This is part of a larger post reflecting upon my summer. You can find that here!
I’m fanatical about Beethoven (or more affectionately, Baethoven). I’m fairly certain that the music I listened to most frequently this summer were his piano sonatas and symphonies. His music felt like a lens — one that I use to look at his life and the history he lived through, but also one that I use to look within myself. I’m constantly enthralled by Beethoven’s genius, and over the summer, I found myself often wondering when we’d find the next Beethoven in this world. I don’t know; will we ever find someone that brilliant and influential? Today we have music that is either too pleasing to the ear (or too “retinal,” to borrow from Duchamp), or too dissonant, experimental, and avant garde. Hundreds of years ago, Beethoven somehow composed the right balance of pleasing to the ear yet also extremely intellectually deep as to stimulate our minds. He transcended musical eras, improving classical era music by giving it so much more depth through structural, formal, and harmonic innovations, and laying the foundation for the great romantic era composers. On a more personal level, his music inspired me to keep playing piano even after my days of having formal lessons are over. I want to keep exploring his music, and in general, I’m not ready to de-prioritize creating music in my life — I’m auditioning to take a carillon class at Berkeley this fall.