Tuesday, 15 October 2019 00:00

Famous Composers: Ludwig van Beethoven

When I was a small boy the master who had to correct my fortnightly ‘essays’ used to insist that they should stress only the best features of the subject under discussion, skirt round any defects and avoid deleterious comparisons. But I think I was unconvinced then as I am now that an essayist should necessarily be an advocate. The putting forward of all points pro to the exclusion of those con has a proper function in any mutual exchange of views between the knowledgeable few, but when standing alone is liable to produce a false impression on the uninitiated many, who may never hear the other side of the argument and cannot be expected to read between the lines or recognize the significance of what counsel for the defence has (purposely) left unsaid. The reputations of many painters, poets, authors and composers have on balance lost more than they have gained through such well-intentioned but unthinking advocacy, often misinterpreted as implying adulation and thereby laying itself open to superficial counter-attack.

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