Beethoven in Isolation

Loss of hearing. Loss of a known world. Frustration. Isolation. Searching. Creativity.

Dear musical friends, the words above describe something of the isolation that Beethoven endured. At least we haven’t lost our hearing! Our isolation is richly adorned with technology and media—nothing compared to the trials of Beethoven.

With this in mind, let’s come together in a special way. Beethoven will lead; we will follow. Let’s share a musical challenge to lift ourselves as a community and, for those interested, learn the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata, to whatever extent you wish.  

At the end of this posting is a video of the Adagio cantabile movement. It was recorded in our living room during this time of quarantine. The piano is now slightly out of tune, but then, maybe Beethoven’s piano was slightly out of tune as well. The message still shines through. In the days ahead, we’ll share questions and musings about learning this piece, and also about the situation in which we find ourselves. We gain from one another.

We think the best forum for this community activity is our new website for Technique & Artistry Online at, where we can take full advantage of our private discussion forum and sharing capabilities. In light of this challenging time, we’ve decided to make membership complimentary through June 30. Please join us there, and enjoy exploring the many video resources available on the site, as well.

There will be space for comments from all. Comments may encompass musical insights about the Beethoven selection as well as insights for us as human beings in time of crisis. Let’s think in terms of musical soul to musical soul, such that we gather together and bring our everyday wisdom to each other in the days ahead.

May we recommend…

1. Listen to the audio/video recording and note whatever comes to mind.

2. Then, listen again to find the musical form: A B A C A. If you wish, map this to the opening comments of our March 25th webinar.

3. In upcoming days, we’ll follow up with thoughts on form, Beethoven’s powerful scope of development, and recap for us in new and thoughtful ways.

To close, before listening to this beautiful movement of the Pathétique
, we offer this quote from Beethoven with his intimate knowledge of isolation and expansive reaches of creativity:

This is the mark of a really admirable person: steadfastness in the face of trouble.

      — Ludwig van Beethoven


With very best wishes for you, your loved ones, and your students and families,

Nancy and Randall Faber
April 9, 2020



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