Nov 8, 2013

Always Read the Fine Print, Piano Boy

The ambassador of hell visited Ludwig’s house a second time.
“You ams the Beethoven? Composer, he?”
This time, Ludwig said yes.
“He you accept deal, O say. Say yes? Here Ludevigos sign.”
“Why do you talk like that?” Beethoven asked.
“Trade,” said the demon, “for idiot speak-like, all power.”

Classic composer Ludwig van Beethoven lost his hearing at the age of 26. Obviously, the historical Beethoven did not want that to happen, but I thought it would be an enticing story possibility to have ol’ Ludwig Van sign a Faustian contract in order to compose superlative music. What advantage might the “ambassador” present? What possibility could frighten a composer more than deafness? In other words, what was Beethoven's choice?

The legend of Faust originates in 16th-century Germany. Christopher Marlowe – that guy who’d be vastly more famous if not for a direct competitor called Shakespears or something – Chris Marlowe, as I was saying, made the legend popular in the English-speaking world. In Marlowe’s play, The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. He realizes the error of his ways and, at least in Murnau's magnificent film, is absolved and rescued by an angel ex machina. 

As usual I have been trawling the internet for nuggets of inspiration, and at the behest of Her Strawberryness -- of whom there might be more to say, but, you know, I am a gentleman and all that -- I found myself on Etsy looking at sculptures. And lo!

This thing of wonder.

You'll find the piece up there on Jason Tennant's Etsy shop. Jason works out of Rochester, NY and produces magnificent works of art:

If I could afford a $5,000 sculpture, by Jove, I would buy this. I would wear it around my neck, I would take it to bed with me, heck, I'd even start a religion around it. So... yeah. Check out Jason's shop.

Then I found Art Akimbo, he of the fabulous noses. Just look at that thing --

I have to get me one of these.

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