me think what it was) but it featured a demon whose job it was to depress the human race. Specifically, he was in the business of flattening music- by taking the joy out of it. (No I don't know how he did it either.) He could flatten pop and rock and most classical composers without any difficulty but, he admitted, he couldn't flatten Beethoven. And that gets to the heart of it, I think.  Beethoven is too authentic to flatten. There's no bombast, no sentimentality about him- nothing for a flattening demon to get hold of and work with.  He pours out his emotion- freely, uninhibitedly- and it's never meretricious, never bogus, never purely for effect.

This morning Ailz presented me with a headset. "There," she said, "You can play your music as loud as you like."