Beethoven, Ludwig van

One of the most acclaimed and influential composer of all time in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music. Beethoven is acknowledged as one of the giants of classical music; occasionally he is referred to as one of the "three Bs" (along with Bach and Brahms) who epitomize that tradition.

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn. He was a German composer and pianist. His father was a musician in the court of the Elector of Cologne working as a tenor, giving lessons on piano and violin. His father was his first musical teacher. He was a gifted musician thus his father persevere in improving that talent in order to create a new Mozart.

Beethoven began his studies with his most important teacher in Bonn, Christian Gottlob Neefe, who was appointed the Court's Organist in that year. Neefe taught Beethoven composition, and by March 1783 had helped him write his first published composition: a set of keyboard variations.

In March 1787 Beethoven traveled to Vienna for the first time, apparently in the hope of studying with Mozart. After just two weeks there Beethoven learned that his mother was severely ill, and he was forced to return home. His mother died thereafter and his father became alcoholic thus forcing Beethoven to be responsible with his two siblings.
In 1789, he obtained a legal order by which half of his father's salary was paid directly to him for support of the family. He also contributed further to the family's income by playing viola in the court orchestra. This familiarized Beethoven with a variety of operas, including three of Mozart's operas performed at court in this period. He also befriended Anton Reicha, a flautist and violinist of about his own age who was the conductor's nephew.

With the Elector's help, Beethoven moved to Vienna in 1792. He was probably first introduced to Joseph Haydn in late 1790, when the latter was traveling to London and stopped in Bonn around Christmas time. They definitely met in Bonn on Haydn's return trip from London to Vienna in July 1792, and it is likely that arrangements were made at that time for Beethoven to study with the old master.He never went back to the town of his birth. His friend Waldstein wrote to him: "You shall receive Mozart's spirit from Haydn's hands". His friend Nikolaus Simrock had also begun publishing his compositions; the first are believed to be a set of variations (WoO 66).[30] Beethoven spent much of 1794 composing, and apparently withheld works from publication so that their publication in 1795 would have greater impact.[28] Beethoven's first public performance in Vienna was in March 1795, a concert in which he debuted a piano concerto. Shortly after this performance he arranged for the publication of the first of his compositions to which he assigned an opus number, the piano trios of Opus 1. These works were dedicated to his patron Prince Lichnowsky,and were a financial success; Beethoven's profits were nearly sufficient to cover living expenses for a year. The following year, Beethoven made his first public performance at Vienna (an "Academy") whereby each musician was to play his own work. Then followed a tour: Prague, Dresden, Leipzig and Berlin before leaving for a concert in Budapest.

Between 1798 and 1802 Beethoven finally tackled what he considered the pinnacles of composition: the string quartet and the symphony. With the composition of his first six string quartets (Op. 18) between 1798 and 1800 (written on commission for, and dedicated to, Prince Lobkowitz), and their publication in 1801, along with premieres of the First and Second Symphonies in 1800 and 1802, Beethoven was justifiably considered one of the most important of a generation of young composers following after Haydn and Mozart. He continued to write in other forms, turning out widely-known piano sonatas like the "Pathétique" sonata (Op. 13), which Cooper describes as "surpass[ing] any of his previous compositions, in strength of character, depth of emotion, level of originality, and ingenuity of motivic and tonal manipulation". He also completed his Septet (Op. 20) in 1799, which was one of his most popular works during his lifetime.

Around 1796, Beethoven began to lose his hearing. He suffered a severe form of tinnitus, a "ringing" in his ears that made it hard for him to perceive and appreciate music; he also avoided conversation. As early as 1801, Beethoven wrote to friends describing his symptoms and the difficulties they caused in both professional and social settings. Over time, his hearing loss became profound: there is a well-attested story that, at the end of the premiere of his Ninth Symphony, he had to be turned around to see the tumultuous applause of the audience; hearing nothing, he began to weep. Beethoven's hearing loss did not prevent his composing music, According to Carl Czerny, Beethoven said, "I am not satisfied with the work I have done so far. From now on I intend to take a new way". The first major work of this new way was the Third Symphony in E flat, known as the "Eroica".

In the years that followed, the creative activity of the composer became intense. He composed many symphonies, amongst which were the Pastoral, the Coriolan Overture, and the famous Letter for Elise. He took on many students, those he found young and attractive, and he therefore fell in love with several of them. The Archbishop Rudolph, brother of the emperor, also became his student, his friend and eventually one of his benefactors. Beethoven composed highly ambitious works throughout the Middle period, often heroic in tone, that extended the scope of the classical musical language Beethoven had inherited from Haydn and Mozart.

In 1826, Beethoven caught cold coming back from his brother's place, with whom he had rowed again. The illness complicated other health problems from which Beethoven had suffered all his life. He passed away encircled by his closest friends on March 26th 1827, just as a storm broke out.The funeral rites took place at the church of the Holy Trinity. It is estimated that between 10 000 and 30 000 people attended. Franz Schubert, timid and a huge admirer of Beethoven, without ever having become close to him, was one of the coffin bearers, along with other musicians. Schubert died the next year and was buried next to Beethoven.

Some of the informations provided are from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_van_Beethoven


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