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Beethoven's Death Mask

Page 6

Peter Symons

I still remember the slightly irritated look on my father’s face.

“I think…I think to remember them.”

So this is what death was, I thought. You closed your eyes, looked sad, and people make a copy of your face. It all seemed very strange.

“Look,” my father’s voice was soft again. “This was Beethoven. I’ve told you about him. He created the greatest music the world has ever heard. He was a genius. And he died. I want you to remember that. He was a genius and he died.”

I did not understand why my father was telling me this. I did not understand but I wanted to understand. And I wanted to understand more for my father’s sake than my own.


I knew he wanted more from me, something like an epiphany. I tried again.

“He was a genius…”


I was still confused about death and its relationship to the mask I was looking at.

“Come on,” he said.

He turned back towards the stairs and headed down. I followed at a trot. By the time I got down to the bottom of the stairs, he had disappeared. I looked around and saw him in the gift shop. I run in and saw him looking intently at an album. He held it gently and traced his fingers over it.

“Look,” said holding up the record.

Page 6

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