Ludwig Van Beethoven

Ludwig Van Beethoven Beethoven For many people, Ludwig Van Beethoven is considered the greatest composer who ever lived and is the highest level of musical geniuses. His compositions are the expression of one of the most powerful musical personalities of all time which he exceeded above average in both areas of Classical and Romantic labeling. Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, December 16, 1770, and was baptized on December 17. His father, Johann, was a singer employed by the Elector of Cologne in Bonn. Johann married Maria Magdalena Laym, a cook’s daughter.

Together they had seven children of which three sons survived, Beethoven was the oldest (Collier’s Encyclopedia, Beethoven). When Johanns’ career was threatened by alcoholism, he saw his chance to get rich by exploiting his son Beethoven as a child prodigy. He claimed Beethoven was years younger than he actually was, neglected his formal education, and made him practice his music endlessly. His attempt to get rich was a disaster and probably encouraged the brusque and withdrawing personality Beethoven developed. Beethoven was a solo pianist and piano teacher when he was in his twenties. He was well known for his temperamental nature.

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He had to abandon his performing career of deafness. By this time, he was well known as a composer and was able to live by the profits of concerts and sale of his works to publishers. He was the most revered composer in all of Europe and regarded as the greatest living example of Romantic, artistic genius (McLeish, pg. 18-19). Sonate Pathetique, Opus 13 was written in 1798 and named by the composer Ludwig Van Beethoven. This Sonate was extremely romantic because of the charged first movement, while the Adagio Movement is sad, yet comforting.

The third movement of the “Pathetique” was considered Rondo. The key of the Adagio Movement is A Flat, the submediant Key of the opening Grave section. The form is a cross between Rondo and Theme and Variations because the A or Main Theme sections have the same melody, but the accompanying parts are varied. Although Beethoven still uses the tonic-dominant relationships to start and end his first section, mm. 1-16, even ending his first theme with a perfect authentic cadence the composer begins to use keys with third relationships. The main theme is in the key of A flat, however the second theme is in the relative minor key of F minor.

MM 17-23 are very pivotal in nature and by mm. 23 Beethoven has modulated to the dominant key of E flat major. The remainder of the piece gives the feeling of A flat major, although section c, mm. 36-50. contain many modulations.

The coda begins in mm 66-4 through the end and contains a series of V – I cadences. The Adagio of Sonate Pathetique has been compared having a similar melodic structure and affinity of theme to the Adagio of the Ninth Symphony written during the last period almost twenty-five years later. This Adagio movement is in the singing style and demands great emotion from the performer. Although this particular movement was written during Beethoven’s first period, the great emotion and contemplation, the peace and introspection that characterized his third period seem to be present (McLeish pg. 58-76). Beethoven had a powerful personality that awed everyone.

His high-voltage personality coupled with his high-voltage genius, Beethoven was able to live his life on his own terms in everything except his deafness. He was only 5 feet, 4 inches, broad, with a large head, lots of hair, protruding-teeth, a small nose and a bad habit of spitting. He was clumsy, sullen and suspicious, touchy, forgetful, and prone to rages of temper. As a bachelor, he was incredibly messy and had no servants because they would not put up with him (Schonberg, pg. 110-111). In 1802 Beethoven was told his deafness was incurable.

This knowledge caused a violent change in his character which brought about a big change in his music. The boisterousness of his youth turned into a mature artist pondering and placing each effect. Many of Beethoven’s most popular works date from this time. The ‘Emperor’ Piano Concerto, the Violin Concerto, the Third to Seventh Symphonies, the ‘Razumovsky’ were composed at this time (McLeish, pg. 19).

In 1805 Beethoven premiered the Eroica Symphony which was a turning point in musical history. A succession of masterpieces came in the next eight years. Around 1811, Beethoven’s productivity slowed down. His deafness became total and he retired into his inner world. His health deteriorated and the relationship he had with his nephew, Karl, might have robbed the World of some masterpieces.

He became the guardian of Karl when Beethoven’s brother Casper died. Beethoven was alternately strict and easy going and Karl was driven out of his mind. In 1826, Karl attempted suicide and told police Beethoven tormented him. Beethoven took it badly and friends say he aged twenty years in those weeks (McLeish, pg. 20).

He died on March 27, 1827 after a long illness. It is reported 20,000 people attended the funeral. Beethoven’s music falls into three periods. His first twenty works hinted at the explosive power to come. After the Eroica, the second period sets in.

He was confident, a master of form, and made his own rules. His music was governed by the logic of a great technician and musical genius. The last works period was the music of a man who has seen all and experienced all, a man in a silent, suffering world. He wrote only to justify his artistic existence, not to please anyone. Some find the works of this time bleak, cold and incomprehensible.

Beethoven was a musical intellect who was driven by illness and mental suffering to retreat into his own world. His music is the most powerful body of music ever brought together by one composer (Schonberg, pgs. 115, 117, 119, 123). Mythology Essays.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN

The composer of some of the most influential pieces of music ever
written, Ludwig van Beethoven created a bridge between the 18th-century
classical period and the new beginnings of Romanticism. His greatest
breakthroughs in composition came in his instrumental work, including
his symphonies. Unlike his predecessor Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, for whom
writing music seemed to come easily, Beethoven always struggled to
perfect his work.

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, and was baptized on
Dec. 17, 1770. (There is no record of his birth date.) His father and
grandfather worked as court musicians in Bonn. Ludwig’s father, a
singer, gave him his early musical training. Although he had only meager
academic schooling, he studied piano, violin, and French horn, and
before he was 12 years old he became a court organist. Ludwig’s first
important teacher of composition was Christian Gottlob Neefe. In 1787 he
studied briefly with Mozart, and five years later he left Bonn
permanently and went to Vienna to study with Joseph Haydn and later with
Antonio Salieri.

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Beethoven’s first public appearance in Vienna was on March 29, 1795,
as a soloist in one of his piano concerti. Even before he left Bonn, he
had developed a reputation for fine improvisatory performances. In
Vienna young Beethoven soon had a long list of aristocratic patrons who
loved music and were eager to help him.

Onset of Deafness
In the late 1700s Beethoven began to suffer from early symptoms of
deafness. The cause of his disability is still uncertain. By 1802
Beethoven was convinced that the condition not only was permanent, but
was getting progressively worse. He spent that summer in the country and
wrote what has become known as the “Heiligenstadt Testament.” In the
document, apparently intended for his two brothers, Beethoven expressed
his humiliation and despair. For the rest of his life he searched for a
cure, but by 1819 his deafness had become total. Afterward, in order to
have conversations with his friends, Beethoven had them write down their
questions and replied orally.

Beethoven never married. Though he had many friends, he seemed to be
a lonely man. He continued to appear in public but spent more and more
of his time working on his compositions. He lived in various villages
near Vienna and took long walks carrying sketchbooks in which he would
write down his musical ideas. Scholars who have studied these
sketchbooks have discovered the agonizingly long process that the
composer went through in order to perfect his melodies, harmonies, and

Three Periods of Work
Most critics divide Beethoven’s work into three general periods,
omitting the earliest years of his apprenticeship in Bonn. Although some
pieces do not fit exactly into the scheme, these divisions can be used
to categorize the composer’s work.

The first period, from 1794 to about 1800, consists of music whose
most salient features are typical of the classical era. The influence of
such musicians as Mozart and Haydn is evident in Beethoven’s early
chamber music, as well as in his first two piano concerti and his first
symphony. Beethoven added his own subtleties, including sudden changes
of dynamics, but in general the music was well constructed and not far
from the sensibilities of the classical period.

The second period, from 1801 to 1814, includes much of Beethoven’s
improvisatory work. His Symphony No. 3, known as the “Eroica,” and the
‘Fourth Piano Concerto’ are fine examples of this period.

The final period, from 1814 to the end of his life, is characterized
by even wider ranges of harmony and counterpoint. The last string
quartets contain some of the composer’s most vivid new ideas. Beethoven
created longer and more complicated forms of music. In his symphonies
and string quartets, he often replaced the minuet movement with a
livelier scherzo. He also used improvisatory techniques, with surprise
rhythmic accents and other unexpected elements.

Many critics and listeners regard Beethoven as the finest composer
who ever lived. His music was unique and emotional. Never before had
instrumental music been brought to such heights. He also made great
strides with chamber music for piano, as well as for string quartets,
trios, and sonatas. His works include nine symphonies, 32 piano sonatas,
five piano concerti, 17 string quartets, ten sonatas for violin and
piano, one opera (‘Fidelio’), the ‘Mass in C Major’, ‘Missa Solemnis’,
and other chamber music.

Beethoven died in Vienna on March 26, 1827. His funeral was attended
by hundreds of mourners. The bicentennial of his birth and the
sesquicentennial of his death were celebrated with new performances and
recordings of all of the


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