Home Corporate Events Life of Ludwig van Beethoven: Art of classical western music

Life of Ludwig van Beethoven: Art of classical western music

by Ikenna Ngere

German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven was born on December 17, 1770, and died on March 26, 1827.

Beethoven is still regarded as one of the most revered musicians in Western music history; his compositions are among the most often performed in the classical music repertoire and mark the transition from the Classical to the Romantic eras.

Conventionally, his career has been broken down into early, middle, and late phases. Most people believe his formative years, when he developed his skill, to have lasted until 1802.

His middle phase, which spans from 1802 to around 1812, is frequently referred to as heroic and demonstrated a distinct divergence from the styles of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

He started to become more and more deaf over this period. He expanded his musical form and expressive advances in his final phase, which spanned 1812 to 1827.

At Bonn, Beethoven was born. From an early age, his musical talent was apparent. At first, his father, Johann van Beethoven, educated him sternly and rigorously.

After receiving instruction from composer and conductor Christian Gottlob Neefe, Beethoven went on to publish his first piece, a collection of keyboard variations, in 1783.

He was able to escape a problematic home situation thanks to Helene von Breuning’s family, whose kids he adored, got along with, and taught piano to.

He relocated to Vienna at the age of 21, where he later established himself, and studied composition under Haydn.

The three piano trios that make up Opus 1, the first works to which Beethoven assigned an opus number, were composed in 1795 as a result of Beethoven’s growing reputation as a brilliant pianist and his early patronage for compositions by Karl Alois, Prince Lichnowsky.

The First Symphony, his first significant orchestral composition, was presented in 1800, and his first collection of string quartets was released in 1801.

He continued to conduct even though his hearing got worse during this time, premiering his Third and Fifth Symphonies in 1804 and 1808, respectively. In 1806, his Violin Concerto was published.

Without Beethoven as the soloist, his final piano concerto (No. 5, Op. 73, dubbed the Emperor) was premiered in 1811 and dedicated to his frequent patron Archduke Rudolf of Austria.

By 1814, he had almost entirely lost his hearing, and he stopped performing and going on display in public.

His Heiligenstadt Testament (1802) to his brothers and his unfinished love letter to an unidentified “Immortal Beloved” (1812) both contain descriptions of his health issues and his unfulfilled romantic life.

Several of Beethoven’s most admired works, including his later symphonies, mature chamber music, and the late piano sonatas, were written after 1810 as he was becoming less active in society.

Fidelio, his only opera, was first performed in 1805 and underwent revisions until being completed in 1814.

Between 1819 and 1823, he wrote the Missa solemnis, and between 1822 and 1824, he wrote Symphony No. 9, one of the earliest examples of a choral symphony.

His late string quartets, which include the Grosse Fuge from 1825–1826, were composed during his final years.

He passed away in 1827 after a few months of being sick in bed. Beethoven’s compositions are still staples of the classical music repertoire.

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