Holiday Studies

We are closing in quickly on Christmas.  My tree isn’t up.  I haven’t wrapped a thing….I HAVE baked up a bazillion cookies…..I told you that Thursdays sneak up on me… and this one snuck right past me.  I could share with you the list of reasons why… but they might sound like complaints…. and really you don’t need to know why have bought stock in Ocean Spray.

I am neck deep in Sheep for Sunday’s Christmas Pageant….and my couch is covered in laundry.  clean laundry… Pretty normal for this time of year. 

Hopefully you are doing better in the decoration and laundry department than I am.

We are plugging along for the month of December… still working on Beethoven. I know it seems like forever we have been studying him, but I want the process to be thoughtful and not just whizzed through to say we have covered this composer.  I want there to be a lasting impression, an identification of who these men are and the lives the lived in a time far removed from our own.

Today is actually Beethoven’s Birthday.  Maybe that is why the post is a day late?  So I could share that with you on the actual day. ( ok… I am reaching…lol)

We studied this week about how Beethoven met Mozart. Mozart felt Beethoven a wee bit passé until he dazzled him with his improvisation skills.  That is what caused Mozart to take notice of this young musician.  Beethoven, he didn’t care much for Mozart either.  Thought that he played a bit “choppy”.   Maybe both of these boys needed a Midol the day they met.  The book made them sound like cranky teenage girls that couldn’t get along.

Beethoven rushed home from Vienna to tend to his dying mother. After she passed, then his littlest sister did as well.  The boughts of depression that plagued Beethoven began after this time in his life.  He was 17.  We left our studies this week as  Beethoven was the figurative head of the family.  He now needed to find a way to support his father and siblings.  Music would have to be the way.

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Beethoven helps us be thankful

Happy Thursday!  Thursdays sort of sneak up on me.  I realize there is one in every week, but we have such full days on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s, Thursday’s are a calm after the storm sort of day. One of those days I would love to stay in bed for longer…..  But alas….that never seems to happen.

I guess I should stop blathering, and get back to what we have been doing in our study of Beethoven.  We are beginning to leave the tragedy of his early years and progress on to a time in his life where he began to perform out side of the home.  At the ripe old age of 10 he was composing.  He was writing music his hands were too small to play, yet he knew he would grow and play them later. 

He was beginning to astound people with his ability to read and play the most difficult of musical scores at first sight. At 14 his father’s voice, the chief source of income for the family was gone.  The responsibility now fell to Beethoven to earn a living for his family. 

At 14?  Times are so different now, any given 14 year old now, in affluent western culture, would be hard pressed to earn a living for their family.  As we studied this week we compared and contrasted Beethoven’s childhood with Hunters.  Very few similarities seemed to be found.  It gave Hunter an opportunity to list a few differences that he was thankful for.

This picture is courtesy of the SJSU website, Beethoven is preforming for his friends in an intimate setting.  Everyone looks so pensive and thoughtful.  Listen to this:  Violin Concerto in D Major Opus 61 by Beethoven.  See if you think it “feels” pensive and thoughtful. As if you could sit on the edge of the ocean, staring into the horizon as the sun sets, and review the tides of emotion in your day, your month, your year, perhaps even your life.

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More Beethoven

I feel a bit like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland today.  I have had a case of Life Happens over here and I have been rushing around, feeling very behind on my growing list of things to do.  I sort of forgot that it was Thursday. 

Hopefully you will forgive my lateness and join in and share how you are studying your way through the composers.

As I suspected, this week’s reading was slightly less melancholy, with the exception of how his father and teacher would come home drunk, roust Ludwig out of bed and set him to playing music lessons through the night.  I like my sleep.  The thought of children being woken needlessly makes me sad.

Did you know they changed Beethoven’s age?  His father pronounced him two years younger than he was, so people would marvel at his amazingness.  By the age of 14 he was to be the sole support of the family.

So, how does it go with your composer?

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