Ludwig van Beethoven was a German musical genius who composed his music while deaf and was the most prominent figure in the transitional era that existed between the classical and romantic eras. Born on 17 December 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven remains as one of the few people who influenced the direction that music took for many years to come. As one of the greatest music composers to have ever lived, Ludwig van Beethoven was able to influence the development of musical history in such a way that no one else ever since was able to do so. Ludwig van Beethoven used different works from different people to pass his message along. His music compositions were influenced by classical traditions such as Joseph Haydn and Mozart while at the same time using ideas from Goethe and Friedrich Von Schiller. Ludwig van Beethoven's music compositions were also influenced by literature world contemporaries, the seemingly redefined moral imperatives of Kant and the ideas of the French revolution as it advocated for the passionate concern for the freedom and the dignity of a person individually. Ludwig van Beethoven was able to do something that his predecessors had not done, showing that music could be used to convey a philosophy of life without the use of spoken texts or aids. The composer also showed the world that human will can be shown through music by composing songs that people could feel or relate to. Even though he was not romantic, other music composers used his compositions as a foundation for their music especially using his Sixth Symphony to show that music could be used to express more than a painting could do (Davies 7).
Ludwig van Beethoven's early life
Ludwig van Beethoven was the son of Johann and Maria Van Beethoven and he traced his musical talents from his grandfather. Ludwig van Beethoven's father was also music genius and sang in the same choir that their grandfather sang as well. Due to his father's alcoholism disorder, Ludwig van Beethoven was forced out of school at a tender age and was working to provide for the family while he was 17 years old. However, his father had realized that he was a music enthusiast and decided to make a star at a young age. This plan failed as Ludwig van Beethoven wildness was not seen until he was a teenager when the music began to develop in his life (Morris 10).
After the Romans had begun ruling the town of Bonn, Christain Gottlob Neefe became Ludwig van Beethoven's musical teacher, and he guided him to compose his first music. By June 1782, Ludwig van Beethoven was appointed as the assistant court organist, reporting to Neefe. In 1783, he was appointed as a continuo player to the Bonn Opera. Due to his progress in music, the rule of the town Maximilian Francis sends him to study in Vienna even though he came back after a short while after learning that his mother was dead. Mozart spoke highly of Ludwig van Beethoven as he stated that the young man had a great future ahead of him because he had the focus, determination and was also dedicated to working hard as well. After returning to Bonn, Ludwig van Beethoven was given the duty of playing the viola in a certain theater orchestra and was able to move forward because of the friends that he was making in the musical world.
Early establishment of his career in music
Between the years 1790 and 1792, Ludwig van Beethoven was based in Vienna and was able to compose different works even though none of them were published during his time. His compositions showed maturity and a growing influence as he was able to attract more masses than before. Ludwig van Beethoven was also able to compose his third symphony in a set of numerous variations. Another musical genius who also had an effect on Ludwig van Beethoven was Joseph Haydn, who was traveling to London and stopped at Bonn and was shown Ludwig van, Beethoven. Arrangements were made quickly on how the musical master could teach him as they travelled together to Vienna, upon reaching Vienna, Ludwig van Beethoven heard the devastating news that his father died and also Mozart had passed away. Over the years, Ludwig van Beethoven lived with the burden of being seen as Mozart's successor so he tried to study his previous works so that they could help him step in his shoes. Haydn guided him to be a composer even though initially he started out studying music and performing at various places. By the year 1793, Ludwig van Beethoven had already established himself as an improviser and was always playing in noble places around the town. His works were also getting published by his friend Nikolaus Simrock, a move that made him be recognized around Vienna as a piano virtuoso. However, Ludwig van Beethoven did not allow all of his works to be published because he figured that publishing them on 1795 would have a much greater impact because by then most of the people would have known his works and appreciated him (Davies 15).
March 1795 marked the first time that Ludwig van Beethoven performed in a concert in Vienna, performing one of his piano concertos. After the concert, he allowed his works to be published naming them an opus number, the three piano trios, Opus 1 and dedicated all of them to Prince Lichnowsky, who had ensured that he lived well when he came to Vienna without any source of income. Ludwig van Beethoven made a lot of money from his publications and concerts that his profits were able to maintain him for about a year.
The years between 1798 and 1800 saw Ludwig van Beethoven compose his first six string quartets, and they were later published on 1801. His first and second symphonies premiered on 1800 and 1803 and Ludwig van Beethoven was soon seen as one of the greatest music composers, following in the footsteps of Haydn and Mozart. Ludwig van Beethoven's works showed an enormous amount of influence from works of his predecessors such as Mozart and Haydn. During the premiership of his first symphony, he hired the Burgtheater and went ahead to a stage and the extensive program of music whereby he did his compositions as well as those of Haydn and Mozart. Mozart's influences on his works were seen in his composition of the Quintet for piano and winds even though he used his touches in the process of composing it (Morris 21).
After being hired to play piano for the Hungarian countess Anna Brunswick, Ludwig van Beethoven fell in love with the youngest daughter known as Josephine. Josephine was said to be one of the addressees of a letter he wrote titled "Immortal Beloved." Ludwig van Beethoven also had other various students who he tutored on how to compose and play piano as well.
Ludwig van Beethoven developed hearing problems at the start of 1798 and never fully recovered. He was said to have suffered from a fit, and when he woke up, he found himself partially deaf. In a letter to his friends, he described the problems he was underdoing because of his partial deafness because he could not attend professional and social gatherings any more.
Ludwig van Beethoven career is normally divided into three parts, the early, middle and later periods of his music developments. The early period was made of music and compositions he developed from the beginning of his career to 1802, the middle period from 1803 to 1814 and late period started from 1815 to his death. The early period marked a time when his work was influenced by Haydn and Mozart. The middle period came later on when he was more mature, and his works were influenced by his personal life and also the revelation that he was going blind. His love life and also fighting for the custody of his brother's son also showed in how he composed his works with emotions. Ludwig van Beethoven's works in the late period showed a lot of intellectual depth that the composer user to compose his music.
Ludwig van Beethoven died on March 1827 due to liver damage which was caused by heavy drinking which characterized his life. For the most of his remaining months, Ludwig van Beethoven was bedridden as friends, fans and family came to visit him in Vienna (Davies 25).
Davies, Peter. The character of a genius: Beethoven in perspective. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2002.
Morris, Edmund. Beethoven: the universal composer. New York: HapperCollins, 2005.
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