Last year marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. Closure of concert halls because of Covid-19 caused the cancellation of many commemorative events that had been planned for years, though some performers scrambled to sell tickets to online performances.
Reading the prose that announced these festivities suggests that Beethoven is typically idolized for something other than his symphonies, piano sonatas, and string quartets. Christian Lorenz, artistic director of the Germany-based Beethoven Anniversary Society, offered his view that "as an individual, 'modern' artist, Beethoven targeted society, in fact humanity as a whole. His musical expression of a utopia where people live together in peace is appealing." For Lorenz, as for many others, Beethoven is a noble champion of radical freedom and glorious progress, a commanding prophet and high priest in the Kingdom of Man.
French-born pianist George Lepauw, founder of the International Beethoven Project, says that Beethoven deserves our attention and admiration because his "ambition was to shake the world, raise consciousness, and bring about a more just humanity." Such goals could be achieved by writing music with the power to "carry the audience to new spheres of emotional heights." Inspired initially by the French Revolution,
THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:
Ken Myers is the host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal. Formerly an arts editor with National Public Radio, he also served as editor of Eternity, the Evangelical monthly magazine, and This World, the quarterly predecessor to First Things. He also serves as music director at All Saints Anglican Church in Ivy, Virginia. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.
calling all readers
"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand
"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."Support Touchstone
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor
• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!
Transactions will be processed on a secure server.
Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.
OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)
Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.
more from the online archives