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VIENNA. Zentralfriedhof. 1827
With the Ninth Symphony, my fame reached its peak.
Emerging from the deep despair of recent years, I looked deep
within myself to create that passionate and optimistic symphony, written by a deaf man who could not overcome the sadness of everyday life... It was impressive! At the first performance of this symphony, I could not even hear the intense ovations of the audience;
during the applause, one of the musicians had to turn me around so that I could see the people applauding. I tried to compose a tenth symphony, but in the meantime painful childhood memories had resurfaced and made my work too difficult. In March 1827, a priest came to give me the last rites. I spent five days on my deathbed,
until a storm broke out, in the middle of which I raised my fist high in the air, towards a lightning bolt that ripped through the clouds. Then I collapsed on the bed... What did that gesture mean? It meant that I still had energy, but the energy was consumed in that very last gesture. A perfect symbol, an expression, a 'Beethovenian moment', the historians of
your time would say...Later, I would be buried in today's central cemetery in Vienna. I was considered a great revolutionary hero. I symbolised the incarnation of the struggle of the artist who went through hell for the sake of his art. Someone once said: <<Talent is what men possess; genius is what possesses a man.>>... and I was possessed by it.
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