Beethoven in a Nutshell

 

(1940 in a lofty apartment. There seems to be a minor dispute between the couple, but distractions bewilder each other’s understanding.)

 

Jane

What is today my darling?

 

William

 (Reading the newspaper attentively)

hmm umm. . . what was that dear?

Jane

(Playing excerpts from Beethoven’s symphony 5)

 

The date, I want to do something tonight.

 

William

……….It’s…… September 15, 1940. Why, what…..do…… you have……. in mind?

 

Jane

(Continues to play Beethoven the piano)

 

A live performance of an orchestra! I want to experience that euphoric sensation…..do you know what I mean? That sense of enlightenment that bridges the gap between perplexity and serenity. I’m missing that strikingly veracious chill that shakes the very foundation of your vertebrae when the initial ensemble of instruments seizes the silence. I’m in the mood for something composed by a German.

 

William

Hmmmm……. I can’t believe this finally made the paper! “The Germans are shaking London’s Foundation”. You didn’t tell me you read this already? They have orchestrated a constant cascade of falling explosives toward Great Britain’s Capital. My Beethoven, What is he expecting to accomplish in London? I mean, there is no stopping that mad man.

 

Jane

You know what I am playing! Well, I think he is a mad genius! All of his work evokes a subtle misinterpreted perception, one that contorts an array of feelings. It’s hard to explain exactly what he intends to accomplish…here, listen.

 

(Continues to play Beethoven’s melodies)

 

Can you feel the intensity of each note, how one dissolves into another propelling emotions from every dissonant chord?! You are right; it is like a constant cascade of explosive feelings! But I don’t think he ever played in London?

William

That sounds great dear but you are missing the point, he isn’t interested in only London. I think he is trying to scare the whole world with the brute force he implies to his tactics of “blitzkrieg” warfare. Hm, it sounds too complicated and aggressive.

 

 

Jane

(Chuckles) I don’t think I ever heard of a piece called blitzkrieg by him, but all of his work can be a bit complicated to understand at first. Are you in the mood for some Mozart? He’s less scary.

 

William

No thanks. I don’t think ANYONE has heard of it before; this is the first time something like this happened to more than two countries at one time. The call for innovation has worlds crumbling at the cost of absolute power.

 

Jane

Innovations?

 

William

You know, inventions such as the plane, the tank, hell even the Slinky. It is broadening the spectrum of all out chaos creating a world that is flustered in its own interests. I fear for the future of the human condition for it presents a disastrous road littered with selfish needs. That or I think I am going crazy!

 

Jane

(Stops playing piano, turns page of sheet music)

 

You’re not going crazy honey; the human condition is all about progress. The ability to create and expand our understanding of the world and the willingness to apply it is intellectual growth. What he does with his instrument is beyond the plain of fascination, it broadens its borders.

 

                                                                                                (Continues to play the piano)

 

William

(Sighs with anguished breath)

 

What I am trying to say is the man’s ambition is driving the country into a conflicted relationship with other countries. As hopeless as it may seem and as much as I don’t want to say it, I think we should go over there and assist to put an end to it.

Jane

                                                                                                (Stops playing piano)

 

Are you Okay?

 

William

Yes dear, fine.

 

Jane

                                                                                                (Continues to play the piano)

 

Hm umm. . . alright. To end what, the brilliance of German composition? I see his ambition as a virtue to the progression of his craft. His in-depth study of counterpoint alone furthered the development of his work, writing progressions that conflict with one another but still retaining a sense of harmony.

 

 

William

                                                                                                (Continues to read the paper)

 

There is no sense in anything that he is doing. It’s just a big mess of loud noises frequented with death showers and innocence lost. You don’t think that should end?

 

Jane

Maybe that’s what he is trying to convey through his work, the message of discord and interference of the human condition, the seizure of independence and the will to retain it.

 

William

I still see him as a mad man who craves absolute power, a dictator that drives for an unimaginable feat. There has to be some kind of resistance against this? I am tired of all this war.

 

Jane

(Stops playing Beethoven)

 

Hey, I don’t see us arguing, just expressing our opinions.

                                                                                                (Continues to play the piano)

 

Well if you want to talk about dictators, He did commemorate his Symphony No. 3 in E flat Major to Napoleon Bonaparte of France. It was to express the ideals of the French Revolution and how Napoleon captured these ideals through his methods of leadership, but when Napoleon declared himself Emperor in 1804, our “mad man” tore up his score with appalling disgrace. How’s that for tyrant resistance!

 

William

(Looks up from newspaper)

 

Napoleon Bonaparte was no better, an overzealous tyrant of the people who used their wishes for a reformed government to his advantage. Dictators should be stopped period.

                                                                                                (Continues to read)

 

In addition to that, I think our “mad man” in regards to this conversation has a lot of similarities with Napoleon. He used the public’s interest to gain support in the Reichstag then manipulated the country’s military into serving his demands regardless of the destruction he caused to the infrastructure of Germany. It’s called Totalitarianism and it is creating a chaotic world in Europe! God Damn it, we should be preventing death and encouraging further development of diplomacy!

 

Jane

                                                                                                (Stops playing Piano)

 

(Pause) Are you Okay Will?

 

 

 

 

 

 

William

                                                                                                (Looks up from paper toward Jane)

 

(Pause)No.  I fear for this country and its potential involvement of foreign affairs. What’s happening in London may carry over to here, bringing other countries problems to our door step. I don’t want that to happen Jane.

 

Jane

                                                                                                (Walks over to William, wraps arms around shoulders)

 

And all this time I thought you were listening to me. Reading about today’s war won’t help you forget about the other.

 

William

                                                                                                (Taking Jane’s hands to his chest)

 

There were days Jane, days that would not end with a measure or cadence of hope. I felt. . . .I felt like. . . I should have done something! Instead it was just sitting around in our own vile waiting for the sirens to blare to warn us of incoming gas.

Jane

Awe Will, you made it back home in one piece and that’s what matters to me.

 

William

It has been twenty two years since then and I still have problems with breathing, a crushing sensation along with every breath to say the least. This war could lead to bigger problems than just what I’m dealing with. Cities are falling Jane. Great Britain’s capital is at its knees with despair!

 

Jane

                                                                                                (Steps back from William)

 

You’re angry.

 

William

Yes, I am.

 

Jane

Well, I can see that soldier in you.

 

William

We don’t need soldiers. We need peace.

 

Jane

Then let’s go find sanctuary at an orchestra. I Promise it will ease your thoughts on this second Great War in Europe.

William

(Removes glasses and pinches bridge of nose)

I’m tired of reading any way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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