Image Credit: 

above: detail of Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven when composing the Missa Solemnis, oil on canvas, by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820 (Beethoven-Haus/Wikimedia Commons)

Under the Black Flag

Beethoven’s Skin-Tone Poem

Back in the days when skin tone was not a criterion for worthy art, I used to attend the opera quite regularly, especially when works from Mozart, Verdi, or Puccini were on offer. I mention skin tone because a black American so-called academic, Philip Ewell, claims that Western classical music is rooted in racism. Phil also thinks that Ludwig van Beethoven is kinda useless, and that our reverence for classical music is just an expression of white supremacy. So what else is new?

I’ll tell you in a jiffy: According to Phil’s obviously oxygen-deprived brain, old Ludwig’s reputation was propped up for 200 years by “whiteness and maleness.” What the moronic Phil doesn’t realize, however, is that poor old Beethoven has had many black academics rooting for him since many a year, namely because they believed he had black blood in his veins.

Mind you, Beethoven had no more black blood flowing in him than I do, but was often painted in dark colors—probably to artistically reflect his moods, which were at times “black” because of his lack of hearing. Beethoven’s ancestry was Flemish, and there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that one of his ancestors had an affair with a Moorish servant, as some black academics hint.

Worse, these same academics insist that his music reflects African rhythms. This really takes the cake. The Moonlight...