The headline here is a quote from a Peanuts strip from 1959, and a good motto as we celebrate Beethoven's birthday at CPR Classical.

Good grief! Two favorite Peanuts comics pinned to the CPR front office bulletin board.

(Photo: CPR/Jon Pinnow)

This time of year has more than its share of countdowns: stores give us the number of shopping days until Christmas, online retailers show us how many days remain to have orders delivered in time, kids count the number of doors left on Advent calendars.  My favorite, however, is the countdown of days until Beethoven’s birthday heralded on placards carried by Schroeder in Charles Schulz ‘s comic strip Peanuts.

One of the consistent themes across the 50 year run of Peanuts was Schroeder’s boundless love for Ludwig van Beethoven, going all the way back to 1951 when the strip was just one year old.  But why Beethoven? In his autobiography, My Life with Charlie Brown, Schulz answered the question:

... it is funnier that way.  There are certain words and names that work better than others.  I don’t believe it would be half as funny if Schroeder admired Brahms.  There is also the very practical fact that to most of us laymen, Beethoven, Rembrandt, and Shakespeare are the three mountain poets in music, art, and literature. 

A panel of Peanuts from November 1951: Schroeder at his toy piano, with his beloved Beethoven.

(Photo: CPR/Jon Pinnow)

Beethoven’s birthday was an annual event in the strip, even if the date did slip Schroeder’s mind once.  Rightly so, it's an annual event at CPR Classical, too. Please join us on December 16 as we get a slice of cake and warm up on the finale of the Ninth Symphony, because “Beethoven is IT”!

— Jeff Zumfelde, CPR Classical Music Director

P.S.: Links in this post point to the American Beethoven Society’s excellent on-line exhibit exploring the relationship between Peanuts and Beethoven. And if you still haven't had enough: