How to achieve immortality

When he was still a young man, Beethoven decided to compose a few improvisations on music by Pergolesi. He devoted months to this task and finally had the courage to publish it.

A critic wrote a whole-page review in a German newspaper in which he launched a ferocious attack on the music.

Beethoven, however, was quite unshaken by his comments. When his friends pressed him to respond to the critic, he merely said:

'All I need to do is to carry on with my work. If the music I compose is as good as I think it is, then it will survive that journalist. If it has the depth I hope it has, it will survive the newspaper too. Should that ferocious attack on what I do ever be remembered in the future, it will only serve as an example of the imbecility of critics.'

Beethoven was absolutely right. Over a hundred years later, that same review was mentioned in a radio programme in São Paulo.