Thursday, July 19, 2012


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Beethoven was born in Bonn on December 17, 1770. His father was the tenor

singer in the service of the Elector of Cologne. Said to be a violent and unreasonable

man, he used to beat Beethoven when he came home drunk. He would make Ludwig feel

like he was nothing and worthless. His father would make Beethoven play and if Ludwig

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was tired then he would just “beat” the music out of him. If he messed up on anything

that he played then he would get beaten again by his father.

Beethoven’s father

Despite his fathers fierce teaching methods, Ludwig began to show signs of

assurance, and other teachers were called in to instruct him more. By the age of seven

Beethoven was advanced enough to appear in public. About a year later Christian Gottlob

Neefe took over his musical training and his progress from that day on was speedy. Ch. G.

Neefe introduced Beethoven to the works of Bach and Mozart. A while after that his Nine

Variations for piano in C minor were published, and was listed later in a prominent Leipzig

catalogue as the work of Louis van Betthoven (sic), aged ten. (mispelled in the catalogue)

In 1787, Beethoven went to Vienna, a famous musical center, where then Count

Waldstein met with Beethoven, and became his piano teacher and his friend and client. . It

was here that Beethoven met the great Mozart. He was skeptical about Beethoven, but

once Beethoven started playing the piano his talent was obvious. Watch this lad, Mozart

noted. Some day he will force the world to talk about him.

The death of Beethovens mother in the summer of 1787 brought him back to Bonn.

Beethoven’s mother

With the death of Beethovens mother, his father finally lost it, and put drinking

before Ludwig. The situation became so bad that by 178 Beethoven was forced to put

his father in his place and do something about it. He went determinedly to his fathers

employer and demanded - and got - half his fathers salary so that the family could live; his

father could drink away the rest. In 17 the old man died. No one felt great remorse for

the old guy. For four years Ludwig supported his family. He also made some good

friends, among them were Stephan von Breuning, who became a friend for life, and

Doctor Franz Wegeler, who wrote one of the first biographies of Beethoven. Also, Count

Ferdinand von Waldstein entered Beethovens circle and received the dedication of a

famous piano sonata in 1804.

In July 17 the popular composer Haydn passed through Bonn on his way to

Vienna. He met Beethoven and was impressed, and evidently, he felt, this young mans

talents needed to be controlled before it could be developed. Haydn, who had been a

musical trend setter himself in youth, found that Beethoven was advancing along the same

radical path as he did in his youth. Beethoven soon realized that Haydn was not the master

he was looking for, so he looked for another teacher and found Albrechtsberger, a famous

musician who called him an excited musical free-thinker. The first weeks in Vienna

were hard for Beethoven, opportunities were not coming.

Piano players back in those days hated each other, for the reason that they would

have to prove themselves and were at constant rivalry with each other . Beethoven beat

all of his competitors and advanced into the musical world. The first concert of his own

responsibility occurred on April , 1800 when he launched his first Symphony and

introduced his world famous Septet op. 0. One year later, however, in 1801, a great

tradgedy came upon Beethoven, causing great disorder in his life, he began to lose his

hearing. Most musicians in those days would have killed themselves. That thought

probably crossed Beethoven’s mind, but if anything it made him stronger, but this would

end his career as a piano player, and in turn start his career as a composer.

In 180 his doctor sent him to Heiligenstadt, a village outside Vienna, in the hope

that its rural peace would rest in his hearing. The beautiful scenery and new surroundings

reawakened in Beethoven a love of nature and the countryside, and hope returned to his

life, and he beagan to be optimistic about the terrible situation he was in. However, his

doctor told him that there was no improvement in his hearing, and Ludwig began to

become depressed again. He wrote his will and left instructions that it was to be opened

after his death. This is a long moving document that reveals more about his state of mind

than does the music he was writing at the time. Only his last works can reflect in sound

what he then put down in words.

After his return from Heiligenstadt, Beethovens music deepened. He began

creating a new musical world. Between the years of 180-1808 Beethoven wrote six

symphonies. Between 180 and 18 he wrote six more. Beethoven’s brother had

died in 181, delaying the process of ever thinking of music. He became a bitter man

because of his deafness, but this is when he composed his greatest works. So it was

bad that he lost his hearing , but if he hadn’t he wouldn’t have been as recognized as

his is today.

Finally Beethoven decided to return in December to Vienna, on the way there

hecaught pneumonia. He recovered, only to be laid low again with cirrhosis of the

liver, which ended up giving him dropsy. His condition worsened dramatically by the

beginning of March. His friends realized that he was probably going to pass away any

day and gathered up.

Beethovens final moments, if a report by Schuberts friend Huttenbrenner are to

believed, were dramatic in the extreme. At about 545 in the afternoon of 6 March,

187, as a storm raged, Beethovens room was suddenly filled with light and shaken

with thunder

Schubert and Hummel were among the 0,000 - 0,000 people who mourned the

composer at his funeral three days later. He was buried in Wahring Cemetery; in 1888 his

remains were removed to Zentral-friedhof in Vienna - a great resting place for musicians -

where he lies side-by-side with Schubert.

Beethoven was a great composer. Through all the tragedies, and hardships in his

life he still managed to make phenomenal music and not give up. It is astonishing that

someone who loses their hearing could push on like that and compose music that they can

only hear in their heads, and put it on paper.









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