10 SEC READING: How to achieve immortality

Illustration by Ken Crane

When he was still a young man, Beethoven decided to compose a few improvisations on a music by Pergolesi. He devoted months to this task and finally had the courage to publish it.

A critic wrote a full page review in a German newspaper in which he launched a ferocious attack on the music.

Beethoven, however, was quite unshaken by his comments. When his friends pressed him to respond to the critic, he merely said:

‘All I need to do is to carry on with my work. If the music I compose is as good as I think it is, then it will survive that journalist.
“If it has the depth I hope it has, it will survive the newspaper too.
“Should that ferocious attack on what I do ever be remembered in the future, it will only serve as an example of the imbecility of critics.’

Beethoven was absolutely right.
Over a hundred years later, that same review was mentioned in a radio programme in Sí£o Paulo.