13 April 2020

Beethoven in covid-19 times

We happen to live in the city where Beethoven was born - 250 years ago. The annual Beethoven festival usually brings a lot of tourists and occasionally, the hotels cannot cope with the influx so that once in a while, we have ended up hosting a Japanese violinist or a Korean cellist who came to see a dream fulfilled.

Not so this year, for obvious reasons, despite this being the 250th birthday bash of the master.

But things are happening online.

Last week, the Beethoven Orchestra, the city's symphony orchestra, called on musicians of any skill to join them to play Beethoven's 6th Symphony. Anyone who wanted to participate could download the sheet music and play in front of their home computer or smartphone. Whether violin, bassoon, horn or electric guitar - the choice of instrument was left to the amateur musicians themselves. You can spot some interesting instruments and if you live here, even the odd colleague.

As for the social distancing situation at home, I have entered week five. At least I think it's week five but what do I care. Yesterday was rhubarb crumble day, today was anxiety day with scratchy throats for the both of us, tomorrow should be tax return day and after that possibly whatever else day.

In between all this jolly nothingness, we discuss the way of the world and whether a longer lockdown will bring forth better ideas for a new future and if this will be the end of capitalism as we know it. You know, the ususal plotting of aging would be rebels who remember a thing or two, recognising that what brought us here is not only a nasty virus that jumped out of the thin air somewhere next to a sack of rice that fell over in China, but in many cases the way our countries are run, like cut throat companies, dispensing with the stuff that represents the essential buffer in public organisations, leaving us not only poorly  prepared to deal with pandemics or national emergencies, but also catastrophically unable to provide decent and sustainable livelihoods for vast numbers of people even in normal times.
For some this means that due to the fact that there is a shortage of asparagus pickers here, the sky is falling, the sky is falling.
But I get carried away.


  1. And to paraphrase Robert Reich, it's not the billionaires who are going to get us through this thing, it is the keyworkers.

  2. As we were driving home today I was texting my niece and the last thing she texted me was stay safe.

    I said to my husband, one day in a hundred years this will be a page on Wikipedia, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and that's why people still say be safe. Who knows?

  3. That jaw harp was the most surprising thing!

    So, the White House is actively looking at reducing the pay of farm workers. Way to go, Administration! Does the WH actually understand where our food comes from? I think not.

    Gaaaaawwwwwdddd, when will we be rid of them?

  4. I loved reading this post and listening to that beautiful music at the same time. A combination of beauty and joy, heartbreak and tragedy. We are living in such crazy times. It's hard to even imagine what the world is going to look like this summer and then fall. We wait...

  5. Música! Thank you, Sabine.

  6. Your definition of key worker brought a sad smile to my face. Beautiful post. :-)


    Greetings from London.

  7. No thoughts for future in my brain this morning. Thanks for music!

  8. what a great video. gotta love the guy with the slide whistle. I have one of those and tried playing The Star Spangled Banner. not that easy.

    I scoffed originally when people kept saying things have changed, would be different when all this is over. perhaps though I'm still not so sure. I think the only lesson we will have learned is that it's a bad idea to elect an imbecile president.

  9. … Afterwards politicians generate powerful arguments as to why keyworkers should continue to be undervalued and underpaid. "It's their sense of vocation," is one of the most weaselly.

    Enlivened by the Jew's Harp and the bicycle pump. The sheep, I think, were Eroica fans.

  10. Sabine, I wrote the comment "I love the video, the music, ....." I'm having trouble getting my comments to list my name.

    1. Colette, I'd hate to think you cannot comment on my blog! This here is the only comment I got from you for this post.