of Beethoven's masterpieces were composed while he was deaf. He had inside
him music that would not be stilled by life's circumstances. His music
triumphed over suffering.
The last movement of the Ninth Symphony is choral music Beethoven set
to Friedrich von Schiller's poem "Ode to Joy." Beethoven believed
this poem celebrated the brotherhood of man.
On May 7, 1824, when the Ninth Symphony premiered, Beethoven was on-stage
conducting. Also on-stage was a supplementary conductor necessary because
of Beethoven's deafness. When the "Ode to Joy" movement was
over, the audience erupted in applause. Beethoven did not turn around
as he could not hear them.
Turn Around and See What You Have Created
One of the chorus members broke protocol and moved towards Beethoven.
He took hold of the composer's arm. Beethoven gave him a fierce look but
the chorus member persisted gently turning him around. By then the applause
As Beethoven looked out into the audience, they began to rise in standing
ovation. First one person and then many and then all. It is said that
a single, small tear of joy slipped down the composer's cheek. It is also
said that another tiny companion tear rolled down the cheek of the chorus
member standing next to him.
Some Questions for You
What gift inside of you is so strong that it must triumph over any adversity
(or shyness or inactivity or busy-ness) and come out for others to enjoy?
Are you still holding it in, sapping creative energy by squelching it?
What will it take for this ability, this genius, to flow out of you on
a stream of inspiration?
We all have our genius with which we can make our world and that of others
a more beautiful place. Part of being a member of the brotherhood of man
is sharing our gifts with each other. What will bring your tear of joy?
And one more question, who in your life gently turns you around when you
are facing in the wrong direction so you can see your standing ovation?
And Today . . .
Read these words from "Ode to Joy":
"Let us raise our voices in more
pleasing and more joyful sounds!"
Sing today. Sing, sing, sing the happiest songs you know. As the words
flow out of your mouth with gusto, feel every cell in your body spinning
and dancing and cavorting with joy. Each song will be a workout of gladness
for your whole being. Yeah, it may feel silly at first but do it anyway.
Soon the happiness will permeate you and all feelings of silliness will
fly out the window, never to return.
Get others to sing with you. Let's make this day an international day
If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot sing right that moment,
hum in your head. Head humming is highly beneficial for you, too.
Make today a symphony of song and jubilation. And before you go to sleep,
give yourself a rousing round of applause. What a day this can be.
©Copyright 2002 Stephanie West Allen. Article reprinted with permission.
Stephanie West Allen, JD, brings
humor and motivation to organizations. http://www.stephaniewestallen.com
She coaches people in using the two Merry Maxims, WYTUG (What You Think
Upon Grows) and LULU (Loosen Up, Lighten Up), to achieve health, wealth,
creativity, and harmonized relationships. Contact her at
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