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Only Beethoven

"The old castellan [of Gratz castle] was firmly convinced that Beethoven was not quite right in his mind; he would often run, bareheaded, without a hat, around in the great park of the castle hours on end, even if it were raining with lightning and thunder. On other occasions, he would sit for whole days shut up in his room without seeing anybody and not speaking a word. But the most insane behaviour occurred when the French occupied Gratz after the battle of Austerlitz (1806). The prince had aroused the hopes of the French general of meeting the celebrated composer and to hear him play on the piano-forte. To this end, a great musical soiree was arranged at the castle and the composer was to play his latest compositions. Beethoven, however, refused although the Prince repeatedly and earnestly requested him to do so. Nevertheless, the Prince sill hoped to persuade the obstinate musician, and invited the French general and other distinguished guests. On the appointed evening Beethoven was nowhere to be seen. Finally the news came that the artist had secretly left the castle and fled on foot to the town of Gratz in the cold winter night -- only a letter to the Prince had been found in his room. In it he explained that he could not play to enemies of his country and added 'Prince! What you are, you are by circumstance and by birth. What I am, I am through myself. Of Princes there have been and will be thousands. Of Beethovens there is only one...'"
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