On December 16, 1770, the great composer Ludwig Von Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany. At least we’re reasonably certain he was born on the 16th. No one knows for certain, but that’s the date we’re going with.
Beethoven made a major impact on Western music, taking elements of the Baroque and Classical eras, mixing them in with new musical ideas, and helping to usher in the Romantic era.
I’ve always been partial to the the Fifth Symphony, Für Elise and Ode to Joy, among others. He was a truly impressive artistic figure, in part because he composed such great music even after he lost his hearing, and also for the fact that he produced music often that was so often spiritually transcendent and expressed the soaring joy of the human experience when, as all portraits of him would indicate, that he was very possibly the sort of guy who never cracked a smile in his life.
But I always remember that December 16 is Beethoven’s birthday because I grew up reading lots of Peanuts comics, and Schroeder was always counting down with excitement to Beethoven’s birthday.
One of these years, I’ll celebrate it in style, as he always has…with a nice party that ends with a listening to the Ninth Symphony.
You might be asking yourself, “what’s all this stuff about Beethoven?” Well, the truth is that Wednesday being Beethoven’s birthday was possibly the most notable thing I can say about the day. Our experience here was pretty common, and as happens every now and then along this journey, sometimes I find myself having days that get by me with no pictures, no big thoughts or lessons, and no funny stories. Just life as it is, and that is pretty good too.
In the end, the small, unconsidered stuff is just as important as the big flashy things. Even in the context of Beethoven, Für Elise was basically a throwaway sketch that he never thought twice about, but it ends up being one of his most remembered and beloved pieces.
All days are part of the symphony. Some are just louder and more dramatic than others. So celebrate what each day has to offer, even if it’s the birth of a grouchy old German composer. But, please celebrate respectfully and appropriately.