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Happy Birthday, Mr. Beethoven 12/16/2020

December 16, 2020

Happy Birthday, Mr. Beethoven,

It is your 250th birthday. In honor of your birthday, I would like to send a letter to you.
You reign over us, but I know you are a true human being. That is why your music speaks to me so deeply. Your music makes me cry and laugh. You often give me wonderful puzzles to solve. Some, I have solved and some, I have not found the solution yet. I have studied all of your 32 piano sonatas because it was a part of the assignment for my doctoral degree in music. I mostly remember the 1st and 2nd themes from sonatas! But I have not performed some of your sonatas yet. For instance, I have not touched Hammer-Klavier sonata Op. 106…. I feel I am not good enough to play this profound oeuvre. I may need your encouragement. I performed Op. 31 No. 3 a lot. And I confess Op. 109 is my favorite, especially the 3rd movement. I think you have put everything in this movement.

I teach students. I enjoy teaching them mostly, but sometimes they give me troubles. You may felt the same way when you taught your students. Through my teaching, I have relearned your sonatas many times. Each sonata has a different character and it is always interesting which one a student chooses. It reflects students’ personality as well.

I love your chamber music. Fortunately, I have performed most of your chamber music including piano, violin and cello sonatas, trios and quartet. In chamber music, we remember the music as well as whom we played with. For instance, I performed Kreutzer sonata with several violinists, Hungarian violinist, American violinist, Japanese violinist, and etc. I can write a book about my chamber music experience!

I was going to perform your Emperor concerto this past October, but the earth has been dealing with a torment virus, called COVID 19. Most concert halls have closed their doors, including LA ones. I am hoping to play it in near future. In recent years, I performed your 2nd and 4th concertos. Lovely! My audience and I truly enjoyed your music.

This letter is getting long. I see you are yawning. I will finish it soon. My fingers and brain still work OK and I look forward to playing piano for many more years. I hope to solve the puzzles you gave me in the past. We are so fortunate to have the music you wrote. Thank you, Mr. Beethoven. I will live with your music until I leave this earth.

Toast to celebrate your birthday! Kanpai (It is a Japanese toast)!

Sincerely yours,