Thursday, April 13, 2017


by Vincent de Luise M.D.

Beethoven and Eros

Ludwig van Beethoven 
    by W.J. Mahler (1815)    

Antonie Brentano
        by Joseph Karl Stieler (1808

On July 7, 1812, Beethoven penned an intimate, ten-page, emotionally wrenching and soul-bearing letter to his "Immortal Beloved," his unsterbliche Geliebte. He never mailed that letter, just as he never mailed the letter known as the Heiligenstadt Testament, announcing to his brothers Karl and Johann of his impending deafness.
The last page of Beethoven's
Letter to his Immortal Beloved

Who was the Immortal Beloved? Who was Beethoven's unsterbliche Geliebte?

Maynard Solomon had convinced most of us in 1977 that it was Antonie Brentano (1780-1869), for whom Beethoven wrote "An die ferne Geliebte" and the monumental "Diabelli Variations" (Beethoven had planned to dedicate the piano sonatas Op 111 and 112 to her as well, except for an error at the publishers). Brentano was a prominent arts collector and philanthropist.

New research has refuted the Brentano hypothesis. Could Josephine van Brunsvik have been Beethoven's true love?  Josephine's sister Therese wrote, "Beethoven! It is like a dream, that he was the friend, the confidant of our house - a beautiful mind ! Why did not my sister Josephine, as widow Deym, take Beethoven as her husband? Josephine's soul mate! They were born for each other!"

Josephine van Buskirk

Still others maintain that it was the beautiful and talented pianist, Countess Anne Marie Erdody,  to whom Beethoven dedicated the "Ghost" piano trio, Op 70 no. 1, and the piano sonata Op 102.
Countess Anna Marie Erdody

Or perhaps it was Giulietta Guicciardi, to whom Beethoven dedicated the "Moonlight" Sonata?
Giulietta Guicciardi

For most of his life, Beethoven was in love with a woman, from his childhood sweetheart, Eleonore "Lorchen" von Breuning, to the very end with Brentano, the van Brunsviks and the others. As far as is known, none of these amorous situations was consummated.. 

Maybe Beethoven was ultimately in love with Euterpe herself, the Muse of Music, as these other women were all virtually unattainable, by rank, choice, or circumstance (i.e., "she was "happily married" so it cannot be her" ).

Maybe that's why Beethoven never mailed that letter on July 7, 1812.

"Ever Thine

Ever Mine

Ever Ours"

@2017 Vincent P. de Luise MD

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