When someone mentions “classical music” or “classical composer”, who do you think of first? If you’re like so many people, it’s Ludwig van Beethoven.
Admired by millions of people worldwide, Beethoven is the iconic symbol of music poised at historic events—from his Fifth Symphony’s four-note motif used by the allies during World War II, to his Ninth Symphony’s Ode to Joy at the breakdown of the Berlin Wall and the revolt in Tiananmen Square.
In people’s minds and hearts, Beethoven was there.
The protagonist of My Interview with Beethoven is George Thompson, an idealistic young news reporter whose dreams and goals have shattered. All that’s left him now is to go through the only door that’s opened to him: meeting Beethoven in Vienna. Beethoven, George was told, is his natural father. So if you asked George, “Why Beethoven?”, here’s what he would have said:
“… a nobler path existed with Beethoven, whose music leaves nothing unsaid or unturned. He awes me still, excites my imagination, soothes my demons, and emboldens me with nerve. I reckoned I would like him, once I met him. He would embrace me as good fathers do, and shake off the rocks and briers from the paths I set for myself. “My interview with Beethoven will happen,” I convinced myself, “and finally my life will be fine—even if I must lie to make that happen.”
Beethoven affected me throughout my life, although I did not realize it most of the time. His therapeutic music and life story of infinite struggles strengthened me to face another day. THIS is why I wrote about Beethoven, and George, and all those characters, real and fictional, who made this story happen. The writing was my therapy; it still is. The final product is my own victorious four-note motif: “Ta-ta-ta-TAAAA!”
Victory over defeat, gain over loss… hope over despair. Although My Interview with Beethoven is George’s story, I believe it’s also ours.