glyph 617: romantic vision . inspiration . an important kind of anarchism ... Beethoven, Goethe, Brothers Grimm, Ludwig Achim von Arnim, Des Knaben Wunderhorn, poetry . music: Mahler, forty years later


Bettina Brentano: A virtuoso muse

by Jan Swafford, The Guardian, August 2003

An introduction to a most extraordinary woman, whose inspiration enters into the story of freeorder.

... Bettina had a horror of the ordinary. To Clemens [her brother] she wrote, in terms she would echo for the rest of her life:

It is no use telling me to be calm; to me that conveys sitting with my hands in my lap, looking forward to the broth we are having for supper... My soul is a passionate dancer; she dances to hidden music which only I can hear... Whatever police the world may prescribe to rule the soul, I refuse to obey them.

There is speculation that this magnificent declaration of Beethoven's about music and his own place in the world may have been written by Bettina. If so, we owe her thanks: she captured an immortal truth.

Thanks to Jan Swafford for preserving the memory of this extraordinary woman:
December 5, 2019

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