Of all the great souls who have passed before us the one, I think, that moves me the most is Beethoven. I am inspired by literature and art, but music expresses even more to me.
The majesty of his Ninth Symphony alone expresses a joy and freedom that takes us beyond our own confines and out into the Universe. His sombre sonatas express the ultimate inescapability of our human fate.
Yet always when I listen to this music of a genius I am filled with compassion for the Beethoven the man. The pain of his disease which robbed him of his greatest gift- his hearing. The mystery of his greatest love, his "Immortal Beloved". We have a copy of three of his love letters, the last runs so:
"..my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us - I can live only wholly with you or not at all - Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits - Yes, unhappily it must be so - You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart - never - never - Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves..."
We do not even know the name of the Immortal Beloved.