KUAF Arts Beat: Getting Personal with Beethoven

Apr 2, 2019

Ludwig van Beethoven

One local music scholar gets personal with yet another iconic towering figure of the classical canon in his latest research.

After tackling Vivaldi, follwed by Mozart, Miles Dayton Fish, professor of music at Northwest Arkansas Community College, he's turned to Beethoven by scouring the composer's own correspendence along with correspondence of his contemporaries. 

"He went through a complete lifetime of sabotaging just about every good friend that he had to where he died a pretty lonely guy," explains Fish, who was surprised by exactly how tumultus Beethoven's personal life was. Wracked by depression, surrounded by alcoholic relatives and burning bridges in nearly every relationship he made, Beethoven's compositions somehow pushed through it all and made their way into the classical canon.

Fish, personally attached to Beethoven's "Eroica" symphony, hones in on how this symphony was when the composer broke out from under Mozart's huge shadow to go his own way.

"When Beethoven started working on the 3rd [Symphony], he decided for himself that art was the expression of the guy creating it," says Fish. "Once I get the students in sync, I tell them to listen to all the things this guy's going to do- because you're not going to be bored."

Learn more at "Tweeting Beethoven," a free lecture and performance presented by Fish beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 4,  inside Recital Hall of Bentonville's Northwest Arkansas Community College. 

Listen to the full KUAF Arts Beat conversation in the streaming link above.