Dylan Evans says that Beethoven harmed classical music, and "managed to put an end to this noble tradition [the connection between mathematics and sound, and, hence an objective goal] by inaugurating a barbaric U-turn away from an other-directed music to an inward-directed, narcissistic focus on the composer himself and his own tortured soul." But Algis Valiunas argues this:
The defiant pugnacity with which Beethoven faced his physical and emotional afflictions translated into music of ardent excellence—music that explored what it meant to be noble. From pain he wrested sublime beauty, beauty that acknowledges it could never have come to be without that pain. To become the most splendid of democratic artists, the most inspired celebrant of the new human type emerging from millennia of injustice and subjugation, he had not only to overcome his personal torments but also to lift from his own breast the millstone of an artistic tradition laden with uncongenial aristocratic presuppositions. His is the grandest triumph of the newborn democratic soul. He knew what men were and what they could become, and, with Verdi, he was the subtlest and most heartening political thinker in music there ever was.