Friday, October 2, 2009

Beethoven's Letters

Beethoven's letter to his Immortal Beloved, 6th July 18__?

Though still in bed,
my thoughts go out to you,
my Immortal Beloved,
now and then joyfully, then sadly,
waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us -

I can live only wholly with you or not at all -
Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you
until I can fly to your arms and say
that I am really at home with you,
and can send my soul enwrapped in you
into the land of spirits -

Yes, unhappily it must be so -
You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you
No one else can ever possess my heart -
never - never -
Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves.

And yet my life in V is now a wretched life -
Your love makes me at once the happiest
and the unhappiest of men -
At my age I need a steady, quiet life -
can that be so in our connection?

My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day
- therefore I must close at once
so that you may receive the letter at once

- Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence
can we achieve our purpose to live together
- Be calm - love me - today - yesterday -
what tearful longings for you -
you - you - my life - my all - farewell.

Oh continue to love me -
never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.

ever thine
ever mine
ever ours


The above is one of three translations I came across of a letter found on Beethoven's desk after his death in 1827. It was dated, simply, 6th July and there is still confusion about the year it was written (perhaps 1811 or 1812) and was it ever posted, or was it returned, unopened?

Beethoven's 'Immortal Beloved' remains a romantic enigma; seven women are suggested on this site. Beethoven dedicated his 'Moonlight Sonata' ("Quasi una fantasia", Op.27 #2), to one of the ladies, Countess Guilietta Guicciardi.

I think he would roll over ('Roll over, Beethoven', Chuck Berry 1956) if he knew that his intimate letters were freely available in greeting cards - and blogs! Guilty! But I do revere him and love playing some of his pieces, particularly his Sonatas.

Also, listen to Poet Laureate, Rita Dove, reading her "Ludwig van Beethoven's Return to Vienna", from her book, 'Sonata Mulattica'.


steven said...

oh alaine - the tormented tumultuous heart of a man laid bare after his demise and to what end? who knows how this played out? how this was meant to be? the resonant phrase "at my age i need a steady, quiet life" .... oh you poor boy, i know your suffering and your longing and most especially the suffering contained in the distance between who you are and who you wish you could be. nice find, nice share alaine. steven

Delwyn said...

Hi Alaine

now this is a tear jerker...what emotion coming from the depths of the depths of longings...

and which is why he was such a fine musician and composer too...

Happy days

Tracy said...

Weak in the knees...such passion! The "abuse" of the greats happems so much--Monet's "waterlilies" are on Christmas ornaments, Klimt's "Kiss" on coffee mugs, Beethoven on Valentine greetings...It's sad in a way, I suppose. But such beauty is meant to be shared. We can only do our best to respect and uphold it all. I've been listening to Beethoven too this week. :o) Happy Weekend, Alaine ((HUGS))

Alaine said...

Steven, Delwyn, Tracy - as we believe, he was never to experience marriage and children.

The utter tragedy is his deafness, which set in at the age of 25 (he died young at 57). His life must have been such misery in his final years but he kept on composing.

Anonymous said...

Hello Alaine.
I love the classics, and he was really a great composer, i enjoy to listen sometimes, all is music work.
You have a fine sensibility, thank´s for sharing this words, i liked very much.
All the best, have a nice day, see you soon.

José Filipe 03-10-2009

Betsy said...

Wow ~ I've never read this before...really, really beautiful!
His life was quite tragic...and yet such gorgeous music!

Alaine said...

Jose, so glad you enjoyed it. Enjoy your day too.

Alaine said...

Betsy, he had a wonderful soul and was a kind man; always there for his family.