Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Beethoven Humiliation.

I finished my Credo. I had spent months on it. Note by precious note. And as it unfurled, it seemed to write itself.  Birth, death, God, crucifixion, resurrection, judgment, heaven, eternity.

The most complex piece I’ve ever attempted. Lots of words. No “verses.” No song format. Just a seemingly endless flow of words. But I had done it. Climbed Mount Everest and planted my flag.

I told Jim that it was “the greatest piece of music ever written.” Because every time I finish anything, it's the greatest piece of music ever written. But this was different! This really WAS!

I couldn’t even remotely IMAGINE musicalizing the text in any other way. This was the final word on the subject.

Over and over, I listened to the wordless mp3 I had created with my music writing program. It was just breathtaking.

Then, I had the single worst idea of my life. I decided I wanted to hear Beethoven’s Credo. Just to prove that I could defeat the best. Beat Beethoven. After all, music is a blood sport. Don't let anyone fool you.
It’s not that I hadn’t listened to it before. But at that that time, as I recall, I was really focused on the Kyrie -- and I didn’t really listen to it. I wasn’t paying attention.

So, I fired up Spotify, found the Missa Solemnis in D Major, Opus 123: III. Credo.

And he did it within five notes. I was slain. I was destroyed. I had been flicked aside, as casually as a speck of dust. It was so earth-shatteringly magnificent that I just sat there drooling. As if they had put the paddles on my head and hit the lightning bolt switch.

No. I told Mark I felt a googling baby in diapers who had just scribbled in crayon on the wall. Like Salieri listening to Mozart. I was utter humiliated. Ruined.

I started laughing out loud. How we prop ourselves up. Tell ourselves how fantastic we are. And with not so much as a look, get put into your place. If you can't laugh at that, then you might as well just give up on life. Because that's what life is. In moments. Usually, when you need it the most.

Mark laughed, "Are you stupid? Everyone feels that way with Beethoven. Schubert turned and walked out of a part because he heard Beethoven was there. And that was Schubert! So, don’t feel so bad. We’re all up against Beethoven.”

Great. Now I feel like even more of an idiot, except good this time. I can relax. I don't have to defeat Beethoven. I can just let my Credo be what it is.

But it's also telling that I couldn't really "understand" his until I wrote mine. No wonder he thought his Missa Solemna was his greatest work, written at the end of his life when he was deaf.

When he was deaf.

And I'm complaining about a little ache in the side. I made it back to church on Sunday. Thanked everyone for sending me to London. Told them how great the show was. Sang "Rescue." Then to Andy Gale's class that afternoon. Jake and I did our father/son scene together.

Then he and I went to Whole foods for dinner. I was totally worn out by the end of the day, but I was back into the stream of life. Jim was home by the time I got back to the apartment around 6:30.

It felt good to collapse on the couch. I went right to sleep.

No comments:

Walk With Me - Tour Guides Protest - 08 07 21

I walked into a protest! But who? I didn't know, so I followed them around until I found out. It's the "live" tour guides ...