Life of a Legend
Ludwig van Beethoven, also known as " The General of Musicians," was born on December 16, 1770. However, this date is not exact because it is believed that Beethoven's father lied about his son's age in order to portray him as an infant prodigy. As a result, Beethoven is convinced he was born on December 16, 1772 at the Rheingasse home, which belonged to the Fischers, who were close friends of the family (Orga 8).
Johann van and Maria Magdalena Beethoven bore five children of which three survived. Ludwig van Beethoven was the first child to survive, probably making him the most cherished especially in his father's eyes. The other two surviving siblings were Casper and Nikolaus. They were said to have played extremely important roles in Beethoven's life. Johann van said to be a lesser man than his father Ludwig Louis van Beethoven, who was a trained musician and later appointed Kapellmeister. Many believed he could not compare to his dad because he did not have a high-ranking job, instead his income was based on giving piano, singing, and violin lessons to the public (Kerman 354).
Johann wanted his first son to be great, especially in the music field, so he pushed him to learn the piano and violin at a very early age. For instance, Beethoven had his first public appearance at the age of eight on March 26, 1778. He performed at a concert with one of his father's other pupils. His performance consisted of concertos and trios on the keyboard. Beethoven continued to play at concerts, as well as taking music lessons with instructors other than his father. When visiting the Fischer Family one day Johann proclaimed, "My son Ludwig is my only comfort now in life. He is improving in his music to such an extent that he is admired by everyone. I foresee that in time he will be a great man in the world" (Orga 29). During this time he also attended elementary school in Bonn, but he did not exceed grade school. Beethoven learned all he...
Cited: Kerman, Joseph. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Ed. Stanley Sadie. 20 Vols. London: MacMillan Pub. Ltd., 1980. 2: 354-60.
Grout, Donald Jay. A History of Western Music. 3rd ed. New York: Cornell UP, 1981.
Marek, George R. Beethoven: Biography of a Genius. New York: Funk and Wagnall 's Publishing Company, 1969.
Orga, Ates. Beethoven: The Illustrated Lives of the Great Composers. London: Omnibus Press, 1983.
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