Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven, a complex and brilliant
man is considered the bridge that connects the 18th century classical period
and the beginnings of Romanticism. His story is one of the personal triumphs
over tragedy and supreme musical achievement.
Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn,
Germany in 1770. He was baptized December 17, 1770. His father and grandfather
worked as court musicians in Bonn. His father, a singer, gave him his first
musical training. Although he had limited schooling, he studied piano,
violin, and the french horn. He became a court organist before the
age of twelve. His first important teacher was Christian Gottlob
Neefe. Early in his career, Beethoven met and played
with Mozart and Haydn, who were famous composers of the time.
Beethoven began working at daybreak
no matter what season. He worked until two or three o'clock in the
He loved nature and would go for walks after his midday
meal. He always kept a notebook to jot down musical ideas that came
to him. The love of nature and the countryside inspired Beethoven
to compose his famous Symphony No. 6, the "Pastoral" symphony. In
this symphony one can hear birds singing, a waterfall, and a thunderstorm.
In 1801, Beethoven composed his Sonata
quasi una Fantasia Op. 27, No. 2, known as "Moonlight Sonata". In 1804
Beethoven wrote his third symphony which is Beethoven's "Eroica".
He wrote 'Piano as 'Symphony No. in C Minor', and 'Symphony No. 9 in Minor',
Around 1800, Beethoven began to suffer
early symptoms of deafness. By 1802 he knew that his condition was
getting worse. That summer he spent his time in the country and wrote
what is known as the Helingstadt Testament. In this document, he
expressed his humiliation and despair. By 1819 he could no longer
hear well enough to conduct an orchestra, yet continued to compose music.
For the rest of his life he searched for a cure, but by 1820, his deafness
became total. Some of his greatest compositions were written during
this period, including Symphony No. 19, completed in 1824.
Though Beethoven had many friends,
he was a lonely man. Beethoven was never married. In 1827,
at the age of 57 Beethoven died. Beethoven was considered to be one of
the greatest composers and his later music bridged the gap between the
Classical and Romantic period.
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