Beethoven’s music continues to be transcendent

love-opera-victoria-baker“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy” said the great Beethoven.

His music was indeed more profound than any other medium. On March 23 and 24 the Greenwich Choral Society and Stamford Symphony will join forces to present Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The Greenwich Choral Society led by Maestro Paul Mueller, a conductor I admire very much, was founded in 1925 with only 30 singers.

Today they are over 120 singers strong and well equipped to handle the challenges of Beethoven’s Ninth. Music Director of the Stamford Symphony Eckart Preu is thrilled by the prospect of performing this inspiring music; everything bodes well for a rousing performance. For tickets and more information please call 203.325.4466 or

Beethoven is a transition figure in the history of western music. He is generally known as the father of the Romantic era. However, during his first period most of his compositions were classical in nature. In 1800 Beethoven is reported to have written to a friend “I am not very well satisfied with the work I have thus far done. From this day on I shall take a new way.”

He then abandoned the classical forms of the previous century and began a new musical voice. This period, which later became known as the “Heroic Period” because of the larger than life nature that his compositions took on, saw the creations of such masterpieces as the TempestSonata, the Eroica Symphony, his only opera Fidelio and the 5th Piano Concerto. Some say that this middle period was Beethoven’s greatest, in about a decade he produced countless masterpieces in every genre.

Beethoven’s growing deafness is one of the most talked about aspects of his life. In a famous letter he wrote “how I felt humiliated, if somebody standing right behind me could hear distant flute sounds and I couldn’t hear anything. Such things make me feel devastated and I nearly wanted to end my life, the only thing which stopped me was my art. Truly it seemed to be impossible to leave that world before composing all the pieces I feel the need to compose…”

At the Premiere of Beethoven’s Ninth the composer, facing the orchestra and back turned to the audience, could not hear the thunderous applause that had just erupted. One of the singers had to turn him around so that he could see the passionate response his music had provoked. People always wonder how Beethoven could have continued his musical work while suffering from deafness, my answer is he could feel the music in such an advanced way that his auditory senses became secondary.

Perhaps we can all learn to transcend our five senses and place more emphasis on our emotions…


Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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