Mozart, Father Ted and Me

By Joseph Lewis Heil '59

On Palm Sunday, 1959, I finished reading The Education of Henry Adams, a required Great Book my last seminar in the General Program at Notre Dame, now called the Program of Liberal Studies. Adams described his German education as a total failure except for his “only clear gain—his single step to a higher life.” That single step happened at a music hall “drinking beer, smoking German tobacco, and looking at fat German women knitting, while an orchestra played dull music.” One day he was surprised to notice that his mind discovered beauty in that dull music: it was a movement of a Beethoven Symphony. Adams declared, “Among the marvels of education, this was the most marvelous.”…

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