I WAS just 13 on the sunny afternoon I played Beethoven’s piano.
The battered old grand piano in one of Beethoven’s many Viennese apartments was separated by a thin rope — hardly a barrier to a young music fan. And the security guards were in another room.
I jumped the rope and placed hands on the keys that had been touched by one of humanity’s great geniuses. I managed the first couple of bars of the Moonlight Sonata — about 20 notes — before a very large German security guard grabbed me and threw me out of the house.
Briefly playing that old, out-of-tune instrument was a profound and potent experience; a vague but instinctive connection with some sort of spiritual power.
Since childhood, I’ve felt “connected” in some inexplicable way to Beethoven’s music. I know there are many others who feel the same way.
Beethoven himself said music was “the language of God”. And he was merely dictating the notes from his creator. He said music was a higher revelation than wisdom or philosophy — a mediator between spiritual and sensual life.
All great art — not just great music — has the ability to touch us on the deepest parts of ourselves. It is powerful.