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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Heiliger Dankgesang

For reasons I have never been able to fathom I always associate Thanksgiving with the music of Beethoven. I was therefore most pleased to hear on the car radio, while driving to the family Thanksgiving gathering, that the program director at radio station WQXR, New York's only(!) full-time classical station, had felt likewise and scheduled an all-Beethoven play-list. Particularly appropriate, I thought, was the airing of String Quartet No. 15, Op. 132, which Beethoven composed after recovering from a a serious illness. The ethereal (like so much of late Beethoven) third movement is entitled: "Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart" ("A Convalescent's Holy Song of Thanksgiving to the Divinity, in the Lydian Mode"). More transcendent and eerily beautiful music simply does not exist; the master was surely hearing the voice of God as he penned his thanks to Him in music.

Now home from a most splendid repast, I thought it appropriate to cap off the day by listening to the grandest Beethoven work of them all, the Ninth Symphony, via an historic recording (Furtwängler, Philharmonia Orchestra, Lucerne, 1954, for you enthusiasts out there). Sitting here, sipping from a small glass of decent scotch (with a splash), I feel particularly cognizant of the rich blessings bestowed upon me by an ever-loving God. Your Bloviator has had his share of adversity over the years (the early to mid-nineties were particularly brutal) but always managed to land on his feet, thanks be to God. And while my life can hardly be described as all bliss all the time, I nonetheless have much to be thankful for: a nice place to live, family and friends, a job I actually enjoy and, most of all, since 2008, the joy of having embraced the full Catholic faith.

Whatever your faith, or even if you have none at all, I wish every one of you a happy Thanksgiving.

1 comment:

Inigo_Hicks said...

Very touching stuff, Mr. Bloviator. November was Beethoven Awareness Month at WQXR. Now that's over I'm looking forward to the Bachfest later this month at WKCR.