The other day, I went to the ballet for the first time in a while. As a child, I often admired the beauty of the dancers’ movements; the emotional motive expressed by each and every part of their bodies as well as the thrill of the story all welled up in me again and brought back many memories. People absorb things from the moment they are born, and we artists try to express this, but what did Beethoven hear, see, feel and love in order to compose such works?
Even after he lost his hearing, perhaps he had countless sounds in his memory. Many of his works do indeed include naturally occurring sounds: the sound of hooves, carriages, wind, birdsong and people singing. These sounds, however, do not simply articulate the actual ‘sound’ per se, but rather within them, there lies a message or philosophy.
What sort of a world did Beethoven see? Within his music, I see things such as the green colors in nature, the bright blue sky, the beautiful face of a woman or the colors of delicious fruits. However, I feel that behind this apparently peaceful world there always lies darkness, the atmosphere of a funeral, the cruelty of war…
What did he touch with his hands? The smooth feel of a newly sprouted bud, the sensation of the first Hammerklavier he had had delivered or the first time he touched the hand of someone he loved… When playing Beethoven’s sonatas, one can travel through time and imagination.
I have a feeling that it is these simple memories that people value with each step they take through life. But by living life to the fullest, what does one gain, and what is there after the journey?
The sonatas I am performing today are among the most enigmatic of Beethoven’s works, and it is almost as though they transcend the superficial world, reaching out for something deeper within. I believe that we are all moved emotionally every day in some small way. Is it not these small emotions, then, that are the gifts we gain? I imagine the mysteries of life and music flow through time eternally, to be engraved into our universe.