Beethoven, music and human progress
By Paul Monk, 3 February 2023
Ludwig van Beethoven was a child of that path-breaking epoch. His music – most famously his Third and Ninth Symphonies – are celebrations of human heroism, emancipation and possibility. His Violin Concerto is a jeux d’esprit – a play of the spirit. And all that was true long before any of them could be recorded electronically, much less downloaded onto a phone and listened to while out walking.
This may appear to be stating the obvious, but at a time when so many people – for various reasons – dismiss the very ideas of progress, a scientific worldview, scientific expertise or Western civilisation, it seems to me to be well worth emphasising that all of this arose out of the heroic labours of Western scientists, inventors and creative artists.