Music and politics never make a good mixture – Editorial

Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the greatest composers of all time, had a deep admiration for Napoleon Bonaparte, whom he saw as the embodiment of the lofty ideals of the French Revolution and liberator of masses under feudal rule of the monarchies in Europe.

The esteem Beethoven had for the French leader was so high that he decided to dedicate his 3rd Symphony, later known as “Eroica”, to Bonaparte.

The great composer is said to have personally inscribed the name of Bonaparte on the top of the first page of the manuscript of his symphony while signing the page himself at the bottom.

But upon hearing from his personal assistant that Bonaparte had declared himself the French Emperor in May 1804, only weeks before the completion of his work, Beethoven is said to have been enraged enough to take a knife to scrape the name of the French leader from the page and done it so violently that he ripped a hole in the manuscript. The page had to be copied again with the title being changed to “Sinfonia Eroica”.

In renaming his work, the composer did note that “the symphony was composed to celebrate the memory of a great man.”

The disillusionment that politicians bring about among the people they govern is nothing new.

Let alone the time of Napoleon Bonaparte, when there were no established rules or procedures for a representative democratic system in Europe (of course with the exception of British Empire), even in our day, when there are bylaws, regulations and procedures for establishing accountability, politicians never shy away from promising anything and everything that they can imagine to be appealing to the electorate. It is public knowledge how much of these promises are delivered: Suffice to take a look at the finest example of ineptitude, the current state of affairs in our health care system.

Winston Churchill is once reported to have said “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

After trying for centuries to improve the system of government, the human kind has yet to find a proper mechanism which does not allow a minority group (be they elected, appointed or assigned by hereditary induction) to impose their will on masses of people.

Yet, throughout all those centuries, thankfully, the human kind produced such geniuses as Beethoven, who bless us with their creativity even today.

May I suggest an efficient way of soothing your rage the next time you get angry because of long wait times or unfulfilled political promises: Listen to Nocturne 20 in C Sharp Minor by Chopin, another genius, another man who felt betrayed by politicians.

– Mustafa Eric