Editor's note: This corrects the spelling of Pinchas Zukerman on the photo caption. Also, Beethoven's "Violin Concerto in D Major" is his only violin concerto, not only solo violin work, that he wrote.
A while back a co-worker asked me a music question: "Is Beethoven, you know, still considered good?"
As the most dedicated — make that "only" — classical aficionado of the newsroom, I was prepared with an answer as long as the finale of the Ninth.
"Is Beethoven still 'good?'" I replied incredulously. "You might as well be asking if the frescoes of Michelangelo are still beautiful. Is the Grand Canyon still breathtaking? Is the Great Wall of China still impressive? Is 'Airplane!' still funny?"
Then I explained how Beethoven's music evokes a timeless beauty. Even some 180 years after his death, his symphonies are still being explored, debated and deciphered. And all this came from a man who became deaf yet still heard, deep within the confines of his mind, the intricate goings-on of the symphonic musical machine.