The assignment was to write about our lives in accordance to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 Listen here, if you really want to.
Of course, I did what I was told to do.
The vivace composition and Allegro of movement number one portrays the beginning on a hot, sweltering, Colorado, summer evening. Grace’s mother is weeding the garden, of which she has neglected all summer. Her belly is round and firm, her ankles are swollen. She is tired and her back aches, yet she is determined to finish the weeding. Once finished, she showers and promptly goes to sleep for the evening while her husband handles and cleans his guns. Later she wakes, her husband is sleeping beside her, but there is pain in her round, firm belly! It comes, hard, fast, sharp, then tapers off, leaving her to catch her breath. Again, she feels the pain, it comes and goes without notice as they drive fast to the hospital. Once there, nurses scurry her on a stretcher into a cold and shiny room, PUSH, they sing, PUSH! She pushes, and the doctor arrives and sings in vibrato (Kamien, 2015), “BREATHE, BREATHE, PUSH!!!” The baby is born! The baby is a girl, crying and healthy! “Her name is Grace,” says the husband and Grace’s mother falls back on the bed and sighs with exhaustion and relief.
Movement number two opens with the divorce of Grace’s parents. She is only one year old at the time and could care less, however, her parents are not fairing as well. Grace’s mother leaves her husband behind as she drives off in a convertible Mustang, with Grace sleeping beside her on the passenger bucket seat (no car seat, of course, those were unheard of in those days). Grace and her mother drive for two days and finally arrive on the west coast of The Mitten. They stay on the lake with the husband’s parents who took very good care of Grace and her mother. Grace began to grow fast. She crawled and then walked and then ran! She rode her tricycle and big wheel all over her grandparent’s driveway. She grew up playing with cousins and swimming and camping! When she was eight years old, Grace had her tonsils removed and it was then that she discovered how much she loved reading books. She read all that she could get her hands on and even started skipping school while her mother worked during the day, so she could stay home and read! Grace’s mother tried to encourage Grace to follow rules, but the young girl refused and would only listen to her grandparents or her babysitter. Therefore, Grace spent a lot of time with both, however, she did not favor the babysitter as much as Grandma’s because the babysitter wouldn’t let her lay around and read books. And so then came the day that Grace’s mother sent her back to the crazy ex-husband, all the way back in Colorado.
Movement number three opens with Grace, now a teenager, swimming, competitively. She is swimming hard and fast, energy exuding from her every stroke (presto!). Another clip of Grace, still a teen, now of her skiing in the magnificence of the Rocky Mountains and then playing her clarinet in middle school and high school bands. Though she is not a virtuoso, she is happy, for she loves many creative outlets. And then she is reading, still reading, and reading more! She becomes boy crazy and starts to cause trouble for her crazy father. Grace is not afraid of him, or his guns, she just wants to have fun with her friends, and swimming, and skiing, and reading! She is not allowed to date and so she rebels. She gets in trouble again and again for sneaking away to have fun with friends and boys. And so, this is how it came to be; Grace once again found herself on the west coast of The Mitten, away from all of her friends and in the hands of her mother. Oh well. At least her crazy father sent her to The Mitten with her pet cat.
Movement number four, the final chapter in Grace’s symphony, opens in allegro, revealing her as an adult. She is running frantically after her own babies, experiencing her own divorces, driving her own car, cleaning her own home, and returning to school to receive her Bachelor in the Science of Nursing. She marries again and together her, and her new husband watch her babies grow into ridiculously amazing young adults. Grace marvels at her sons and how responsibly they take care of their futures, Grace marvels at her daughter as she watches her become a mother herself. Regardless of Symphony No. 7 premiering as a benefit to soldiers wounded in the battle of Hanau back in Beethoven’s time (NPR, 2006), Grace realizes that she is so blessed and even nursing school or homework on the weekends (during reading time) cannot bring her down, at least not all of the way.
Kamien, R. (2015). Music: An appreciation (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education. Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major, op. 92. (2006, June 13). Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5481664