Thursday, January 13, 2011

1/13 Awesome Stories, Primary Sources

Recently I came across a cool website called Awesome Stories which features articles based on "primary sources" - in other words, whatever they write is somewhat more truthful than when people like me write "I think I read somewhere that Beethoven possibly may have..."

"AwesomeStories is about primary sources. The stories exist as a way to place original materials in context and to hold those links together in an interesting, cohesive way (thereby encouraging people to look at them). It is a totally different kind of web site in that its purpose is to place primary sources at the forefront - not the opinions of a writer. Its objective is to take the site's users to places where those primary sources are located."

The articles list the sources of all their facts and have lots of "pop-up" links to relevant images, videos, documents and audio clips.  Fun.

Here's how the one about Beethoven starts:
"A vicious, early-spring storm darkened Vienna's late-afternoon sky.  Suddenly, an enormous thunder-clap reverberated throughout the Schwarzspanierhaus ("House of the Black-Robed Spaniards").  Inside, a man was dying.  Although deaf and comatose, Ludwig van Beethoven seemed startled by the enormous thunder peal.  Lifting his right arm - as though he were a general, commanding an army - the 56-year-old composer momentarily clenched his raised fist.  Seconds later, his arm fell back onto his bed, and Beethoven died.  It was the 26th of March, 1827.

Some people thought Beethoven strange - or even hostile.  Except for his servants, the maestro lived alone, like someone who had been banished. In a way, he was banished.  Separated from the hearing world - in which people listened to his music - Beethoven heard nothing as the sound of his compositions echoed throughout Europe.

How could someone who penned great musical works - like the second movement of his 7th Symphony, or the 9th, or the 5th - create when he was profoundly deaf?  How did he view his genius, coupled with his deafness? Two centuries later, Beethoven's music is still popular.  His influence remains extraordinary.  But ... who was Ludwig - as a boy, as a man and as a musician?"

It's a finely done overview of Beethoven, which you can see in its entirety HERE (as well as lots of other very interesting articles such as BIOGRAPHIES and HISTORY)

1 comment:

  1. an addendum, this is a pretty interesting example of one of the "Histories" at Awesome Stories: