If we stop idolising Beethoven we might understand him better

Ludwig von Beethoven belongs among those men whom not only Vienna and Germany, but Europe and our entire age revere. With Mozart and Haydn he makes up the unequalled triumvirate of more recent music. The ingenious depth, the constant originality, the ideal in his compositions that flows from a great soul assure him… of the recognition of every true admirer of the divine Polyhymnia. Originality, nobility, greatness, genius – when it comes to Beethoven, we all know the score. It was a beatification that happened early, as this paean from Germany’s deliciously titled Morning Paper for the Educated Classes reminds us. Published in 1823, a few years before Beethoven’s death,