Special Arranging was Not Beethoven’s Cup of Tea! Beethoven loved receiving inspiration. He would stroll in the woods for this purpose. He also created his music of grand sentiment. For example: Symphony No.5 deals with the struggle and the joy of victory. “The Pastoral symphony” represents the expression of the love he held for for nature. However, he refused to make special arrangements for specific instruments once the work was composed. Of course, his editors took up the slack. His publishers hired arrangers through their own publishing houses. The end result was Beethoven sold more copies and made more money. This happens when you increase your potential buyers.
What Exactly is Special Arranging?
I will define arranging by a joke. It circulated in the entertainer’s old haven- the Catskill Mountains. Below is a picture of Oquaga Lake, It is perched high in the Catskills. I was the house pianist at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House for some 17 years. As such, I accompanied many Catskill comedians and professionals. Harry Carlyle often told this story:
“A man walks by a pet shop in the summer. Its windows are open. He hears a canary singing. The man walks in and says to the pet shop owner: “I love the song of this canary. How much does she cost?” The pet shop owner says, “”five dollars”. “That’s all, the man answers, I’ll take her!”. The pet shop owner says,”Wait a minute.” Do you see that ugly, scraggly, looking bird over there? The man answers, “yes”. “The owner says, “When you buy her, you have to buy him. And, he’s $100.00 dollars”. The man looks up in a state of puzzlement: “Why should I buy that ugly, scraggly bird over there for $100.00 when I can have this beautiful songbird for $5.00?” The pet shop own answers: “He’s the arranger!.”
Incidentally, in between jobs I offer piano lessons in Sarasota.
Beethoven was Born Under Sagittarius. The sign has the distinction of being the only one that is half animal and half human. It is a centaur with an upper human body and the lower part is a horse. The bow and arrow points to the heavens as aspiration is lofty. Certainly, Beethoven had high goals as his crowning work, the 9th symphony, was about the brotherhood of man. As Sagittarius is not affected by hardship. as most people are, he wrote his 9th under the strain of deafness. As Sagittarius people love the outdoors, Beethoven came up with many of his themes while walking through the woods in Vienna. Sagittarius loves their freedom and independence. A famous Beethoven story goes something like this: Beethoven was strolling in Vienna with his friend, Heinrich Heine as the King of Austria was passing by. Heinrich immediately bowed before the king but Beethoven didn’t. The incensed king said “Beethoven, why did you not bow before me?” To which he answered, “After you are dead and gone, there will be many kings like you, but there will only be one Beethoven.” The king thought for a m0ment and then said “You are right.” He then went on his way. Now, is that nervy or what?
Beethoven’s Sagittarius-like Accomplishments
As Sagittarius has a great mind for business, Beethoven broke the pattern of dependency on royalty that other musicians had. He thereby elevated the stature of the composer-performer. As pianists would challenge each other with judges on hand to duels on the piano, Beethoven won every “piano duel”. He elongated the symphony, added new instruments and every featured a grand chorus in his 9th singing Ode to Joy, titled after Schiller’s poem. Having the will power to write your greatest major work while deaf takes determination. The older I become, the more I stand in awe of the great composers of our civilization. After years of giving piano lessons in Sarasota, I have found that almost every girl wants to play Beethoven’s Fur Elise; and every boy wants to learn his Moonlight Sonata. I accomplished this feat, and from memory, after one year of piano lessons. Also, keep looking for my book, Music Under the Zodiac.
Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy– Beethoven.