Raising the taste of the public, sometimes a thankless job


Ludwig van Beethoven understood the value of raising the taste of the public; present-day artists might want to consider using this as a basis for requests from patrons, etc., or say you want a discount on your child’s voice lessons. Below is an excerpt from his 1806 petition to the Vienna Imperial Court Theater, to retain him as in in-house opera composer, at 2,400 florins annually:

The undersigned may flatter himself that so far during the period of his stay in Vienna he has won a certain amount of favor and appreciation… both at home and abroad.

Nevertheless, he has had to contend with all sorts of difficulties, and as yet has not been fortunate enough to establish himself here in a position compatible to his desire to live entirely for art…

Since on the whole the aim which he has ever pursued in his career has been much less to earn his daily bread than to raise the taste of the public and to let his genius soar to greater heights and even to perfection, the inevitable result has been that the undersigned has sacrifices to the Muse both material profit and his own advantage. – Ludwig van Beethoven

His petition was rejected (OK, maybe the third person thing ¬†was a bit much), but luckily some upstanding royals stepped up to the plate and he didn’t have to take a day job. Times have changed, huh?

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