Tuesday, August 3, 2010


In the summer of 1812, Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe met in the Bohemian spa town of Teplitz. As Germany's greatest composer and most famous poet of their time were walking in the park immediately behind the castle in the centre of the town, the Austrian Empress and her retinue approached them. To make way, Goethe immediately went to the curbside, bowing deeply with his hat in hand. Beethoven however pushed his top hat firmly on the back of his head, crossed his arms behind his back and strode past the Empress, intentionally snubbing her and her aristocratic entourage. When Goethe had caught up with him again, Beethoven hissed: You are paying those so-called High Borns too much respect;  they ought to bow to us. The event was reported by Bettina von Arnim who admired Goethe and was appalled at Beethoven's behavior.

1 comment:

  1. Goethe, Beethoven and Bettina Brentano (later Arnim). Are there any dramas written about this magic triangle, up to now?