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L v Βeethoven


Ludwig van Beethoven 1770-1827

German  composer and pianist. He was a  contemporary of Napoleon Bonaparte, Johan Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. Today  he is considered to be a  crucial  figure for the transition from classicism to romanticism and  he  remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time. His  work is divided  by scholars into three periods. a) to about 1800, b) 1800-1818, c) from 1818 to 1827). His  most famous works  include  nine symphonies, five piano concertos, 32 sonatas for piano and 16 string quartets. He also composed chamber music, choral works and songs.

first period : until 1800
His father was his first teacher in music. According to legend,  Beethoven had a bad  childhood  in music because of his father, however no solid evidence support  this . Christian Gottlob Neefe  was also  an  Important teacher  to him . In 1781, at age of 11, Beethoven left school in order  to focus  to his music studies.
By 1793 he had acquired a reputation as a capable improviser and virtuoso pianist . In the salons of the aristocracy  he played Bach' s "well tempered clavier" . At that time some of his works were published.

                                            Beethoven - 7th Symphony

second period: 1800-1818
His first two symphonies  were premiered in 1800 and 1803 respectively. He  was then recognized as an important new composer in the footsteps of Haydn and Mozart. There was no doubt that both of them had a great influence on Beethoven.  His music  became sought-after  by patrons and publishers.
We know that  In 1802 he had  already been  diagnosed with deafness. Indeed, in his  letters during  that time he describes  the symptoms of his hearing loss  and how that impacted  his  social and professional life. As the time went by his  deafness deteriorated greatly until he became  completely deaf. This affected his  mental state badly, nevertheless  he did not stop writing. From the second  period came not only  his  most famous works, but also some further  Information about his personality. Passionate, uncompromising, angry;  all these features can  be heard  in his  music. The stereotype of the person who presents himself in his music but also the one  of a  genius who suffers for his art have their roots in Beethoven.

third  period: 1818-1827
he "Conversation books"  are some  particularly important sources of information for the composer. We know that  he used  them approximately  during the last 10 years of his life. They  Include discussions about music and other topics.  It is believed  that more than half of them were destroyed  completely and many  entries were falsified  by Anton Schindler, the first biographer of the composer.  It is believed that Schindler  wanted  to present  the life of  an  idealized composer.
Beethoven's  personal life was not easy. Emotionally , he  was rather unstable.  His health situation  gave him  more  problems. What is more, his brother Carl died from tuberculosis in 1815. After the death of his brother the composer opened  a legal dispute with his brother's wife for the custody of his nephew ,Carl which  he won in the end. During  the third period  he becomes more introspective and  musically abstract, as deafness forced him to turn to himself.  Although the 9th Symphony was written during those years (and it is the only symphony  of  his last period) it  is influenced by Beethoven's  "middle" period. Chamber music ( such as his  last quartets) are the most representative works of his third period.
He died on  26 of  March 1827, rundown because of health problems, and family problems.
Beethoven along with Haydn and Mozart belongs to the first school of Vienna. Fran Schubert  is occasionally added to the list.


                   9th Symphony is one of the best known works of the Western world.
                 It is considered to be  one of the most important artworks of  all time.

Massachuset's Institute of Technology, introduction in western music, Spring 2006, Lecture 7

                                            Beethoven: Symphony No.3

                                  Beethoven 5th symphony, part I. Toscanini


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