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A Complete History Of Beethoven Essay, Research Paper

Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany in 1770 to Johann van

Beethoven and his wife, Maria Magdalena. He took his first music

lessons from his father, who was tenor in the choir of the

archbishop-elector of Cologne. His father was an unstable, yet

ambitious man whose excessive drinking, rough temper and anxiety

surprisingly did not diminish Beethoven?s love for music. He studied

and performed with great success, despite becoming the breadwinner of

his household by the time he was 18 years old. His father?s

increasingly serious alcohol problem and the earlier death of his

grandfather in 1773 sent his family into deepening poverty.

At first, Beethoven made little impact on the musical society,

despite his father?s hopes. When he turned 11, he left school and

became an assistant organist to Christian Gottlob Neefe at the court

of Bonn, learning from him and other musicians. In 1783 he became the

continuo player for the Bonn opera and accompanied their rehearsals on

keyboard. In 1787, he was sent to Vienna to take further lessons from

Mozart. Two months later, however, he was called back to Bonn by the

death of his mother.

He started to play the viola in the Opera Orchestra in 1789,

while also teaching in composing. He met Haydn in 1790, who agreed to

teach him in Vienna, and Beethoven then moved to Vienna permanently.

He received financial support from Prince Karl Lichnowsky, to whom he

dedicated his Piano Sonata in C minor, better known as The Path?tique

?. He performed publicly in Vienna in 1795 for the first time, and

published his Op. 1 and Op. 2 piano sonatas. His works are

traditionally divided into three periods. The first is called the

Viennese Classical, the second is the Heroic, and the third is Late

Beethoven. In the first period, his individuality and style gradually

developed, as he used many methods from Haydn, including the use of

silence. He composed mainly for the piano during this period. These

works include Symphony no. 1 in C (1800), his first six string

quartets, and the Path?tique (1799). His Moonlight Sonata in C#

minor (1801) is known as the first of Heroic Beethoven.

Beethoven learned that he would become deaf in 1802 and suffered

sever depression. His composing skills were not affected by his

deafness, but his ability to teach and perform was inhibited. It is

said that he became deaf from his habit of pouring cold water over his

head while composing, to refresh himself, and then not drying his

massive amounts of hair afterwards. He wrote his only opera, Fidelio

in 1805. The main theme of the opera revolves around fidelity, which

reflects his personal desire to marry. Other works in the Heroic

period include the Kreuzer Sonata (1803), symphonies 3 ? 7, the Violin

Concerto in D major (1806), the Razumovsky Quartets (1806), the

Emperor Concerto (1809) and the Archduke Trio, Op. 97 (1811).

After 1813, during his Late period, Beethoven composed inwardly.

He was totally deaf, as this is sometimes known as the ?silent

period.? Some say that Beethoven was composing music for a different

age. His life became more chaotic and he composed less and less. In

his works, he used more miniaturization and expansion. The music

began to become ?odd? as he began to experiment with the number of

movements, contrast in volume and dynamics, harmonic predictability,

sonata movements and trills in his works. Beethoven became

increasingly argumentative as he was further tormented by his

deafness. Goethe described his attitude as aggressive, and perhaps

understandable, but not easy to live with. He gave his last

performance in 1814, on the piano, but continued to be a respected

composer in Viennese society. Some of his late achievements include

the Diabelli Variations (1820-1823), the last piano sonatas and six

string quartets, the Mass in D major, Missa Solemnis (1823), the

Choral Symphony, no. 9 (1824), in which he set Schiller?s ?Ode to Joy?

in the final movement. At Beethoven?s death in 1827, Franz

Grillparzer best described him during his funeral address when he

said: ?despite all these absurdities, there was something so touching

and ennobling about him that one could not help admiring him and

feeling drawn to him.?


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