Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven (baptised 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies, 5 concertos for piano, 32 piano sonatas, and 16 string quartets. He also composed other chamber music, choral works (including the celebrated Missa Solemnis), and songs.
Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, Beethoven displayed his musical talents at an early age and was taught by his father Johann van Beethoven and Christian Gottlob Neefe. During his first 22 years in Bonn, Beethoven intended to study with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and befriended Joseph Haydn. Beethoven moved to Vienna in 1792 and began studying with Haydn, quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. He lived in Vienna until his death. In about 1800 his hearing began to deteriorate, and by the last decade of his life he was almost totally deaf. He gave up conducting and performing in public but continued to compose; many of his most admired works come from this period.
His "Early" composing career was heavily influenced by Haydn, his teacher, and Mozart, whose style he admired and who had given him his first lesson in composition. His first and second symphonies, the first six string quartets, the first two piano concertos, and the first twenty piano sonatas, including the Pathétique and Moonlight, were written in this period.
When Beethoven began to go deaf, it marked the beginning of his "Middle" period of composing. The music he wrote during this time tended towards large-scale works expressing heroism and struggle, and included six symphonies, beginning with the "Eroica", and including the rich Fifth Symphony. Other works include the last three piano concertos and his only violin concerto, five string quartets (Nos. 7 - 11), many piano sonatas, including the Waldstein and Appassionata, and his only opera, Fidelio.
The "Late" period of Beethoven's career covered the final eleven years of his life, and his compositions were highly passionate, expressive and intense. Among the works of this period are the Ninth Symphony, the "Choral", the Missa Solemnis, the last six string quartets and the last five piano sonatas.
Beethoven's achievements were numerous, most musical-related. He is often considered to be the composer to raise instrumental music to a new level of art. Another amazing achievement is that he wrote many of his compositions after he became deaf.
Beethoven was born on December of 1770, and he died March 26, 1827. He was baptised on December 17, 1770.
Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany in 1770 and stayed in Germany until 1787 when he was sent to Vienna, Austria. However, that same year he was summoned back to Germany because his mother was dying. He remained in Germany until 1792 when he returned to Vienna. He lived in Vienna until his death in 1827.
- Beethoven often dipped his head in cold water before composing!
- Beethoven loved cooking, so much so that he named one of his pieces "Christ! On the Mount of Olives"
- He was jealous that Rimsky-Korsakov wrote an opera called "Mozart and Salieri" instead of "Mozart and Beethoven"
- He designed one of his piano sonatas to be played with building implements and called it the "Hammer-Klavier Sonata"
- He wrote another of his sonatas entirely at night and so called it the "Moonlight Sonata"
- Beethoven's father was an alcoholic and emotionally abusive to Beethoven when Beethoven was growing up
- Beethoven's height was 5' 3"
- Beethoven had unusually bad skin
- Beethoven was very temperamental and would end performances if he became aware of anyone in the audience talking;
- When Beethoven's brother died, Beethoven bribed officials to obtain custody of his brother's son, thus taking his nephew away from his brother's wife
- Beethoven's deafness was the result of lead poisoning, and lead poisoning was also the cause of Beethoven's death