Boundless Joy!

Will you hop aboard my train of thought with me? It’s heading toward a place of harmony and — you guessed it — joy!

The starting point was a dull morning with not much needing to be done. So I idly began to rummage through a sort-of-jewelry-box, that is, a box containing not real “serious” jewelry but bits and bobs (as the English say) of costume pieces and souvenir pins and such. And there I uncovered a medal, a longago gift from my two German friends. On the front was a stylized Nativity, and on the obverse was this phrase, Freude Ohne Grenzen.

Freude ohne Grenzen

My German is minimal, so I contacted Mr. Google, who informed me that Freude Ohne Grenzen means Joy Without Limits. Or, freely translated, boundless joy. My train, once started, went chugging along to the strains of “Freude, freude”, the Ode to Joy, which I heard plainly in my head without benefit of Youtube (although I’ll be providing you with one before we’re through).

The celebrated Ode to Joy, final movement of his Ninth Symphony, and the most purely joyous piece of music I know, is of course, the creation of Ludwig van Beethoven. But he, I thought, was hardly a joyous man. A passionate man, certainly. Everything he wrote is imbued with passion. (Except perhaps for Für Elise, which may explain why it is my least favorite of all Beethoven’s works.)

Ludwig van BeethovenBut a joyful man? From all the biographies and portraits and biopics, emphatically not. Depressive, moody, angry, intense, oh, lots and lots of adjectives. But I never remember seeing “joyous” among them. Which led me to thinking about the nature of genius. Not talent, there’s plenty of talent around, I even have some myself — but genius, the real thing. Unexplainable and inimitable and illimitable.

Beethoven had genius, scads of it, heaped up and running over. And, I thought, just maybe being a conduit for the divine is no easy task —    There’s doubtless a price to be paid for it —  How lightly and easily Mozart seemed to carry that burden, but then again, look how young he died, and under what tragic circumstances —- How often I’ve envied genius, wishing I had been gifted with it — And then I remind myself of that old caveat, Be careful what you wish for —- And then (my train is nearing the destination) I began to search among the many Youtubes of the Ninth Symphony for the one I passionately want to share with you, along with my gratitude to the Divine for the genius of Beethoven, and to the man who paid the price for it.

And I found it. This “flash mob” in Sabadell, Spain, incarnates joy without limits. I’ve posted it before, but it sends me up among the stars every time I watch it. Look at the faces of the performers, the passersby, the children —- Look and listen —-

My thanks to you, Ludwig V., somewhere among the stars yourself, for your gift of boundless joy!

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29 Responses to Boundless Joy!

  1. frizztext says:

    “Depressive, moody, angry, …” yes, that was Beethoven, very often frustrated – maybe the reason why he was so creative on the other hand :-)

    • Touch2Touch says:

      On the theory that his creativity was an itch he had to scratch? Perhaps so.
      To me genius has laws unto itself. I’m glad the world has them, but I’m equally content not to have to live with one. ;-)

  2. Smallpeace says:

    Hi Touch2Touch! I’m sticking my toe back into the blogosphere! I love this video and am moved by it every time. Your post made me recall the correlation that is commonly made between creativity and depression. Hara Estroff Marano asserts in her article in Psychology Today that “artists are more likely to be self-reflective and to ruminate, to mull things over. And that thinking style is a hallmark of depression and commonly leads to it.” This point of view makes this “Masha” feel quite doomed and I don’t wonder, can’t joy be a choice? Yes, I often write about heavy things, am inclined to the blues, but I’ve also made a conscious effort to seek out happiness. A kind of fake-it-’til-you-make-it campaign of self-preservation. I wonder if this was Mr. Beethoven’s motivation for writing his joyous ode.

    • Touch2Touch says:

      Michele, I’m so happy to see you back here/over here/out here in the blogosphere! (Always had a tentatively joyful feeling that would happen.)
      Very interesting points you make, bringing the conversation to a whole ‘nother level. Frizztext mentions the same possible correlation, one which I hadn’t heard. I always blamed my own tendency toward depression on Russian ancestors rather than on self-reflection. Anyway, I could no more give up the latter than I could give up breathing.
      As for Mr. Beethoven’s motivation — I regard it as a wonderful mystery. If he were a conduit for the divine, then perhaps he had no choice — if he were to create at all, he would have to create what was flowing in him.
      I hope at some points in his life he experienced at least some of the boundless joy his creation has given to others.

  3. Freude Ohne Grenzen! Thanks for adding these words to my vocabulary!

  4. Lucid Gypsy says:

    If ever I should get lucky enough to come across a flash mob performing Ode to Joy – one of my all time favourite pieces, I would cry tears of joy as I am now! thank you :-)

  5. purringly says:

    Some really interesting points Smallpeace brings up here.
    I agree wholeheartedly about the ‘genius part’, and being careful about what you wish for. No way, I would have wanted that.

    As a young girl, I played Für Elise [amongst many other pieces of course] on the piano so many times so I still remember it by heart.

    The otherwise moody Beethoven, writing this joyous piece of music, makes me think of real hard rockers … heavy metal, even that have made a few of the most beautiful ballads I’ve ever heard. The pure opposite of their regular repertoire …

    • Touch2Touch says:

      I’m out of my league here with hard rock — but I see the point you’re making, and it’s an interesting one, Rebekah. People aren’t just one way, maybe — they include their own opposites, and sometimes want to express that also. You think?
      (Are you sitting down and playing Für Elise one more time tonight?)

  6. Jen Payne says:

    A BEAUTIFUL way to start my morning – thank you!! xoxo

  7. I love the little girl climbing the pole. She wants the best seat in the house and I don’t blame her. thanks, Judith. Saw this but never tire of it. Joy to you. :-)

  8. I must say that this is one of my all time favorite pieces. This specific Flash Mob YouTube rendition is amazing and I have watched it over and over for months. Beethoven based his work on a poem by Friedrich Schiller,it being his most famous poem, written in 1785. The poem was originally an “Ode to Freedom” and the word “Joy” (Freude instead of Freiheit) was substituted to present a less overtly political theme at the time. In light of the wars and broken treaties that his life was affected by, he had the same yearnings we all do – for peace through international and inter-factional cooperation. No matter the original basis for the piece it resonates such vibrant hope in my heart whenever I hear it.

  9. Patti Kuche says:

    Slipping into goose bump syrup with this one Judith! How wonderful to hear, see and feel more music like this, freedom and joy. Thank you so much!

  10. pix & kardz says:

    i stumbled upon this video previously.. don’t remember where, but it remains one of my favourites. there is something rich about Freude ohne Grenzen, infinite joy, or as you put it – boundless joy.
     
    by the way, you have added a link to the weekly photo challenge post which connects to that same photo challenge rather than to one of your own posts. not sure if that was a creative way to keep people looking for the unexpected there, or if you were hoping to link to one of yours here. so i looked for you, and landed here. that was rather unexpected – but enjoyable at the same time :)

    • Touch2Touch says:

      Wow, thanks for the heads-up, Kris. I usually check it out when I post one with Daily Post, but tonight I didn’t.
      But I’m glad you came by Touch2Touch — a more text oriented blog. Now that you’ve come upon it, maybe you’ll enjoy visiting. I certainly enjoy having you! :-)

  11. Madhu says:

    What sheer bliss to witness that live!!! Thank you for injecting joy into my day Judith :-)

  12. Oh Judith, I certainly remember it! Loved it and inserted the video also in one of my posts!
    xxxk

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