No seriously, the guy is shameless.

After playing with today’s Google Doodle, I found myself inevitably drawn to Youtube, to find a good quality version of the full piece of his most famous work, the 9th in D Minor. I slipped my headphones on, settled in with a design task I had to spend a good hour and a half on, and let it start washing over me.

And believe me, this is the best way to appreciate that particular symphony: start to finish. In our rushed, content heavy lives, the most that any of us normally hear of this marvellous piece is the last minute or so. The famous refrain, in all its glorious die-hard jubilance. But if you want a real treat, then invest the 81 minutes and 22 seconds required to listen to the above clip all the way through. You’ll find yourself quite surprised, if you are not familiar with the broader work, and be warned: you may accidentally laugh out loud at your work desk in sheer, well … joy.

The symphony starts out quite busy. Full. Thick, even. It calms down later quite a lot at points — and it wanders all around. But as it does so, Beethoven starts to slip in elements of that theme. Sometimes just hints toward it. He’ll bring them up, like a man trying to figure out what point he is making in a discussion, then let them glide away and sink back into the hubub.

But because we all know that theme so well, it’s … well it turns into this extended, incredibly beautiful exercise in delayed gratification. It’s delightful. He’s flirting with you.

It’s like a great night out: dancing with a partner you are really into, or talking to them in a quiet garden in the dark — when halfway through you both know where this is going to end up, but at the same time both realise that you are enjoying this part so much, you don’t want it to end.

And when he at long last gets to that final movement? That’s the bit when … Well. You all know what I mean. But you know what? The hour it takes to get to that bit? Totally worth it. It makes the consummation that much more delicious.

Oh yeah, Beethoven is a total flirt. He’s flirting with me, in my headphones right now. And he’s goddamn good at it.

Leave a Reply