Okay, first thing you have to know is, I'm a Mozart man. There seems to be this weird dichotomy in classical music whereby if you love one, you can't love the other. If you like Mozart, Beethoven is too much shallow sturm und drang for you, too much cheap roaring noise, the kind you can buy in a dime store for...well, a dime. If you like Beethoven, Mozart is basically a sausage-slurping pussy, someone who was too overly concerned with being all delicate and prissy and light to ever yield to the more extreme passions that Beethoven gave that big fat green light to. Mozart was First, Beethoven was New and Improved. Beethoven is Man, Mozart is Child. But the people who think this are assholes, and they're way too concerned about what their choice of music says about themselves than they are to consider the music on its own merits. So say I, a rock and roll moron.
Beethoven is a rocket to Mars (the God O' War planet, by the way, and not for nothing do I make that comment), and Mozart is a finely-tuned Ferrari. Beethoven is all brute strength and power and anger and the sweetness of purest blistering rage, and Mozart is every good thing that God ever made, with all the warmth and achy longing and bittersweet feeling that God intended when he cursed us Men with Women. Beethoven is how pissed off we Men are about it, rutting viciously with that universal blind confusion that wonders why we're made to suffer so. Mozart is the part of us that says, "Ahh, but it's so wonderful to hear them when they're lost in the pure moment of passion; their sighs, their moans, their ecstasy." Beethoven spurts violently, all over her; Mozart saves it for later, after she gets hers, which every good Mozart lover knows is the best part. And then Mozart cleans up and sleeps on the wet spot.
Then there's the Emperor Concerto.
I just downloaded my first piece of music from the iTunes Music Store, and it was the Emperor Concerto. Played by Van Cliburn with the Chicago Symphony, it's a fairly well-known and well-regarded recording. I'm something of a Van Cliburn fan anyway. A little something about the man, for those of you who don't know him:
Krushchev had just come into power on the heels of one of the most repressive regimes the world had ever known. This was the same Krushchev who would be remembered by most Americans as the roly-poly Soviet leader who would bang his shoe on the UN table and threaten, "We will bury you!"