Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Holiday Event Involving Ludwig van Beethoven

[Right: Castle5000 in
its holiday splendor]

The L&TM5K invites you to join in an annual holiday tradition -- the Countdown to Beethoven's Birthday! That's right, in the nine days leading up to birthday of the great musical prophet of romanticism and individualism, we'll be listening to his nine symphonies in order. We'll be celebrating art, music, freedom, passion, innovation, tradition, and the really cool noises that can be made by several dozen professional musicians all jamming out simultaneously.

C'mon! It'll be fun! And it all starts on Saturday.


Q: But I have no interest in classical music.
A: Well, that's fair. But maybe you could cultivate an interest? You're an educated person, you're clearly capable of appreciating things that require some attention and patience. It's not like you are going to be lying there on your deathbed thinking, "man, I sure wish I hadn't ever given classical music a chance."

Q: Beethoven is just another dead white European male representative of an exploitative, oppressive cultural hegemony. We should throw off our chains!
A: Indisputably. On the other hand, there's a reason some of this stuff still attracts attention 200 years later. It's incredibly well crafted. It's got a lot of emotional power for a lot of people. It sounds really cool. Might just rock your world.

Q: I don't have time for this sort of thing.
A: And yet you read blogs?

Q: This is stupid.
A: Arguably.

Q: Why symphonies?
A: Well, we're way too late to count down the 32 piano sonatas. Some years I do the five piano concerti. But this year I'm in a symphony mood.

Q: I don't happen to have copies of the Beethoven symphonies on hand.
A: A common problem! Fortunately, our modern age offers many solutions. Unfortunately, an easy-to-find and legal place to download or stream the symphonies for free does not appear to be one of them. I tried.
  • Most readers live in cities with many RECORD STORES. There are many discount classical labels, and you usually get two symphonies on a CD, so this would not be at all exorbitant. I particularly recommend the NAXOS label, on which you could probably get all of the symphonies for around $25.
  • Your local LIBRARY will let you borrow 'em for free.
  • I'm sure ITUNES could hook you up. Or,
  • You could do like michael5000 and join EMUSIC. In fact, you could take advantage of the Emusic "50 free downloads" trial offer, download the 37 movements of the nine symphonies, and have enough tracks left over to snag an old Mountain Goats album. (In fact you could do this, tell them michael5000 sent you, and score me 50 free downloads too. But that's not what this is all about.)
  • You could use devious internet trickses that kind of defy intellectual property laws.
However you're going to do it, you better get on it. We're starting with Beethoven's First tomorrow!

Q: Do you really think anyone's going to do this?
A: Oh, probably not. Maybe a few people will do a few of the days?


fingerstothebone said...

If it's a 'count-down', shouldn't you start with the 9th?

Unknown said...

i knew this itunes library would come in handy. sounds fun. i'm in!

Rex Parker said...

Finally, a use for my complete recordings of the Symphonies (Bernstein, conductor). I'm in.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout-out, michael5000.

Anonymous said...

I was just going to write "I'm in, but I'll have to ask Rex if we have them all." And apparently we do.

Chance said...

I own nearly 800 CDs, and not a single, solitary classical work among them.

Crazy, no? I must be in still be elementary school, one that meets in a secluded cave.

Anyway, I'll get my hands on the symphonies. I'm in.

The [Cherry] Ride said...

What's with his hair? I can't participate based on his scary hair. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for my favorite spot in all Beethoven, the Seventh, especially the movement with the beyooteeful dual cello part (second or third movement? I forget). Cellos = good. Two cello parts = better. Two exquisitely crafted cello parts = better than that. The fact that I'm a cellist I'm sure in no way influences my choice in these matters.

Michael5000 said...

@fingers: And work our way to the ~First~? Surely you jest.

@becky: Sweet! Gotta love the art historians!

@rex: And the literature guys!

@Ludwig: No problem. Sorry about [Cherry]'s abusive personal remark. I'm sure a moderator will be removing it soon.

@Sandy: Terrific! Now, you two don't forget to communicate OUTSIDE of my comments pages too, OK?

@chance: I hate to do this, but there's only one way to say it: LOL!

@[cherry]: I take it you were never into the Cure?

@drschnell: OK! We'll look for that!

mhwitt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mhwitt said...

I like this idea!

However, I am pretty sure I'll diverge from your plan by not listening to them on your one-symphony-per-day schedule. I can pretty much say that I won't be able to carve out the necessary time to listen to them attentively at that clip, and I want to really listen.

mhwitt said...

I'd be game to sign up for eMusic. How do I get you 50 free downloads in the process?

Michael5000 said...

@mhwitt: I had Emusic send you the info. Also: Nice avatar!