This person’s genius settled on my perception slowly, partly because my church friends were disparaging his work as ‘devilish’. Almost literally, because Andrew Lloyd Webber gave us a shrieking Judas, and a barely more peaceful Jesus, and my friends struggled to swallow that. So it was only after some time, and with the sense that maybe I was accessing something heretical and evil, that I first gave Jesus Christ Superstar a hearing. It was stunning ….
When musical geniuses are tossed around (figuratively), Mozart and Bach are usually the ones put forward most insistently. But, not to disparage them (for fear of inflaming the readership), they are the lightweights to Beethoven’s gravitas, the toast and marmite to Beethoven’s full lamb roast ….
It would be a mistake to think all geniuses are to be found in the sciences; or as engineers or inventors. That would straight away exclude all sorts of alternative and motley geniuses and limit our survey. My definition of genius, if you need reminding, is “an extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity” …
Isaac Newton would make most people’s genius list, so is probably the least provocative of mine. Newton was born in eastern England’s Lincolnshire in the mid seventeenth century, son to a share cropper. There were no signs of genius early on. In fact, the only event recorded of his early life involved his being bullied at school. The best he might have expected from life was to leave school at twelve and become a share cropper himself. However, a local landowner saw potential in him and arranged and paid for him to complete his schooling (where he blossomed in his final year – as a seventeen-year-old) and so to Cambridge University.