Beethoven and Emerson

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lazlo lozla
belief and Religion
February, 13, 13

Beethoven Pastoral Symphony and Emerson’s Nature.

"Nature is a glorious school for the heart! It is well; I shall be a scholar in this school and bring an eager heart to her instruction. Here I shall learn wisdom, the only wisdom that is free from disgust; here I shall learn to know God and find a foretaste of heaven in His knowledge. Among these occupations my earthly days shall flow peacefully along until I am accepted into that world where I shall no longer be a student, but a knower of wisdom." (L.V. Beethoven) The importance of nature for artist’s, poets and musicians was a common ground and dominant influence in the romantic period. Although the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson lived from 1803 to 1882 and the German composer Ludwig Van Beethoven from 1770 to 1827 their admiration and inspiration for nature was parallel.

In 1832 Emerson finished his book Nature, by that time Beethoven had died five years earlier. For Emerson to appreciate nature one must go into an abstract solitude and retire from his world as well as from society in order to get a sense of the sublime. In 1814 Beethoven wrote in a letter to Baroness Von Drossdick “ How happy I am to be able to wander among bushes and herbs, under trees and over rocks; no man can love the country as I love it. Woods, trees and rocks send back the echo that man desires.” Even though Beethoven maintained correspondence affairs and admiration for the Baroness, he lived in solitude dedicated to his musical craft throughout his adulthood; his introverted character and personality are well known and quite extensively documented. Beethoven was a lover of nature who spent a great deal of his time on walks in the country. He frequently left Vienna to work in the countryside. In 1807 he completed his sixth symphony opus 68 “pastoral, it is one of his very compositions written in a...
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