Ludwig Van Beethoven Life Summary Essay

Ludwig Van Beethoven Biography Essay

Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770-1827), German composer, considered one of the greatest musicians of all time. Having begun his career as an outstanding improviser at the piano and composer of piano music, Beethoven went on to compose string quartets and other kinds of chamber music, songs, two masses, an opera, and nine symphonies. His Symphony No. 9 in D minor op. 125 (Choral, completed 1824), perhaps the most famous work of classical music in existence, culminates in a choral finale based on the poem "Ode to Joy" by German writer Friedrich von Schiller. Like his opera Fidelio, op. 72 (1805; revised 1806, 1814) and many other works, the Ninth Symphony depicts an initial struggle with adversity and concludes with an uplifting vision of freedom and social harmony.

Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven is considered possibly the greatest Western composer of all time. He wrote symphonies, concertos, chamber music, sonatas, and vocal music. His best-known composition is the Ninth Symphony with its passionate chorus, the Ode to Joy. Beethoven began to lose his hearing in the 1790s and was completely deaf by 1818.Hulton Getty Picture Collection


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Beethoven was born in Bonn. His father's harsh discipline and alcoholism made his childhood and adolescence difficult. At the age of 18, after his mother's death, Beethoven placed himself at the head of the family, taking responsibility for his two younger brothers, both of whom followed him when he later moved to Vienna, Austria.

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Beethoven Composes the Ninth Symphony

In Bonn, Beethoven's most important composition teacher was German composer Christian Gottlob Neefe, with whom he studied during the 1780s. Neefe used the music of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach as a cornerstone of instruction, and he later encouraged his student to study with Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whom Beethoven met briefly in Vienna in 1787. In 1792 Beethoven made another journey to Vienna to study with Austrian composer Joseph Haydn, and he stayed there the rest of his life.

Beethoven's compositional achievements... gained in richness and power over the years.

The combination of forceful, dramatic power with dreamy introspection in Beethoven's music made a strong impression in Viennese aristocratic circles and helped win him generous patrons. Yet just as his success seemed assured, he was confronted with the...

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Ludwig van Beethoven is considered one of the greatest classical composers who has ever lived. It is not known exactly when Beethoven was born, but he is baptized on December 17, 1770 in Bonn, Germany. 

With an alcoholic father, Ludwig has a difficult life as a young boy. To escape, he loses himself in music. WIth an extraordinary talent for piano playing, he begins composing when he is only twelve years old.

Ludwig moves to Vienna, Austria in 1792 and lives there for the rest of his life. He writes classical music for the piano, orchestra and different groups of instruments. Idolized by the public, Ludwig has a good life in Vienna. Beethoven is popular with the city's rich and important people. Even with his popularity, however, Ludwig faces financial problems and has to find sponsors when his music cannot support him.

Ludwig never marries and has no children of his own. He does, however, become so obsessed with gaining custody of his nephew, Karl, that he does not compose for two years. After a lengthy legal battle, he finally gets custody of the boy. His relationship with his nephew is very strained. In 1826, Karl tries to shoot himself. He survives but leaves Beethoven to join the army.

In 1801, Ludwig begins to lose his hearing. His deafness gradually becomes worse and, by 1817, he is completely deaf. Instead of allowing deafness to overwhelm him, however, Ludwig begins a period of prodigious and brilliant composition. 

Although he cannot hear all the notes with his ears, Beethoven writes some of the best-known symphonies of all time. His well-known works include his sixth ("Pastoral") and ninth ("Choral") symphonies, and his eighth ("Pathetique") and fourteenth ("Moonlight") piano sonatas.  Beethoven’s amazing classical music is still popular today.

Ludwig dies on March 26, 1827 but his legacy exists today through his music. The compositional path Beethoven creates allows other composers to break free from prescribed musical formats. In this story about an extraordinary musician, learn about the man behind the music.

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