Ludwig Van Beethoven was born in1770 in the city of Bonn, Germany.
Beethovens father was aware of the success Mozart had as a young child. The father wanted his son to besuccessful, too. Beethovens father cruelly made youngLudwig practice for hours at a time. His dream was to have his son make the family rich. After long nights of drinking, Beethovens father would sometimes drag his son out of bed to practice the piano or play for guests. Young Ludwig gave his first public performance when he was just seven years old.
Beethoven began piano, violin, and organ lessons. At a young age, Beethovens firstmentor and man who recognized his great talents, Gottlob Neefe, sent Beethoven to Vienna where he was introduced to and briefly studiedunder other great composers such as Mozart and Haydn.
Unlike Mozart, Beethoven’s compositions were very messy.
Like most artists, composers, writers, and poets,Beethoven’s works mirrored his emotions andexperiences, sometimes even reflecting his views about other people.
The Third SymphonyOriginally he planned todedicate The Third Symphonyto Napoleon, whom he hadlong admired because heinspired Beethoven with ideasof freedom and equality.However, Beethoven becamedisillusioned when Napoleoncrowned himself Emperor in 1804.
Ferdinand Ries, a student and early biographer related the scene: "I was the first to bring him the news thatBonaparte had proclaimed himself emperor, whereuponhe flew into a rage and cried out: Is he too, then, nothing more than an ordinary human being? Now he, too, will trample on the rights of man, and indulge only his ambition! Beethoven went to the table, took hold of the title page by the top, tore it in two, and threw it on thefloor. The first page was rewritten and only then did the Symphony receive the title Sinfonia Eroica."
The "Eroica" Symphony represents a turning point not only in Beethovens career, but also in the history of music. Its unprecedented length, technical challenges, relationship to political events of the day, and uncompromising stance seemed to aim beyond entertainment, forcing Beethovens contemporaries torethink what a symphony should be and do.
Beethoven began to suffer from hearing loss while composing his 2nd Symphony. Several years later, he had become completely deaf. Throughout the years, he suffered from buzzing in his ears which grew to agitate his temper. However, his hearing loss did not deter Beethoven from his composing. He continued with his work and in fact, composed many of hisgreatest works after he had already grown almost completely deaf.
To hear sounds, Beethoven cutoff the legs of his piano andplaced the instrument on thefloor. He did this to feel thevibrations inthe floor whenhe played.
Beethoven could not bear the indignity ofasking people to "speak louder, shout, for I am deaf," and felt he must retreat fromsociety. He even contemplated suicide: "Alittle more and I would have ended my life.Only my art held me back. It seemed to me impossible to leave the world until I had produced all that I felt was within me."
The initial motif of the symphony has sometimes been credited with symbolic significance as a representation of Fate knocking at the door. Go to NPR to hear it:http://www.npr.org/templates/dmg/dmg.php?mediaURL=/pt/20060605_pt_beethoven5&mediaType=RM
Für Elise Für Elise is another famous and widely recognized masterpiece. Unknown to most people, this title was not the original title of the piece. When the work was firstpublished in 1867, it was done under the title Klavierstück in A mull, which translates as "Keyboard piece in Aminor." However, Beethoven had autographed the piece in German with the title and dedication: "For Elise on April 27, 1810, as a remembrance of L. v. Beethoven." After its publication, people began to recognize the work as Für Elise in accordance to its autograph.
To hear it, go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%BCr_Elise .Under “The Music,” click on Für Elise next to the speaker.
Symphony No. 9 was written when Beethoven was completely deaf. The last movement is based on a poem Beethoven loved by Friedrich Schiller called “Ode to Joy.” Beethoven used a chorus of singers with thiswork. No one before him had ever dared breakthe rules of composition by adding singers to a symphony.
He conducted the first performance of his NinthSymphony. He was so excited while conducting that he rushed the pace, but the musicianswere familiar enough with the piece that they could luckily keep up. When finished conducting, Beethoven, with his back to the audience and deaf, felt that his work was a failure. What he didn’t know was that the audience was loudly cheering for hismasterpiece. A musician near him turned himaround to see the audience’s jubilant reaction.
When asked about his hearing loss, he responded: "I will hear in heaven."
Sinfonia Eroica’-- Symphony No. 3 Composed in 1803 Symphony No. 5 Composed in 1807-08 Für Elise 1810 "Choral” -- Symphony No. 9 Composed in 1822-24