“The instrumental music of the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven forms a peak in the development of tonal music and is one of the crucial evolutionary developments in the history of music as a whole.” ~ Unknown
Mozart aside, Ludwig van Beethoven is the most famous classical composer of the western world. Beethoven is remembered for his powerful and stormy compositions, and for continuing to compose and conduct even after he began to go deaf at age 28. The ominous four-note beginning to his Fifth Symphony is one of the most famous moments in all of music. He wrote nine numbered symphonies in all. Beethoven never married. After his death his friends found letters to a lover he called "Immortal Beloved," whose identity has never been discovered. The English phrase "Immortal Beloved" is a translation of the German, "Unsterbliche Geliebte"... Beethoven's precise date of birth is unknown; he was baptized on 17 December 1770, and it is presumed he was born on 16 December. He studied first with his father, Johann, a singer and instrumentalist in the service of the Elector of Cologne at Bonn, but mainly with C. G. Neefe, court organist. At age 11 he was able to deputize for Neefe; at 12 he had some music published. In 1787 he went to Vienna, but quickly returned on hearing that his mother was dying. Five years later he went back to Vienna, where he settled. He pursued his studies, first with Haydn, but there was some clash of temperaments and Beethoven studied too with Schenk, Albrechtsberger and Salieri. Until 1794 he was supported by the Elector at Bonn: but he found patrons among the music-loving Viennese aristocracy and soon enjoyed success as a piano virtuoso, playing at private houses or palaces rather than in public. His public début was in 1795; about the same time his first important publications appeared, three piano trios and three piano sonatas. As a pianist, it was reported, he had fire, brilliance and fantasy as well as depth of feeling. It is...
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