By:Seth CoxEnglish Research Paper3/26/99Ludwig Van Beethoven, thought by many to be a sort of demi-god, a man ofotherworldly 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 havebeen around since the composers day, extracting the astounding character fromthe his astounding music.
True excellence does not come from on category, todiscover his true source of excellence, his life, time and hardship must beuncovered. Beethoven is believed to be the ultimate product of German idealism and thevery personification of an age of revolution. Beethovens music declared his lovefor humanity, but in fact he hated most people. Beethoven put with people forone 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 ofselling scores to six or seven different publishers.
Beethoven was a man whowanted money, he didnt care about ideas or principles, so he sold his music toanyone. 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,roughguides 1)From the time of its composition, his music has been celebrated as westerncivilizations most powerful expression of its innermost experience. Beethovenhas been renowned as the greatest, most respected pianist of the day. He was ableto improvise at length upon any theme, and capable of technical feats, that stumpand confuse even trained musicians nowadays, making them impossible toduplicate. Beethovens technique came as a shock to many people, he would raisehis hands above his head and literally smash the keys with such force that heregularly broke the strings.
Beethoven was so mad at himself for not being ableto reproduce the sounds in his head, he punished the keyboard for not allowinghim greater freedom. Ludwig Van Beethoven was born in Bonn in 1770. He was not the first in hisfamily to deal with music, his father and grandfather were musicians at the courtof the Elector of Colongne. His father recognized his sons talents; and his effortshelped Beethoven to develop to his fullest extent.
Beethoven started to takelessons 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. Beethoven soon began to take lessons from a man named Christian Neefe. During Beethovens time of development, Neefes teachings were vital, and alsothrough him, Beethoven gained a firm musical grounding.
With Neefesteachings, Beethoven was encouraged to look beyond Bonn, so in 1787, he set outfor Vienna, but had to return on account of his mothers sickness. WhenBeethoven returned from Vienna, he was appointed assistant organist and wasalso a viola player in the court orchestra. In the winter of 1788, Beethoven wasengaged toplay in a theater orchestra that the Elector had organized. Beethovens work atcourt gained him valuable experience of orchestral practice and composition.
In1790, Beethoven met a man named Haydn, and in 1792 Beethoven decided thathe would go to Vienna and study with this man Haydn. A few month after arriving in Vienna, Beethoven received word that his fatherhad died. His fathers death left Beethoven much pain and dispare, as well asfinancial problems. His salary was guaranteed by the Elector because of hisfriends at home, and even Haydn tried to help. Along with financial problems,Haydn, who was giving Beethoven lessons, decided that he could no longer helpBeethoven, and left on a trip to London. This loss of lessons didnt affectBeethoven 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 acareer for himself. In 1801, Beethoven began to notice a change in his hearing. At first, hesuffered day and night from a terrible buzzing in his head, but before long, he lostthe ability to distinguish pitch, and by 1803 he was virtually stone deaf. Duringthis time, Beethoven not once complained that he had become creatively impairedbecause of his deafness, in fact, he went on to compose the most adventurouspiano music ever written.
During this time of hardship, he went on to composesuch work as his Third Symphony and Eroica. The decade after he completed Eroica, he produced masterpieces of greatsuccession. He produced such work as his opera Fidelio, the Rasumousky stringquartets, the violin Concerto, the fourth and fifth piano concertos, symphoniesfour to eight, and many of his piano solos, including the Waldstein andAppossionata sonatas. Beethoven took great interest in the French Revolution, and he admired itsleader, Napoleon. He admired the leader so much that he dedicated his ThirdSymphony, Eroica to him.
Eroica was a landmark in the development ofsymphonies, and it was twice as long as anything similar by Mozart or Haydn. However, when Beethoven heard that Napoleon had crowned himself emperor, hewas disgusted and changed his dedication. Form then on, Beethoven seemed tohate anything French, and later was compelled to hate it even more. The invasionof Vienna, by Napoleons army in 1805 happened to occur at the same time as thefirst performance of Beethovens opera, Fidelio. It wasnt until 1806 thatBeethoven revised it, and then it wasnt until 1814 that he revised it again and itfinally gained its deserved success. As 1808 came to a close, Beethoven presented several major works, all in thecourse of one evening.
On the 22nd of December he gave a concert at the Theateran der Wien, which included the Fifth Symphony, the Choral Fantasia, the PianoConcerto in G, and various movements of the Mass for Prince Esterhazy. In may1808, Haydn had died, and there was now no one to challenge Beethovens rightto 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 theBattle of Victoria, gave Beethoven the public recognition he wanted. But hissuccess was soon to be spoiled.
In 1815, his brother Caper Anton Carl died andleft his son Karl to Beethoven as his legal guardian. Also Beethovens increasingdeafness made it impossible for him to conduct his work, or even perform anymore. Beethovens last years included illness and worry on one hand, but on a higherhand, he had some monumental masterpieces. His achievements in the last yearsof 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 ChoralSymphony No. 9. In 1824, Beethovens fame had grown so far the his name and music wereinternational in a way that not even Mozarts had been, and he had finally beenaccepted in Vienna as the way he should be.
The Viennese were fond, and evenproud of the eccentric man in their midst. In the fall of 1826, Beethoven returned to Schwarzspanierhas in Vienna, it wasthere that Beethoven was to die. It was recorded thought, that on the dayBeethoven died, there was a terrible storm that raged in Vienna and the dying manhad 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 wasnot some walk in the park.
I believe that he was given a great gift, a gift so greatit was perfect. But that was the problem, nothing in this world is perfect, soBeethoven was given many problems to compensate for the gift he had received. With all these problems though, Beethoven over came them, he looked pain andanguish in the face and went past them. Now once someone has overcome suchodds, and uncovered their weaknesses and problems, it is then that true excellencecan be given. So in my response, I think that Beethoven was a miss understoodman, he was brilliant and powerful, but people thought to much of him, and itprovided allot of added pressure to his life.Bibliography PageInternet source: Ludwig Van Beethoven,http://www-2.roughguides.com/music/classical/cla_bee.htmlInternet source: Biography of Beethoven,http//www.geocities.com/Vienna/Strasse/2914/beethoven/beetbio.htmlBook Source: Beethoven and his World, by Alan Kendall