Chasing Pirates?

Begin Again – 2017

Music’s messages have always haunted and/or inspired me. The seeds for this blog were planted in my brain after listening to the song Chasing Pirates by Norah Jones.  Finally, in 2013, I launched it to “chase information” about a variety of subjects. Since its debut, “Chasing Pirates” has included posts about education, politics, spirituality, artists & their music and fellow bloggers’ posts.

The bulk of my posts 2015 – 2016 were political; I had big plans to research each of the many Republican candidates but was derailed by Donald Trump’s surprising and quick ascendancy. Like a lot of others, I’m weary of the political landscape, so I’ve come “home” for escape and rest — so to speak — by returning to my original focus for this blog … Music. Simple, right? Pick a favorite song. Research it and the artist. Write about it.

And, I did … for just a few songs and artists. Unfortunately, I lost focus, got busy with other things. But, every time I heard a favorite song, I would think, “I should write about this one.” But, it’s four years later, and I want my posts to have more depth, to be more than just documentation of researched information about a song and artist. I want my posts to reveal more about me. What does “this” song say about me? We shall see.

As I begin again, I’ve chosen what I believe to be a perfect quote for my subhead, by Beethoven:


Music is … A higher revelation than all Wisdom & Philosophy.

A good quote can be like the first few notes of a memorable song … setting the tone for the whole composition.

As I did a little research about Beethoven (1770 – 1827), I learned he was considered a ground-breaker and one of the most significant and influential composers of the western art music tradition because he oversaw the transition of music from the Classical style, full of poise and balance, to the Romantic style — characterized by emotion and impact.

I really do appreciate poise and balance, but this time around I’m going for emotion and impact … like Beethoven, who through his greatest symphonies (many written after he’d gone deaf), expressed himself … an alcoholic with a quick temper; a prodigy who had been regularly brutally beaten during training by his father, a mediocre court singer; the descendent of his father’s father who was Bonn’s most prosperous and eminent musician.

I also learned from that he had quite a few “pirates” inhabiting his soul. Beethoven died at the age of 56; an autopsy revealed that the immediate cause of death was post-hepatitic cirrhosis of the liver; he was an alcoholic. The autopsy also provided clues to the origins of his deafness, which he first wrote to a friend about in 1801. While his quick temper, chronic diarrhea and deafness are consistent with arterial disease, a competing theory traces Beethoven’s deafness to contracting typhus in the summer of 1796.

(Like about every other human being on Earth, he had his family issues.) Beethoven’s mother was deeply moralistic; his father was a mediocre court singer, better known for his alcoholism than any musical ability. His grandfather, godfather and namesake, Kapellmeister Ludwig van Beethoven, however, was Bonn’s most prosperous and eminent musician, a source of endless pride for young Ludwig.

Beethoven’s father taught him music — with an extraordinary rigor and brutality that affected him for the rest of his life. Neighbors provided accounts of the small boy weeping while he played the clavier, standing atop a footstool to reach the keys, his father beating him for each hesitation or mistake.

On a near daily basis, Beethoven was flogged, locked in the cellar and deprived of sleep for extra hours of practice. He studied the violin and clavier with his father as well as taking additional lessons from organists around town. Whether in spite of or because of his father’s draconian methods, Beethoven was a prodigiously talented musician from his earliest days and displayed flashes of the creative imagination that would eventually reach farther than any composer’s before or since.

So, what am I saying? I know I’m not saying I’m some kind of Beethoven.

I’m saying there’s always a lot more to “the story,” be it the song’s story, the artist’s story and/or my story. And, it’s always an adventure.







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