Variations on Casta Diva Jean-Baptiste Arban Download 'Variations on Casta Diva' on iTunes
Beethoven composed his Romance No. 2 in 1803 and the sweet, innocent melodies belie the altogether more tumultuous events of the composer’s personal life at the time.
Beethoven's ability to create astonishing music throughout this period can all too easily lead us to forget the cruel experience of his suffering from gradual deafness. At the same time as writing the Romance in F, Beethoven was forced to come to terms with his condition, probably for the first time.
The delicate, youthful phrasing of the violin line suggests a composer finding some brief respite through the escapism of writing music. Indeed, Beethoven seems to have continually found solace in this way throughout the early 1800s, when his awareness of his deteriorating hearing was at its most acute. During this period, the Moonlight Sonata and his Symphony No. 2 were just two of the other works he composed.
Here, all angst is absent from the page. In its place, we find music that suggests that all is well. As Beethoven knew all too clearly, though, this was far from the case.