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Answered 2011-01-05 19:12:10

Quick answer: NO. Beethoven's mother:

Long answer: Read the sci-fi history below and my answers to all those myths.

Beethoven, the Black Spaniard

By Deborah D. Moseley

Just how does an individual with a Teutonic surname born in eighteenth-century Germany acquire the moniker "The Black Spaniard"? One of the homes in which Beethoven resided in Vienna, Austria, the music capitol of European Music at that time, was called the "Schwarzspanierhaus," the "House of the Black Spaniard." In the book entitled Beethoven by David Jacobs (p. 133), is a facsimile of this non-extant building, which, according to the author, was formerly a monastery. The center facade has the sign "I Resley," the left facade is unlabelled. But the right facade is labelled, "Zum Schwarzspanier," "To the Black Spaniard."

And this is because the monastery was inhabited by black-robed Spanish benedictine monks and "Schwarzspanier" can be traslated also as "black Spaniard*s*. And van Beethoven is not a teutonic surname, by the way.

Such an individual living amongst a land of predominantly White citizenry must have had some apparent physical and ethnic characteristics and strains in his heritage to not only be branded "The Spaniard," but also "The Black Spaniard."

Yes, the "black Spaniards" were, well, Spaniards, and as benedictines, sported a black robes, but I can't see how Beethoven could be retroactively one of them.

Additionally, in a PBS presentation about Beethoven, the host and narrator, Russian Actor Peter Ustinov, said that Beethoven would become angry when people called him "inferior." Clearly, he must have been an exotic and at times disparaged presence in Germany and Austria.

Exotic? Well, Flanders is not so far away for being considerated such a thing. But even if he was Spanish, since Charles V the relations and intermarriages between Spaniards and Austrians were common. (Families Almeida, Sánchez de la Cerda or Schönburg-de Laserna amongst the Austrian nobility of those years make me think a Spaniard would be not so exotic in the court of Vienna).

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 -1827) was born in Bonn, Germany, but his family originated in Belgium, which was then called Flanders. Interestingly, his family name, as noble and grand as it sounds, is a Flemish one quaintly and literally meaning "beet garden." For over 200 years, Belgium/Flanders had been occupied by Spain. One need only look at a map to see how close in proximity Southern Spain is to Northern Africa, separated by the Strait of Gibraltar, which, from a geological standpoint, appears to have forged its way through an erstwhile connection between the two terrains.

But in those years existed the so called "limpieza de sangre", and Moorish (who, by the way, are not black but arab-like) were under prosecution. A Black person would have some trouble defending his pure Spanish blood against the Inquisition, don't think so? But it doesn't matter because Beethoven's lineage is well known and it is kept in Vienna and Bonn. And know what? Beethoven was not of Spanish descent.

Africans had easy access to Spain, the zenith being the 700 year reign of the Moors in that country. ("Moor" comes from Greek/Latin root words meaning "Black" or "dark-skinned.") The protracted Black presence in Spain apparently protracted its presence in Belgium/Flanders along with the Spanish. Thus, Beethoven inherited this Black Spanish strain.

They were 700 years in the town of Granada and its surroundings, about 300 years in most of the center, just decades in northern areas and never in some parts. The greek/latin root doesn't mean black but unless we are talking about mothern Greek. Here more Schwartzspanier in Flanders. http:/upload.wikimedia.orgwikipediacommons66eDe_overgave_van_breda_Velazquez.jpg

Anyway, this doesn't matter, because as I said before, he had not any Spaniard in his lineage.

Which leads to a very critical question: Why the proliferation of spurious portraits that hide his ethnic heritage as a man of color?

I agree! Why the afrocentrists edit pictures in order to make Beethoven more black-like? Why do they lie forging facts?

Beethoven was one of the most innovative and amazing musical geniuses, ever. His deafness made that amazing genius even more so. As a Black woman and a musician who has spent a lifetime listening to, studying, and performing his music, I believe his music reveals a cultural connection to his African ancestry.

"His" African ancestry had not proper musical system like the Asians or the Europeans had. But even if they did, Beethoven wouldn't had have a way to know "his" musical heritage. I think you'd better, as a black woman, vindicate real Black musicians instead of trying to assume as yours the White ones. Doing that seems that you have not musicians to be proud of.

In the Blom edition of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, p. 20, is stated, "A rhythmic or time-active cast of thought was inherent in his nature," and "(n)umerous examples could be given from familiar music in which an off-beat accent converts an ordinary into an extraordinary passage." The distinctive characteristic of off-beat accents, or syncopation, is intrinsic and integral to Black people's music making, which gives it a unique vitality and kinetic energy.

That only proves that all those stuff is not exclusive of the black People, and the white people bagan this kind of things centuries before the blacks did.

My favorite examples of this rhythmic trait are his mammoth string quartet known as "The Great Fugue," which sounds "way ahead of its time" and foretells 20th century atonality. Also, the second movement of the last Piano Sonata he wrote, Op. 111 in C minor, sounds like the genesis of jazz. I believe he had exquisite foresight as to how music would evolve in the future. He was an astounding piano improvisateur, which moved Mozart to prophesy, "He will give the world something worth listening to." The last movement of the "Waldstein" Sonata, op. 53, has a syncopated bass, which might inspire gospel music clapping. It is also the same off-beat pattern used in reggae and Hip- Hop music.

So that leads to another question: black music is inspirated by white music. Not only the instruments are from the whites, but the very music itself.

Beethoven makes prolific use of the syncopating kettle drum in much of his orchestral music, such as the dramatic Symphony No. 5, which contains one of the world's most famous themes, and the majestic "Emperor" Piano Concerto No. 5. He was the first composer to invigorate European Classical Music with prodigious use of this decidedly inherent African rhythmic trait. He was also one of the first composers to deviate from the musical template of eighteenth-century rules and regulations. In his Fourth Piano Concerto No. 4, the piano begins the opening, as opposed to traditionally beginning with the orchestra. The "Waldstein" Sonata begins in G major, even though it is written in C major.

He was the first composer to include a chorus in a symphony, which became known as the "Choral" Symphony No. 9, the theme of the hymn "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee." He was also one of the first composers to inject his personal thunderous temperament in his music, as evidenced in such piano works as the "Appassionata" Sonata, Op. 57 and the fittingly named "Tempest" Sonata, op.31, no.2. He was the first composer to explore and exploit the virtuosic possibilities of the piano, which necessitated piano makers' building stronger, more durable instruments.

His was the first piano music to require the pianist to play the trill and the melody with one hand, as in the "Hammerklavier" Sonata where he took piano music where it had never gone before. (It reminds me of Robert Johnson, who played the chords and the melody simultaneously on the blues guitar). With his daring musical innovations, formidable piano technique, the injection of deep musical subjectivity as opposed to abstract musical objectivity, he rendered the composer free from stilted, restrictive dogma and ushered in the Romantic Period.

He gave inspiration to Liszt, Schumann, and Chopin. I opine that in the ugly throes of Institutional Racism during Beethoven's lifetime when Chattel Slavery in America was in full operation and Europe was preparing to subjugate the entire continent of Africa for itself, the European Colonialist and Imperialist Masters found it necessary to obscure certain facts in order to justify keeping an entire people in bondage and sub-human status.

The U.S. Constitution even slated Black people as being only 3/5 human. Such an imperative necessitated academic fraud. The dubious system that portrayed the Ancient Egyptians as White people is the same dubious system that portrayed Beethoven, one of the greatest composers ever, as White. The same dubious system is still intact, which would motivate Hollywood to give false ethnic representations in the Beethoven movies 'Immortal Beloved', and 'Beethoven Lives Upstairs.' Fortunately, the world does consist of honest people who were and are willing to nullify historic prevarications.

Let's see: Beethoven lives in a house called the house of the Black Spaniards, so we can deduce that he must be black. Th fact that it has nothing to do with him doesn't matter. So we need more evidences supporting it... let's see, he was of Flemish descent... Well, the Spanish were in Flanders, and in Spain were Moors, the Moors come from Africa, so do the Black people... Got it! He is a Flemish of Spanish descent of Moor descent of Black-that-somehow-crossed-the-Sahara descent. Well known and documented genealogy and historical facts have nothing to do against this assumptions.

In Alexander Thayer's Life of Beethoven, vol.1, p. 134, the author states, "there is none of that obscurity which exalts one to write history as he would have it and not as it really was. The facts are too patent." On this same page, he states that the German composer Franz Josef Haydn was referred to as a "Moor" by Prince Esterhazy, and Beethoven had "even more of the Moor in his looks." On p. 72, a Beethoven contemporary, Gottfried Fischer, describes him as round-nosed and of dark complexion. Also, he was called "der Spagnol" (the Spaniard).

I think you don't even know that not all Africans are Black. Moors are not black. Do those people look black to you? http:/cache.daylife.comimageserve0e9z2vS6XVbhO610x.jpg Well, that's a moor for you.

Other "patent" sources, of which I found many, include, but are not limited to, Beethoven by Maynard Solomon, p.78. He is described as having "thick, bristly coal-black hair" (in today's parlance, we proudly call it "kinky") and a "ruddy-complexioned face." In Beethoven: His Life and Times by Artes Orga, p.72, Beethoven's pupil, Carl Czerny of the "School of Velocity" fame, recalls that Beethoven's "coal-black hair, cut a la Titus, stood up around his head [sounds almost like an Afro]. His black beard...darkened the lower part of his dark-complexioned face."

Another black guy? http:/www.noticiasdealava.comediciones20070701mirarteculturafotos3698576.jpg.

Also, in The Changing Image of Beethoven by Alexandra Comini, p.31, the author relates the Czerny account using the word 'bristled' and 'shaggy' in reference to the composer's hair. On the same page, a composite description is presented based on eye-witness accounts: "his complexion was brownish, his hair was thick, black and bristly." I suggest that his physical appearance was so strikingly uncommonplace, that those who knew him and had seen him could do no other than give an accurate description.

So what? The hair of the Black people is that... as the hair of many white people.

According to Alexander Thayer, p. 238, "A true and exhaustive picture of Beethoven as a man would present an almost ludicrous contrast to that which is generally entertained as correct. Sculptor and painter in turn have idealized the work of his predecessor, until the composer stands before us like a Homeric god-until those who knew him personally, could they return to earth, would never suspect that the grand form and noble features . . . are intended to represent . . . their old friend."

A true and exhaustive picture of whoever died before the invention of the photogaphy... By the way, the first ones were taken with a gadget called "camera obscura", meaning "dark chamber", or even better, "black chamber"... Hey, photography could be an invention of the Black people too, uh?

According to the Sadie edition of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, p.392, the most approximate impression we can expect of the composer's physical appearance is the 1814 engraving by Blasius Hofel and the 1812 life mask, which clearly reveals his broad, flat nose (which can be seen in the Jacobs book, pp.142-143, the Hofel portrait on p. 150.) The author of this edition of Grove's, p. 392, insists that the "idealized portraits and busts . . . owe nothing to literal or even to poetic truth." So a picture is not always worth a thousand words.

In a just and equitable society a person's skin color is supposed to be of no consideration. Beethoven was a phenomenal genius and during the many years of childhood and adult life when I was unaware of his ethnic heritage, being constantly confronted by persistent and insistent portrayals of his image as White which I thought were correct, that just did not matter. I saw him as a great composer whose music I enjoyed listening to and performing.

Unfortunately, the European oppressors, colonialists, and imperialists who instituted a universal system based on color superiority and color inferiority, falsifying and suppressing evidence to exalt one people and debase another have made it matter. Such perpetration of academic theft was based on color, which makes color a major consideration in the imperative of seeking academic justice for the people whose great and noble past was stolen and hidden from them to prevent their aspiring to a great and noble present and future. It is time to build that just and equitable society that redresses academic pilferage, recognizing the color-blindness of genius and the historic contributions of all people thereby engendering understanding, respect, and equality.

Blah blah blah. You invented this bulls... because you are looking desperately for black people who made a contribution to the History, and you don't mind to be clutching at straws. Have not a Black person to vindicate instead of pretending another's history is part of yours? We're adults, aren't we?

But if you don't mind believing all that nonsense, I've got another ludicrous claim for your afrocentrical mithology: governor Schwartzenegger is black too!!! Schwartzenegger means "black n****r"

All those bolds of yours are simply crap. Nothing more illuminating than truth (for those who are not blind by their own prejudices). Read and SEE:

Alexander Wheelock -- Beethoven (Vo. I) p. 146

"IT would be pleasant to announce the arrival of Ludwig van Beethoven in Vienna with, so to speak, a grand flourish of trumpets, and to indulge the fancy in a highly-colored and poetic account of his advent there; but, unluckily, there is none of that lack of data which is favorable to that kind of composition; none of that obscurity which exalts one to write history as he would have it and not as it really was. The facts are too patent. Like the multitude of studious youths and young men who came thither annually to find schools and teachers, this small, thin, dark-complexioned, pockmarked, dark-eyed, bewigged young musician of 22 years had quietly journeyed to the capital to pursue the study of his art with a small, thin, dark-complexioned, pockmarked, black-eyed and bewigged veteran composer. In the well-known anecdote related by Carpani of Haydn's introduction to him, Anton Esterhazy, the prince, is made to call the composer "a Moor." Beethoven had even more of the Moor in his looks than his master. His front teeth, owing to the singular flatness of the roof of his mouth, protruded, and, of course, thrust out his lips; the nose, too, was rather broad and decidedly flattened, while the forehead was remarkably full and round--- in the words of the late Court Secretary, Mahler, who twice painted his portrait, a "bullet.""

If you think that Alexander Wheeler Thayer was an "afrocentrist", you are really having a very bad hangover. This description above is simply the truth. Beethoven would be hanged [over] in the US under the infamous "one-drop" rule. Wake up, human!

Additionally, I can send you an engraving of the real Beethoven so you can wake up once and for all.

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