In science, if you don't do it, somebody else will. Whereas in art, if Beethoven didn't compose the 'Ninth Symphony,' no one else before or after is going to compose the 'Ninth Symphony' that he composed; no one else is going to paint 'Starry Night' by van Gogh.
Beethoven and Wagner for many years wrung our hearts. But now we are sated with them and derive much greater pleasure from ideally combining the noise of streetcars, internal-combustion engines, automobiles, and bust crowds than from rehearsing, for example, the 'Eroica' or the 'Pastorale'...away! les ust be gone, since we shall not much longer succeed in restraining a desire to create a new musical realism by a generous distribution of sonorous blows and slaps, leaping numbly over violins, pianofortes, contrabasses, and groaning organs, Away!
I suppose I have become a sort of living monument in Portugal. But I come from a family with roots all over the world, so the idea of patriotism is not very strong in me. My country is the country of Chekhov, Beethoven, Velasquez - writers I like, painters and artists I admire.
If you mess up the tiniest little thing in the Beethoven concerto, or the phrasing isn't just exactly perfectly executed, Beethoven brings out the worst in the best violinist. You almost never hear a satisfying performance, because it doesn't play itself.
We live in the least ugly time in history. If you look at back when Beethoven was writing, half the kids were dying, mothers were dying at childbirth, there were more wars going on then than there are now. People wrote the most beautiful things during the ugliest times.
You've been listening to the adagio from Beethoven's 7th Symphony. I think Ludwig pretty much summed up death in this one. You know, he had lost just about all his hearing when he wrote it, and I've often wondered if that didn't help him tune into the final silence of the great beyond.