Music, when soft voices die…

A little thought for this Monday morning as we begin another working week. Tell me something – What does work mean to you?

Work is life for me – it’s joys, it’s triumphs and disasters leave impact on my life in more ways than I could express. Some of us work to live and others live to work. We spend a lifetime, working. We take so much pride and happiness with what we do, day in and day out, so much so, that for many of us, a major part of our self-esteem is deeply rooted to how our work defines us, eventually making us the person that we are. All this happens irrespective of our day to day conscious awareness of how inextricably tied we all are to the roles assigned to us.

It must be no surprise then to think how deeply satisfying it can be for us to be able to see the final product of our labour, talent and efforts – that definitive beautiful end product that we’re now ready to share with the world; that, which leads us to be recognised for our talent and our capabilities, which then becomes an integral part of our happiness.

But, what if things don’t go as planned and suddenly one day, we realise fate has something else in store for us? What if that ‘something‘ happens to wipe out our chances of existence and survival, threatening to wipe out our ability to work, and leave us with nothing but despair?

The story of the composer, Beethoven’s life is one such example. At a time when he was a successful, sought after virtuoso pianist in Vienna, living an ideal life, Beethoven struggled as he faced a long battle against his impending deafness, that left him in anguish and despair. The story is all the more remarkable because it is a battle of an individual will challenging the will of fate and prevailing over the odds in the most remarkable way. While the world thought his life was ideal, he began to withdraw from society, living in solitude and loneliness which eventually led him to even consider suicide. He once confessed, “Thanks to my art, I did not end my life.” He never gave up composing although his hearing only got worse. The years to follow actually turned to be intensely profound for him as his outer hearing increasingly deteriorated. But gradually, with his outer hearing failing, his inner hearing was continuing to grow. He continued to compose many more memorable pieces of music even as he turned completely deaf. The battle raged on but his passion for music kept him going.

Did he stop himself as he fought his inner demons? Did he give up? Did he succumb to his fate ?

The answer is NO. Beethoven never gave up despite the struggle and the despair killing him inside. And that alone made all the difference. He gave us one masterpiece after another; every piece of his life’s work, left behind for posterity to be loved and appreciated by millions.

Sharing one of my favourite pieces here, which is an expression of his inner turmoil after he finally came to terms with his deafness. Originally called the Opus 27 No. 2 C# minor sonata, it came to be popularly called the ‘Moonlight Sonata‘, after German music critic, Ludwig Rellstab wrote that the sonata reminded him of the reflected moonlight off Lake Lucerne.

It is a mellow piece that has soothed, relaxed and comforted me on many a tired evening. In fact, as a student in my college years, I was so dependent on music, particularly classical and instrumental, to help me focus and concentrate better. Years later, now I play it for my son. I am so thankful that we share a similar taste in music too, as in many other things.

If you listen carefully, it is sombre, sublime, yet hauntingly sad at the same time. The sense of mourning and loss is so evident. For someone so passionate about music, it must have been an irrevocable loss to no longer be able to hear what he wrote – this beautiful piece he wrote for the world, considered to be one of the finest pieces of composition ever, as popular today, 200 years after he is gone! Yes, life goes on.

So do limitations restrict us from working? No. Do barriers threaten us? No. Our intentions and our efforts actually outweigh our limitations, if only we set our mind to do so! Work should never stop – that’s my belief!

As I take leave, a little food for thought – today, as we begin another week of work, let us accept how privileged we are, to have our faculties in place, to have the opportunity and the space to do what we love to do; let us not think of the odds that are going against us, be it our jobs, our lives or our work. Instead, let us lead our focus onto where the possibilities lie and aim to live out our passions and accomplish our goals.

Before you leave this page, I’d request you to take some time out to listen to this beautiful piece of music, (even if you’re not a fan of Western classical music) or you could let it play in the background while you work. Once you do, please let me know how you found it. I’ll be waiting to see what you have to say.


(Linking up with #MondayMusings, hosted by Corinne Rodrigues)

and #mg hosted by Mackenzie Glanville

22 thoughts

    1. So glad to see you at Soul Talk, Kalpana. The sonatas are some of the most beautiful notes of music that Beethoven has left for mankind. They don’t make them like this anymore

  1. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful piece of music- its a perfect combination of litling and haunting.
    I marvel at his inner genius, god gift and sheer determination to beat all odds and design such amazing music.
    Thank you for sharing such a profound thought on work and our love for it! Cheers

    1. Thank you Shalini. Glad the music touched you so. Yes, he was a genius and rightly considered so. I wonder how much acute and sharp his inner hearing was to have composed such a hauntingly soul-stirring piece of music without being able to hear any of it. The head bows to such talent and stature.

  2. Beautiful piece of music and lovely post esha. Only if we all can remember this and keep gong. I strongly believe that music has that power which can change many things in our life.

    1. Thanks Deepa. I totally agree with you, that music has a very powerful influence on my mind and our sensibilities to bring in change. Upto us how we leverage that force.

  3. To quote ….”We are the same, you and I. Whether samurai or night-hawk, the Suruga Dainagon or member of the Toudouza, it makes no difference. My sword is the proof….” So also … Our work defines who we are !! ”
    Loved your thoughts. Music and Beethoven .. we grew up with it .
    Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine. Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend… his words become a way of life.

    1. Wow! Loved the Yamaguchi quote…and the parallels between our battles and that of the Samurai swordsmen! Thank you so much for reflecting on the post, Aru’di. “music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge that comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend…” How true!

  4. I loved the music…Listened to ten minutes of it… Will listen completely soon… It is indeed melancholic and haunting, yet surprisingly soothing…
    I like my workplace on some days, and I dislike it on some other days… Mostly I try to see the positive side, but I remain unsatisfied too… A gloomy day results in a disturbed mind…. But it is also that I am learning every day, however small that might be… And amidst all this I keep speculating what work is it that I should be doing…

    1. Our thoughts are not very different from one another, Pratikshya. I can say for sure that most of us are in a place where we are constantly questioning what is it that we’re doing every day…does it make sense or should we be someplace else. I do hope that things sort out for you and that you find a place that makes you happy because in the long run it makes sense to stick to doing what we truly love.

    1. Thanks Tina. I was listening to Beethoven one night and the thought for this post just came. Thought I’d share a few trivia about the great composer that people might not know of.

  5. I am not a fan of my current workplace. But I do try to see the silver lining every single time I am frustrated. Again its how I deal with it.
    And that piece of music is astoundingly beautiful. Your write up was something that I needed today. ❤

    1. Thanks Ramya. I am glad my post was able to touch you with some positivity. You know I love reading your poems every now and then. You know, knowingly or unknowingly, we somehow manage to inspire, console, encourage and lift each other’s spirits as bloggers…and it makes so much sense that sometimes even as strangers we seem to touch each other’s lives. I hope things start looking up for you at work or you move to a better place. Stay positive through it all. Have a great day ahead, Ramya:)

  6. I love this piece, Esha. I love working with music playing in the background and it is almost always instrumental. It helps me concentrate better. Though I don’t know much, actually anything, about western classical music but I love listening to whatever I can get my hands on. These days I have been listening to Clair De Lune.

    1. Thanks a lot, Nabanita. So glad you liked it. I love listening to Debussy too…Clair De Lune is a beautiful piece…I always wish I had learnt to play the piano every time I listen to these classics…nothing quite as comforting as music, I totally agree!

  7. Lovely post Esha and food for thought. I do love what I do and I think my current workplace in particular is awesome which makes me want to go to work every day. I used to listen to Beethoven at uni while studying sometimes…my ex had CDs and I’d play those. I’ve forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Should consider downloading some for myself. Thanks for the memories and the info about Beethoven! Have a great week! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Sanchie. Its not everyday you hear that someone finds their workplace awesome so I guess it must be a wonderful blessing for you to love your workplace! I wish it continues that way forever. There’s a whole of them from this genre you know -Chopin, Vivaldi and Brahms whose works are absolutely wonderful. Nothing like music for inspiration, isn’t it? Wishing you a great working week ahead too, Sanchie 🙂

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