Beethoven's Will

"[Beethoven] decided, at the age of thirty-one and three-quarters, to write his Last Will and Testament.
This is such an extraordinary document raising questions as well as answering them, that it merits close analysis, indeed for any lover of Beethoven's music who wants to understand him better, the single most important piece of writing he ever produced that is not in the form of musical notes. Here it is in full:

For my brothers -- Carl -- and ~~ Beethoven
Oh all you people who think and say that I am hostile to you, or that I am stubborn, or that I hate mankind, you do not realise the wrong that you do me. You think you understand, but you do not know the secret cause of my seeming that way. From my childhood on, my heart and mind were disposed only towards tenderness and good will. I even knew I was destined to accomplish great deeds. But consider this: for the last six years I have suffered from a terrible condition, made worse by a stupid doctors, yet hoping from one year to the next that it would improve, but finally realising that I'd been deceived, that I would have to face the prospect of a lasting malady (at least that it would take many years to be cured, or even that it might never be). Born with an ardent and lively temperament, from an early age I had to cut myself off from society in all its diversity and lead my own life. And if from time to time I wanted more than anything not to have to do that, oh how hard I had to fight against the dreadful consequences of my poor hearing. And I wasn't yet in a position where I could say to people: speak louder, shout, for I am deaf. Ah, how could I possibly explain that I was deficient in the one sense that should have been more highly developed in me than anyone, a sense I was once in full possession of, to an extent in fact that few of my profession are or ever were? Oh I cannot do it, so forgive me when you see me shrink back, although I really want to mingle with you. My misfortune is doubly bad, because through it people miss judging me. For me there can be no enjoyment in other men's company, no stimulating conversations or exchange of ideas. I must be totally alone, except in cases of the direst emergency. I must live like an exile. If I go near a group of people I am overcome with anxiety, and I am frightened I will be put in a position where my condition will be noticed. And so I was told by my one sensible doctor to spend these few months in the country, to rest my hearing as much as possible. Occasionally - albeit against my natural disposition - I have wished to have company. I have on occasions yielded to the temptation. But what a humiliation when someone next to me heard a flute in the distance and I had nothing, or someone heard the shepherd sing, and again I heard nothing. Such things have brought me near to despair. Only a little more and I would even have ended my life. Only my art, that is all that held me back. It would have been impossible for me to leave this world until I had brought forth everything that was within me, and so I continued to eke out a miserable existence - truly miserable, my condition is so sensitive, that a sudden change of mood could plunge me from happiness into despair - Patience - that is what I must now let guide me, and what I have let guide me - I hope above all that I will be resolute enough to wait until pitiless fate determines to break the thread. Maybe my health will improve, maybe not. Whatever, I am prepared. Ready in my 28 year I was forced to accept my fate, and that was not easy, in fact it is harder for an artist than for anybody. Divine One, you alone can see into my innermost soul. You understand me, you know that I love my fellow men and want only to do good. Oh my friends, when you read this understand that you did me an injustice, and should there exist in the world any man as unfortunate as I, let him comfort himself in the knowledge that, as I have done, he too can accomplish everything that is within his power, and be elevated into the ranks of worthy artists and great men. To you my brothers - Carl - and ~~, as soon as I am dead ask Professor Schmidt in my name, assuming he is still living, to describe my illness to you, and attach this document to my medical history, so that after my death, people might begin to understand just a little about me. Also I declare you both as the heirs to my small fortune (if it can be called that). Divide it fairly, be good friends and help each other. You do that what ever you did against me I have a long since forgiven. You my brother Carl have my special thanks for the proven devotion you have shown me, especially of late. My wish is that you may both have a better for carefree life that I had. Teach your children Virtue, for it alone can bring them happiness, not money, and I speak from experience. It was Virtue that lifted me up when I was wretched. I owe it to Virtue, together with my art, that I did not end my own life. And so farewell and love one another. Thank all my friends, especially Prince Lichnowsky and Professor Schmidt. The instruments Prince L gave me I wish to be kept by one of you. But do not call over them, and if they can be of some use to you, go ahead and sell them. It makes me so happy to know I can help you, even from my grave - if that is to be the case. I would gladly hasten towards my death, and if it should come before I have been able to create all the arts that I am capable of, then even given my harsh fate it will be too soon, and I will wish so much that it had come later - yet I shall still be satisfied, for will it not release me from my endless suffering? Come death when you will, I shall face you with courage. Farewell and forget me not when I am dead, for I deserve to be remembered, just as I so often remembered you during my life, and tried to make you happy: remain so -
Heignlnstadt [sic] Ludwig van Beethoven
On 6th October 1802"

From Beethoven: The Man Revealed by John Suchet. pp95/7. Eliot &Thompson Ltd, London 2012.


Knitting Notes - Getting started

1a) These notes are for those completely new to knitting. 

b) First a few words about needles, yarn and tension.
c) That is followed by 7 YouTube clips I've selected covering the minimum you need to know to start.
d) And finally a list of a few things you will find useful as you learn to knit and start your first project.

2. Read the notes and watch the clips first, just to get and overview.

3. Get yarn and needles and the other suggested equipment.

4. Watch the clips repeatedly and follow the instructions.
a) Cast on 20 stitches for your first samples.
b) Be willing to ditch first attempts when things start to go wrong. Just pull the stitches off the needles and cut the work away from the ball. Start the exercise again. Remember it is all good practice and remember what Mary Smith says below, "DON’T BE AFRAID TO MESS AROUND AND / OR MESS UP - IT’S ONLY PLAY!"
c) Once you can knit rows comfortable work on getting your tension even. This can only be done by practicing knitting. See the Mary Smith quote and the link under 'Tension'. Make tension squares using different sized needles and different yarns.

1b) Needles, Yarn & Tension

A pair of needles

A Circular needle two points joined by a flexible tube.

Start with English size needles 9, 8,7 & 6. (3.75mm, 4mm, 4.5mm & 5mm). Keep them in same size pairs. Don't get long needles as they will make learning harder. You will only do short rows till you get the knack. Make sure you have points that are good enough to lift the yarn, but not so pointed they irritate your skin.

Good place to get knitting needles used to be charity shops: they were kept under the counter and you had to ask for them. If you find any circular needles you might buy them too. I like these as you knit back and forth in rows, they are compact to hold, and you don't drop a needle as you learn to manipulate needles, yarn and stitches.

Knitting Needle Size Guide: English to Metric to US Conversion Table

Nowadays there is a huge variety of yarns available in all hues, thicknesses and fibres. It is important to use yarns which are suitable for the garment you are making. But you will explore more about that once knitting.

Initially you need a couple of balls of yarn in different colours while you learn to knit. Best to use light colours so you can see the stitches and how they loop together more easily. Start with a medium thickness, smooth, but not slippery, yarn, similar to the yearns used in the YouTube clips mentioned below.

If you're able to visit a local wool shop you will can get advice on good yarns for a beginner and pick up a couple of balls from their clearance bin. Also browse the yarn section on Deramores' website (http://www.deramores.com/knitting-yarn). See the variety of yarns available and feast your eyes on the colours. Be inspired.

It is good to get into the habit of reading the labels round balls of yarn. They give helpful information. Below is the information I copied off one label:-

Brand Hayfield
Blend 100% Acrylic
Yarn Weight DK
Length 280m
Ball Weight 100g
* Tension 22 stitches, 28 rows to 10cm on 4mm needles
Needle Size 4.00mm
Care Instructions Machine Wash - Wool Wash - 40°CDry Clean - P Bar Can Tumble DryTumble Dry - Low HeatDry FlatCool Iron

* [Tension in knitting is vital to achieve good results.]

It is important to use yarns which are suitable for the garment you are making. But you'll think more about that once you have mastered the basics of looping yarn into even, structured, knitted fabric. And to do that you have control the yarn and get an even "tension".

So what is tension? It is the number of rows and number of stitches to a given measurement. When I learnt to knit it was the number of rows and stitches to the inch. Now, as you will have read from the above label it is the number of rows and stitches to 10cm.

Many new knitters think knitting a tension square before getting stuck into a new project is a boring waste of time. Not so. The tension square is key to getting it right.

To quote Mary Smith, "Think of swatching as PLAYING WITH YARN. It can give you inspiration, experience, knowledge, ideas. A beautiful yarn that you fall in love with in the ball may be no fun at all to actually knit with - and you’ll never know until you start knitting with it. It’s fun to buy single skeins of yarns just to play with - no finished item that needs to be completed. Try different needle sizes, different stitch patterns (Barbara Walker’s four books of stitch patterns are highly recommended), different color combinations, different yarns knitted together as one strand. Put hangtags on your swatches with yarn name(s), date, needle size(s) and stitch pattern(s) and save them for future reference. If it bothers you to have a lot of knitted squares or rectangles floating around doing nothing, sew them together into a blanket. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MESS AROUND AND / OR MESS UP - IT’S ONLY PLAY!"
(From Understanding Knitting Gauge: Some FAQs and Facts, Advice and Opinions by Mary Smith. earthguild.com)
The rest of Mary Smith's article is worth reading.
(Swatch = tension square. Gauge = tension. Charity shops are good for finding knitting books)

Mount your swatches on card, labelled with the information Mary Smith suggests and file in the ring binder.

Once you are knitting, use your ring binder to keep notes about the items you knit. It will become a good resource.

Seven YouTube clips covering the minimum you need to know to start knitting

Holding the needles and yarn http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bEPjwPZpEvk

Tensioning the yarn http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=o6kEYWaQZRQ

How to cast on http://www.instructables.com/id/Knitting-Lessons-Cast-On-Techniques/

How to do knit stitches http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Sjf37u6hdcM

How to do purl stitches http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lkb0YyrzPWA

How to knit stocking stitch http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=g1gWJGGZbO4

How to cast off http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TMAUORm-GK4
Useful to have:-
a) medium size crochet hook - useful for picking up dropped stitches

b) cable needle - short double pointed needle, useful for holding dropped stitches.
(Later will be used when knitting cables; advanced stuff)

c) darning needle, a sewing needle with a blunt point and eye big enough through which to thread the knitting yarn.

d) small pair of pointed embroidery scissors. (Do not use for cutting paper as will get blunt)

e) tape measure

f) small bag to hold a)-e)

g) notebook and pen, ring binder and card (cornflake box thickness)to mount samples you make. [Don't groan, it pays dividends and is worth the effort]

h) project bag to keep all the above in.


Weblinks (other than youtube) mentioned.




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Welcome to Enjoy Living Contentedly, where you'll find thoughts and links about Contentment and Wellbeing . These arise from my experiences and a passion for three energetic systems, Ayurveda Lifestyle Principles, Emotional Logic and Permaculture, taking care of body, mind and community.

The site is also the home of ELSIE books, my self-published books, including my biography, Spinning the Warp: A personal story, and e-booklets.

My latest interests cover Sensory Processing and Aśraya, a new concept for the care world, small initiatives by individuals to create havens for themselves and those they care about.

Judith H Morrison

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