is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.
von Braunthal met him in an inn a year later (1826). Beethoven was sitting in a
corner with closed eyes, smoking a long pipe - a habit which grew on him more
and more as he approached death. A friend spoke to him. He smiled sadly, drew
from his pocket a little note-tablet, and in a thin voice which frequently
sounded cracked notes, asked him to write down his request?"
He had a life full of suffering and
was a son of nature, intended to love and to be loved?
power, the thunderer, Prometheus of Music?
shoulders, athletic build body, always very rumpled wild black hair,
melancholically sad eyes. Shakespearean King Leer...
was a master symphonist - the master symphonist in the eyes of most musicians
and listeners. His compositions for orchestra were revolutionary in his day;
while he adhered to Classical musical forms, his melodies and orchestration
were of such unprecedented power and beauty that they astonished even the most
of his the most famous motives - the theme of his 5th symphony is known, in his
own words, as "Fate, knocking at the door." It seems fate really was
knocking at the door for all of his life.
his first years his life was not happy for him. Seeing the extensive musical
talent of young Ludwig, his father, a music enthusiast, but an extremely crude
and violent person, wanted to make him a next Mozart. Ludwig was only four
years old when his father started to force him to play the harpsichord and violin
for hours a day, shutting him alone in his room. But boy did not come to hate
music. He was not as gifted as Mozart was, but he was unusually talented,
learning the piano, organ and violin at an early age.
of his first instructors, and the most significant in his life was a court
organist and notable musician of the time, Christian Gottlob Neefe. Under his
instruction, at the age of ten Beethoven published his first compositions (Nine
variations in C Minor). "If I ever become anybody," Beethoven wrote to
Neefe in October, 26 1873, "I shall owe it to you". ***
At thirteen his teacher got him a salaried
job in the court orchestra, where Ludwig obtained his profound knowledge of
the age of 17 he left for Vienna with the hope of studying with Mozart.
According to some sources Mozart took little notice of him, to others - he was
impressed by Beethoven's improvisatory skills and said: "Watch this young
man; he will yet make a noise in the world," but because of his mother's
death Beethoven returned to Germany. In 1792, when he came back, never to
return to his motherland for the rest of his life, Mozart was not alive any
more. But he became a pupil of other famous musicians: Joseph Haydn gave him
composition lessons, Johann Alberchtsberger - lessons of Counterpoint and
Fugue, Salieri trained him in vocal writing.
Beethoven was accepted as the most important performing pianist of his time,
giving concertos at the homes of music patrons. But his unbowed character could
not live in frivolous Vienna. In 1809 he was given a salary from three richest
noblemen with only one condition - to remain in Austria and compose. Despite
his dislike of Vienna, Beethoven rejected the position of court musician for
the King of Westphalia and became the first free composer in music history.
fate was already knocking at his door: his hearing became gradually weaker. The
first symptoms appeared in 1796. For several years he kept secret to himself,
avoiding company so as not to be noticed in his infliction. In 1801 he could no
longer hide and in the letter to his friends he wrote: "Your Beethoven is
very unhappy. You must know that the best part of me, my hearing, has became
very weak?How sad is my life?I'm deaf. Had my profession been any other, things
might still be bearable: but if it is, my situation is terrible?" The
tragic sadness was expressed in some of his work in this period: in the Largo
of the Piano Sonata in D, opus 10 (1798), in the Sonata Pathetique, Op.13 (1799).
It is important to notice that only opus 1 of his work was written before 1796,
the next opus - the first three Piano Sonatas appeared in March 1796. So,
almost all Beethoven's works are that of a deaf man.
kind of suffering was added to that: his was rejected by his dearest love,
Giulietta Guicciardi, to whom in 1802 he dedicated his Piano sonata in c#.***
In some years he met Theresa von Brunswick -
a women, who played a very significant role in his life, whom he will love
until the end of his life, and to whom he will write the famous letter,
overfill with tender and love - "Immortal beloved" (it is difficult
to say why they were not married. Preferably, the main reason was the
difference in those social positions).
passed a terrible crisis, his deafness was more and more significant and the
last hopes of recovering his health disappeared. At that time he wrote a letter
for his brothers, Carl and Johann, known as "Heiligenstadt
Testement", with the following direction: "To be read and carried out
after my death". He was on the verge of suicide. "How humiliated I
have felt if somebody standing beside me heard the sound of a flute in the
distance and I heard nothing... If not for my music, little more of this and I
would have ended my life... I have been stranger to the trill of joy for so
long. When, O God, when shall I feel joy once more?" But his powerful
nature could not give up under the weight of his suffering: "My physical
beneath improves always with the growth of my intellectual force? Yes, I can
fell that my youth is only just beginning... O, if I were only free from my
deafness I would embrace the world!? No rest! At least, none that I know of
except sleep;? I will wage war against destiny."
to about this year (1802) the first period of his creative work finished. he
produced 6 string quartets, 10 piano sonatas, and 2 symphonies. He continued to
maintain the basic Classical traditions of form yet his use of melody, rhythm
and harmony expands upon the musical vocabulary of other composers of the time.
second stage of Beethoven's musical development was stirred in part by the
political unrest of the period. The democratic proclamations of the French
Revolution was changing the face of Europe. The Symphony #3 "Eroica"
was written for and around Napoleon Bonaparte.***
deeply believed in the ideals of liberty, equality and brotherhood for all men.
He felt himself to be equal, if not superior, to the nobles to whom he was
indebted and to whom he was expected to bow down. Bettina Brentano, who saw him
at that time, says "no king or emperor was ever so conscious of his
story is told that as he and the great German poet, Goethe, were walking through
the street a Imperial family. "Duke Rudolph raised his hat to me, the
Empress bowing to me first?" - wrote Beethoven the day after, "I
amused myself in watching the procession pass by Goethe. He remained on the
roadside bowing low, hat in hand. I talk him to task for it pretty severely and
did not spare him at all". Some after Goeater said: "Beethoven is,
unfortunately, possessed of a wild and uncouth disposition; he is not wrong in
his finding the word detestable, but that is not the way to make it pleasant
for himself or for others. We must excuse and pity him for his deaf", and
ignored him completely.
of Beethoven's music from this period reflects his revolutionary spirit. It was
the period, when in attempt to find his own style, he broke rules of classical
composition. Webster's dictionary says, that term "classic"
"denotes primary the principles and characteristic of Greek and Roman
literature and art; considered as embodying formal elegance, simplicity,
dignity and correctness of style". The second period of Beethoven creative
work can not be considered as a purely classic. It was the beginning of his
romanticism. E.T.A. Hoffmann, an important critic and creative writer of the
time, wrote: "Beethoven's music sets in motion the lever of fear, of awe,
of horror, of suffering, and awakens just that infinite longing which is the
essence of Romanticism. He is accordingly a completely Romantic composer".
fist two symphonies, in C and D, belong to school of Mozart and Haydn. In 1802
Beethoven said: "I am not satisfied with my work up to present time. From
today I mean to take a new road". The third symphony was really an example
of that new road. Some features can be noticed: the connecting of the second
theme with the first, the second movement is of unusual form - a funeral march,
unusually long third movement, which used to be the shortest and now raised to
the level with others, the extraordinary importance of the coda, with the
introduction of a new theme in it. The distinguishing element one can find: his
melodies are much more emotional, the ones of his predecessors. A great amount
of music was produced during this part of his life: 1 opera, 3 string quartets,
2 piano concertos, 5 symphonies, overtures and incidental music and numerous
about 1816, the third period of Beethoven's music began. His deafness became
complete. Beethoven began to drink heavily causing severe inflammation of his
digestive tract and liver damage which was eventually to be the cause of his
the autumn of 1815 he could only communicate with his friends by writing, by
this time dates the change of style in his music, beginning with Sonata op.101.
He continued his earlier experiments, but with a new approach to the
development of melodic themes. Before, short motives of three or four notes
would be used in various ways; now, entire melodies would be worked, reworked
also blurred the dividing lines of the sections within movements, developing a
seemingly more complex form, and broke away from classical forms by writing a
sonata in 2 movement and a string quartet in 7 movements.
that period he wrote two the most massive of his works: 9th Symphony (Choral)
and Messa Solemnis.
Symphony #9 in D Minor, his last symphonic work, he adds a solo quartet and
chorus. Never before had any composer added voices to a symphony. Many were to
follow Beethoven's lead in the future. In this last big work he set Schiller's
Ode to Joy to music, a poem which describes the eternal brotherhood of man. On
7 May, 1824, completely deaf, he conducted this symphony. He heard nothing when
the audience was applauding to him, and even did not suspect, until he saw
them, clapping their hands and waiving hats.
March 26 the Viennese heavens were split with lightning and growled with
thunder. It was almost as the city was giving voice of grief. A peal thunder
rumbled in Beethoven's death room. Ever the rebel, Beethoven feebly raised a
defiant fist toward the heavens. Then he fell back, and died". This story
has become part of his literature. The medical conclusion about the reasons of
his death looked like the list of diseases. It was not easy to say what is
healthy. Martin Cooper in his monograph gave a detail inscription of
Beethoven's medical history: deafness, cirrhosis of liver, possibly venereal
disease (syphilis?). And as a concluding phrase of his work he wrote: "He
never did think much of us; perhaps we should leave him in peace"?
last words were: "Plaudite, amici, commedia finita est" -
"Friends applaud, the Comedy is over".
the comedy, but the tragedy.
Phil Classical music. The 50 Greatest Composers and there 1000 Greatest Works.
Vincent "Beethoven; a critical biography"
Martin. Beethoven: The Last Decade. 1817-1827.
George "Beethoven and his nine symphonies"
H. C. Robbins Beethoven : his life, work and world.