16 December-Beethoven

Ludwig Van Beethoven is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest composers. He produced many symphonies, concertos, piano sonatas, violin sonatas, masses, overtures and an opera. Beethoven was quite unable to hear during the latter part of his life. However it was during this time that he created some of his greatest works.

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany in 1770. Beethoven’s father was his first music teacher. It is said that Beethoven senior was a harsh instructor and treated his son very cruelly when he made a mistake. He was also taught by other local music teachers. His father tried to make him a child prodigy but it was not until the age of 12 that he published his first composition. In school he was an average student and had difficulty with spelling and numeracy. He said ‘Music comes to me more readily than words’.

Though Beethoven lived briefly in Vienna in 1787 he moved there permanently in 1792. In Vienna he gained a reputation as a virtuoso pianist often playing in the salons of the Viennese nobility. As a composer he is one of the most important and influential figures in the history of music. Among his symphonies, concertos, sonatas, quartets and songs are famous pieces such as ‘Moonlight’ Sonata, Symphony No.5 and Ode to Joy from Symphony No. 9. He composed one opera, Fidelio, which he worked on over a ten year period.

In 1808 Beethoven became one of the first musicians in history to receive a salary. At about the age of 30 his hearing began to deteriorate. In the last decade or so of his life he was totally deaf. He performed less and made his last public appearance in 1814. However Beethoven continued to compose and some of his greatest music comes from this period. He died in Vienna at the age of 56 on March 26th 1827.

Ludwig Van Beethoven was born in the year 1770 On This Day.


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