WOW! Just another reason why Asperger’s “annoy” neurotypicals: we actually enjoy complex music.
• Young kids with Asperger’s may become obsessed with complex topics, such as intricate patterns or music. Toddlers will become enraptured by a stylized pattern on a fabric or in a book. Babies may also listen to music that would typically be ignored by a normal youngster. This obsession becomes more apparent as the youngster ages. These children may be unable to focus on any other aspect of the environment once they notice the object of their obsession.
Behavioral conditioning will be necessary to help alleviate this symptom.
Just think: if psychologists had their way, “genius” could be prevented.
Evening Standard Article by James Rhodes, Classical Pianist (an annoying person who is obsessed with complex music)
It’s one a.m. A nine-year-old boy is fast asleep when his drunken father comes barging into his room. The boy is beaten awake and dragged downstairs to a piano where he is forced to play for his father and drunken friends for hours. A wrong note results in slaps, punches and ridicule. It happens regularly, and even when his father is sober the boy is mocked, beaten and forced to practise until he can barely see straight. Amid this madness, aged 11, rather than starve, he starts to earn a living as an organist. The beatings get so bad that twice, before the age of 13, he almost dies. As a teenager his mother dies, leaving him and his siblings in such dire straits that the boy is forced to go to court and wrest control of his father’s salary so the family can eat.
The adult that emerged from that hell was angry, sullen and suspicious. He was scarred physically and mentally, often suicidal, clumsy, badly coordinated, obtuse, prone to obsessive-compulsive behaviours and lacking both personal hygiene and social graces.
His name was Ludwig van Beethoven.
Ascribing specific dates and composers to different musical movements or eras works for everyone except Beethoven. There is Bach, the master of the Baroque; Haydn and Mozart the Classical superstars. There are Brahms, Chopin, Berlioz and Liszt the Romantics. Then there are Bruckner, Mahler and Wagner ushering music into the 20th century and the Stravinskys and Schoenbergs with their “tyranny of the barline” and “emancipation of the dissonance” causing riots in Paris.
Before Beethoven, composers worked for the glory of God. Or else they wrote on bended knee for wealthy courts and egotistical patrons. Beethoven kicked down the doors of the aristocratic world and made himself at home. He wrote for himself alone.
He was a superstar in Vienna — universally conceded to be the greatest composer in the world, something almost unheard of in the pre-digital age. And, most importantly, he knew it — “there will always be many princes and emperors but there will only ever be one Beethoven”, he wrote. It’s important here not to dismiss this as cockiness. What some may mistake as arrogance has stood the test of time as an unquenchable truth.
Beethoven is the most performed, revered composer there is. He eclipses every other composer and his shadow falls over every music manuscript in the world. And if there were even a hint of injustice or hyperbole in that fact I would take issue with it. But the truth is, healthy or not (and I myself don’t hesitate to say healthy), Beethoven somehow achieved musical enlightenment and it is quite simply a fact of life that he is and always will be the benchmark, the prophet and the absolute peak of compositional genius for everyone else to aspire to.
Beethoven humbly transcended ego because he knew beyond doubt that he was writing for eternity. His confidence in his abilities was the only great truth in his life and he held on to it with such tenacity because it kept him alive. “To my art I owe the fact that I did not end my life with suicide,” he wrote. He was totally different to Mozart and Bach — his letters are full of words like artist, art, artistry. His music is the very definition of “interiority” — with Beethoven, music became about feelings, about looking within and expressing things hitherto unsayable.
Bach, Beethoven and Mozart are without question the holy trinity of music. But there is one reason alone that makes Beethoven The One, and it is his humanity. Bach and Mozart had gifts that came straight from God. I’m an unbeliever, but there is simply no other possible explanation for the depth of genius they displayed. What Bach and Mozart did with music is quite literally beyond any human comprehension.
Beethoven, on the other hand, was on his own. Every note was sweated over, every theme worked on tirelessly and chiselled into immortality. The manuscripts of Bach and Mozart look spotless next to the messy, crossed-out, almost indecipherable madness of Beethoven’s. While Mozart hurled symphonies on to paper as fast as he could write, barely without correction, Beethoven stewed and fought and wrestled and argued and raged until he forced what he was looking for out and onto the page.
In 1805 he changed the course of musical history, composing the Eroica symphony; a symphony twice as long as anything that had come before it, written for an orchestra of the future and the first truly “heroic” piece of music. With one compulsive wrench, music entered the 19th century. His invention and resource never flagged — his Fifth symphony, described by Forster as “the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man” — has an entire structure that is erected based on only four hammerblow notes. His music, especially that composed during his last 10 years, is unique — nothing like it has been composed, nothing ever will.
And he was deaf.