We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
In 1802 Beethoven retreated to the then-countryside outside Vienna in an effort to deal with his despair over his increasing deafness and other family issues. There he wrote this letter (found after his death), to his brothers.
Oh you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn, or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me? You do not know the secret cause which makes me seem that way to you. From childhood on, me heart and soul have been full of the tender feeling of goodwill, and I was ever inclined to accomplish great things. But, think that for six years now I have been hopelessly afflicted, made worse by senseless physicians, from year to year deceived with hopes of improvement, finally compelled to face the prospect of a lasting malady (whose cure will take years or, perhaps, be impossible). Though born with a fiery, active temperament, even susceptible to the diversions of society, I was soon compelled to withdraw myself, to live life alone. If at times I tried to forget all this, oh how harshly I was I flung back by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing. Yet it was impossible for me to say to people, "Speak louder, shout, for I am deaf." Ah, how could I possibly admit an infirmity in the one sense which ought to be more perfect in me than others, a sense which I once possessed in the highest perfection, a perfection such as few in my profession enjoy or ever have enjoyed.--Oh I cannot do it; therefore forgive me when you see me draw back when I would have gladly mingled with you.
His loss of hearing was a tragedy, the fact that he wrote anything at all after that is astounding. Regarding his study w/Mozart, Haydn, Solieri...I've always wondered if he really DID roll over and give Tschaikowsky the news.
The 5th and 6th symphonies --he presented them together, in the same concert in Vienna, at Christmastime of 1808 --six years after he wrote the letter. That was some deafness!
That 6th symphony so messes up my equilibrium i can only listen to it under controlled conditions. There's a BBC recording of a radio show wherein the 6th is presented by a very engaging musicologist, who breaks it apart and tells you what is goinjg on. It's really good stuff --yes he imputes a lot of inside-Beethoven's-head color, but it all rings true and is uniformly & thoroughly fascinating. You can find it here --you have to click in the lower left corner of the pageview, on the icon and line that says 'listen to the programme'. I dunno how that 'programme' got past the editor, maybe BBC doesn't have SpelChekr.