Beethoven

 

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Dec 16, 1770 – Mar 26, 1827

Musician, Composer

German

“Prince, what you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven.”

“Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman.”

When deafness set in, Beethoven composed music seated on the floor at a legless piano so he could feel the vibrations better. He also often worked in his underwear or in the nude.

Beethoven’s extraordinary musical dna became evident early on in his life. It is said his father would come home drunk late at night and force Ludwig out of bed to practice his music. At seven, he gave his first recital, and, by 12, some of his music was plated. Beethoven was described as having a careless appearance, boorish manners and towering rages. Unlike those before him, he was employed by no one; he relied upon the patronage of leading aristocrats by playing at private houses and palaces. He fell in love several times, usually with aristocratic pupils, but each time he was either rejected or saw that the woman did not match his ideals. In 1795, he made his public debut. A year later, a buzzing began in his ears. As he realized his impaired hearing was incurable and worsening, there was a significant change in his character, and he became more and more difficult to deal with. He contemplated stopping. By 1808, his deafness forced him out of public performances and into composing. In reflection to his trials, Beethoven created some of the most profound music the world has ever known. His powerful and stormy compositions no longer stayed within the boundaries of that day’s standards and signaled a definitive break from the past (classical) to a new era (romantic). No doubt, the foreboding four-note beginning to his Fifth Symphony or the mesmerizing stanzas in his “Moonlight Sonata” are the most famous and easily recognized music of all time. Beethoven became a public figure like no other composer, and it is estimated 50,000 people attended his funeral.