From the heart, to the heart

BeethovenIt took Beethoven over four years to write The Missa Solemnis (1819-1823).

It is a masterpiece. “He pretty much prevented anyone writing a mass again!” the renowned conductor, Sir Colin Davis once said.

Beethoven dedicated The Missa Solemnis to Archduke Rudolph of Austria. Over the score, Beethoven wrote these words:

“Von Herzen—Möge es wieder—Zu Herzen gehn!”

“From the heart—may it return to the heart!”

Is there a better dedication you could write? I can’t think of one.

One of my publishers talks about picture book manuscript’s needing to have “heart.” It’s what makes the difference between a living book and a book that is just words on the page.

It reminds me of what someone else once said:

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” Robert Frost

I don’t think he means you have to suffer to write something great. But your writing, your art, must, I think, come from the deepest part of you, from the truest part, from the depth that suffering has created. And where Joy is born.

Tears and passion are what give us something as glorious and soaring and magnificent as The Missa Solemnis. It is out of the pain and brokenness, out of the deepest places, out of the suffering, and sometimes at great cost, that the miracle is born.

Do we only receive the most precious things that way maybe? What costs us the most is also the most valuable to us.

Is there a better prayer to pray entering the new day? In whatever we do. If it’s writing a poem, composing a song, cleaning the kitchen, walking in the park, or reading to a child.

“From the heart—may it return to the heart!”


PS here it is conducted by the great Sir Colin Davis himself!

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