Lives of great men, and great women, all remind us that we can make our lives sublime or become famous, but this is difficult, especially if we are composers. It is one thing to produce great music, and another to have the music recognized. As their biographies have told us, many composers never knew how much they had contributed unless the information reached them in another world, for they died leaving unpublished or unappreciated compositions which afterward became famous. And conversely, many who created a sensation in their own generation are hardly even names today.
It is a pity recognition comes so slowly that it often comes too late, yet in a way comforting because of the possibility that among the unknown of today may be the Beethoven of tomorrow. As to where he or she will be found one person's guess is as good as another's. They may prove to be a professional composer who executes musical commissions for their daily bread, and already has something of a reputation. Or music may be an avocation to which they turn from the humdrum of earning a livelihood. In that case, their audience is limited to one - themselves - and no matter how good their music may be, they get no credit for writing it.
Again, they may be a self-denying idealist, living frugally while composing richly. They are in all likelihood among us, striving, creating, and hoping that their works will be tolerantly listened to and intelligently judged. In the ranks of the composers of today, known, partly known, or ignored are those who, some time, will be recognized as the great men and women of this century.