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With Beethoven music entered a new realm that of speech and personal statement, feelings and ideas that had previously only been found only in poetry and drama. He was expressing a philosophy of adversity, a philosophy of reaching a new world through art, work and effort. Daily, for nearly fifty years, he laboriously carved his music out of the noise of life, the chaos of his everyday existence. What he carved was a tribute to achievement, to struggle and joy, to improvisation, artistic power, to life itself. -Ron Price with thanks to Robert Harris, What To Listen For in Beethoven, Macfarlane, Walter and Ross, Toronto, 1996.

As Beethoven was composing his first brilliant compositions in the early years of the nineteenth century, Shaykh Ahmad was gaining his ascendancy over the mujtahids of Iraq and “the scope of his authority” was widening. As Beethoven was stalking over the world as no composer had ever stalked, making all others “feel like pygmies,” Shayhk Ahmad was striking “terror to the hearts” of the votaries of the several schools of thought who listened to him.

The Eroica(1804) has an air of mystery and “expires in a fog of anticipation and suspense.” It is a perfect mixture of “striking originality and traditional form.” Shaykh Ahmad’s thought was a similar mixture. He combined originality and traditional form. He created an atmosphere of anticipation and suspense regarding the tidings of “God’s fast-approaching Revelation.” His life represents a movement toward a climax that has yet to come. So is this true of Beethoven’s Eroica. -Ron Price with thanks to Robert Harris, op.cit., p.92 and Nabil’s Narrative, p.7.

You both exploded onto the world
and it was never the same again.
At the beginning of a heroic age,
defining that age yet to come,
unperturbed by negative reactions,
listening to an intuitive voice,
as perhaps no others ever had,
some inner life and private character
of immense proportions, some divine
vitality1, some examination of direct
experience, a sublime, quiet spirituality,
that inward eye which is the bliss of
solitude.2 You both gave us portraits
of extremely rich souls in close-up
and opened doors, gates to a new age.

Ron Price
23 January 1999

1 William Wordsworth, “A Poet!”, 1842.
2 William Wordsworth, Selected Poems, Walford Davies, editor,, p.122.
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