Happy 240th Birthday, Beethoven!

by Vicky on December 16, 2010

My husband Stuart was reading Beethoven’s Hair: An Extraordinary Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved, by Russell Martin. (And raving about it, too, by the way.)  It is an extraordinary tale, and I’m dying to read it now.

Beethoven’s hair survived for DNA testing because it was well sealed in a frame by one of its owners, and then it narrowly survived incineration by the Nazis.  DNA and physical analysis of the hair revealed much about Beethoven’s physical condition, thus answering many questions that have persisted since his death.

Anyway, he (Stuart) needed a haircut, but he wanted me to take a photo of him with the book first.  That’s when we discovered that Stuart is Ludwig’s Doppelgänger.

Then he decided that he didn’t want a haircut after all.

Long before Facebook, with its birthday reminders, all of my musician friends tended to remember my birthday, because it’s close to Beethoven’s.  So I would get lots of birthday greetings on Beethoven’s birthday, December 16th.  As a matter of fact, my birthday was yesterday, the 15th, and I was lucky enough to be playing concerts Tuesday and yesterday…along with another one coming up on Saturday.

I told my musical partner, Linda, that getting to play music with her is the best birthday present I could wish for.

I love the way my latest READ poster turned out, and this is a good time of year to be reminded of Beethoven’s prediction in his Ninth Symphony: Alle Menschen werden Brüder (All mankind become brothers).

This December, that prediction feels just as far distant as it must have seemed to Beethoven in 1824 when he penned these words for his final complete symphony.

But Beethoven’s music—and Music itself—will always keep the hope alive.

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