English Research Paper
Ludwig Van Beethoven, thought by many to be a sort of demi-god, a man of
otherworldly genius. Beethoven has had such titles as: Beethoven the Creator,
Beethoven, the Man who Freed Music, and Beethoven, Life of a Conqueror,
(Internet source, roughguides 1). These typical images created of Beethoven have
been around since the composers day, extracting the astounding character from
the his astounding music. True excellence does not come from on category, to
discover his true source of excellence, his life, time and hardship must be
Beethoven is believed to be the ultimate product of German idealism and the
very personification of an age of revolution. Beethovens music declared his love
for humanity, but in fact he hated most people. Beethoven put with people for
one sole reason, himself, the people paid his way, and he needed the money.
Beethovens music was loved by all, and wanted by many, and he was capable of
selling scores to six or seven different publishers. Beethoven was a man who
wanted money, he didnt care about ideas or principles, so he sold his music to
anyone. Beethoven asserted his independence and self-expression by stating,
What is in my heart must come out, and so I write it down (Internet source,
From the time of its composition, his music has been celebrated as western
civilizations most powerful expression of its innermost experience. Beethoven
has been renowned as the greatest, most respected pianist of the day. He was able
to improvise at length upon any theme, and capable of technical feats, that stump
and confuse even trained musicians nowadays, making them impossible to
duplicate. Beethovens technique came as a shock to many people, he would raise
his hands above his head and literally smash the keys with such force that he
regularly broke the strings. Beethoven was so mad at himself for not being able
to reproduce the sounds in his head, he punished the keyboard for not allowing
him greater freedom.
Ludwig Van Beethoven was born in Bonn in 1770. He was not the first in his
family to deal with music, his father and grandfather were musicians at the court
of the Elector of Colongne. His father recognized his sons talents; and his efforts
helped Beethoven to develop to his fullest extent. Beethoven started to take
lessons for the piano, violin and possibly the viola with his father as his teacher.
In 1778, Beethovens father arranged a public concert in Bonn. After the concert,
his father realized that he must look elsewhere to teach his son.
We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!
Beethoven soon began to take lessons from a man named Christian Neefe.
During Beethovens time of development, Neefes teachings were vital, and also
through him, Beethoven gained a firm musical grounding. With Neefes
teachings, Beethoven was encouraged to look beyond Bonn, so in 1787, he set out
for Vienna, but had to return on account of his mothers sickness. When
Beethoven returned from Vienna, he was appointed assistant organist and was
also a viola player in the court orchestra. In the winter of 1788, Beethoven was
play in a theater orchestra that the Elector had organized. Beethovens work at
court gained him valuable experience of orchestral practice and composition. In
1790, Beethoven met a man named Haydn, and in 1792 Beethoven decided that
he would go to Vienna and study with this man Haydn.
A few month after arriving in Vienna, Beethoven received word that his father
had died. His fathers death left Beethoven much pain and dispare, as well as
financial problems. His salary was guaranteed by the Elector because of his
friends at home, and even Haydn tried to help. Along with financial problems,
Haydn, who was giving Beethoven lessons, decided that he could no longer help
Beethoven, and left on a trip to London. This loss of lessons didnt affect
Beethoven much, as it turned out his lessons had not been much of a success.
After this, Beethoven decided that he should stay in Vienna and try to make a
career for himself.
In 1801, Beethoven began to notice a change in his hearing. At first, he
suffered day and night from a terrible buzzing in his head, but before long, he lost
the ability to distinguish pitch, and by 1803 he was virtually stone deaf. During
this time, Beethoven not once complained that he had become creatively impaired
because of his deafness, in fact, he went on to compose the most adventurous
piano music ever written. During this time of hardship, he went on to compose
such work as his Third Symphony and Eroica.
The decade after he completed Eroica, he produced masterpieces of great
succession. He produced such work as his opera Fidelio, the Rasumousky string
quartets, the violin Concerto, the fourth and fifth piano concertos, symphonies
four to eight, and many of his piano solos, including the Waldstein and
Beethoven took great interest in the French Revolution, and he admired its
leader, Napoleon. He admired the leader so much that he dedicated his Third
Symphony, Eroica to him. Eroica was a landmark in the development of
symphonies, and it was twice as long as anything similar by Mozart or Haydn.
However, when Beethoven heard that Napoleon had crowned himself emperor, he
was disgusted and changed his dedication. Form then on, Beethoven seemed to
hate anything French, and later was compelled to hate it even more. The invasion
of Vienna, by Napoleons army in 1805 happened to occur at the same time as the
first performance of Beethovens opera, Fidelio. It wasnt until 1806 that
Beethoven revised it, and then it wasnt until 1814 that he revised it again and it
finally gained its deserved success.
As 1808 came to a close, Beethoven presented several major works, all in the
course of one evening. On the 22nd of December he gave a concert at the Theater
an der Wien, which included the Fifth Symphony, the Choral Fantasia, the Piano
Concerto in G, and various movements of the Mass for Prince Esterhazy. In may
1808, Haydn had died, and there was now no one to challenge Beethovens right
to be the musical king of Vienna.
At the end of 1813, the Seventh Symphony was performed for the first time.
The premiere of the Seventh Symphony together with Wellingtons Victory or the
Battle of Victoria, gave Beethoven the public recognition he wanted. But his
success was soon to be spoiled. In 1815, his brother Caper Anton Carl died and
left his son Karl to Beethoven as his legal guardian. Also Beethovens increasing
deafness made it impossible for him to conduct his work, or even perform any
Beethovens last years included illness and worry on one hand, but on a higher
hand, he had some monumental masterpieces. His achievements in the last years
of his life included such work as: The Diabelli Variations, the last piano sonatas,
the last six string quartets, the Mass in D major, Miss Solemnis, and the Choral
Symphony No. 9.
In 1824, Beethovens fame had grown so far the his name and music were
international in a way that not even Mozarts had been, and he had finally been
accepted in Vienna as the way he should be. The Viennese were fond, and even
proud of the eccentric man in their midst.
In the fall of 1826, Beethoven returned to Schwarzspanierhas in Vienna, it was
there that Beethoven was to die. It was recorded thought, that on the day
Beethoven died, there was a terrible storm that raged in Vienna and the dying man
had shaken his fist at the heavens as thunder and lightning struck the town.
(Internet source, roughguides 3)
Beethoven was a man that had to deal with excruciating problems, his life was
not some walk in the park. I believe that he was given a great gift, a gift so great
it was perfect. But that was the problem, nothing in this world is perfect, so
Beethoven was given many problems to compensate for the gift he had received.
With all these problems though, Beethoven over came them, he looked pain and
anguish in the face and went past them. Now once someone has overcome such
odds, and uncovered their weaknesses and problems, it is then that true excellence
can be given. So in my response, I think that Beethoven was a miss understood
man, he was brilliant and powerful, but people thought to much of him, and it
provided allot of added pressure to his life.
Internet source: Ludwig Van Beethoven,
Internet source: Biography of Beethoven,
Book Source: Beethoven and his World, by Alan Kendall