Consider this the tale of two Beethovens.
On Wednesday afternoon, on a glorious Fall day, with the afternoon sun accentuating the brightest leaf colors of the season yet, I went for a short run in Roland Park, before picking up my three boys from school. Into my ears the headphones were transporting the sounds of the "real" Beethoven, his Op. 132 String Quartet, which I had just started rehearsing with my colleagues, and which we will be playing on November 21st at the Chamber Music by Candlelight series in Guilford (more on that as the date approaches). It is one of his late quartets, at times simple, almost childish, at times complex and deep, and of considerable length. The choice of music, any music, you might be surprised, was an unusual one for me (and some of my fellow professional musicians) : we are often so saturated in music that to not listen to it can be rather relaxing. I am much more likely to listen to some of my favorite radio podcasts (isn't that one of the best inventions of late?), then to job to a music beat. However, other than the obvious reason that I needed to learn from this piece, and listening to it helps that process quite a bit, I realized there was another reason: I was in need of some real, pure Beethoven. More on that in my next entry.