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16 Facts about Beethoven You Probably Don’t Know

Beethoven is known as one of the best composers of the Romantic period. Many of his works are still being played and praised today including the Moonlight Sonata, Fifth Symphony and Ninth Symphony. However, there’s actually more to this great composer than meets the eye. Following are some of the most interesting things you probably don’t know about Beethoven.

 

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1. Like all great artists, Beethoven has a ritual before composing. He liked to dip his head in cold water before getting creative!

 

2. The musician sadly suffered from bad complexion.

 

3. Beethoven doesn’t like anyone talking during a performance. He hated it so much he used to just walk out in the middle of a presentation.

 

4. Part of Beethoven’s genius might have developed through his association with another great musician – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The young Beethoven studied under Mozart’s tutelage as well as Joseph Haydn for a short time.

 

5. The “Moonlight Sonata” is called such because Beethoven composed all of it at night! Perhaps he dipped his head in cold water to stay awake?

 

Moonlight Sonata

Moonlight Sonata

 

6. Beethoven didn’t let something as small as deafness stop him from making music. Instead, he fashioned a rod that runs through the sound board of his piano. Every time he hits a note, he bites onto the rod and figures out the sound through vibration.

 

7. Beethoven loved to cook! In fact, he named one of his pieces “Christ! On the Mount of Olives”

 

8. The great musician was no stranger to love. He actually wrote love letter to an “Immortal Beloved”, the recipient of which is still in debate today. Unfortunately, Beethoven didn’t end up with his Immortal Beloved and left the world a single man.

 

9. Beethoven’s father made it seem as though he was approximately 2 years younger than believed. This was done to make the composer seem more like a musical prodigy. In fact, even Beethoven didn’t know he was a few years older, not until he received his baptism certificate did he know the truth.

 

10. Beethoven also wrote an opera titled Fidelino. It was his only foray in this type of art although critics still considered it one of the best classical pieces today.

 

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11. Joseph Haydn wasn’t too keen on Beethoven’s work. Unlike most of the musicians in the Classical Era, Beethoven ignored mathematical precision when creating music and instead relied on passion and emotion. It can be said that Beethoven helped usher in Romantic Era of music.

 

12. A well-accepted eccentric, Beethoven liked to go on rambling walks along the countryside for inspiration. During those walks, Beethoven was completely bedraggled with uncombed hair and shabby clothes. The villagers knew of his love for walks and kept out of his way, especially since he looked like he was always in a bad mood.

 

13. The Ninth Symphony was actually created when Beethoven was already deaf.

 

14. Beethoven was a supporter of Napoleon Bonaparte during his early years, even dedicating the “Third Symphony” to the leader. Later on however, Beethoven saw Bonaparte as a tyrant and forcefully erased his name on the symphony paper.

 

15. Despite his outward appearance of surliness, Beethoven actually liked to joke and would often amuse himself in the height of illness.

 

16. Beethoven’s first performance as a child was deemed unremarkable. When he was performing at 17 however, Mozart saw the genius and commented: one day he will force the world to talk about him.

10 Music Documentaries For a Great Weekend!

If you want to enjoy your weekend with a nice music documentary, here is a list for you:

 

1. Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

Searching_for_Sugarman

A documentary film directed by Malik Bendjelloul. This is the story about two South Africans, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, discover the mystery about their rock n’ roll musical hero – Sixto Rodriguez to find out his rumored death was true or not. This film will give you a warm feeling with attractive melodies of Rodriguez’s music.

 

2. 20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

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A great film directed by veteran documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville. A chance to know about background singers’ live – they worked with most famous bands in the world on stage but audiences know almost nothing about them. The atmosphere in this film is both old and glamour!

 

3. This Is It (2009)

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“This is the moment, this is it!” It’s quite famous, right? The film records the process of the rehearsal and preparation of Michael Jackson for his concert series on July 2009 but canceled due to his death on June 2009. The film brings to you the unforgettable memories and images of King of Pop.

 

4. Sound City (2013)

SOUND-CITY

This documentary film is about the history of a recording studio in Van Nuys, LA. In this film you can see enthusiastic people work with their heart, you will love it!

 

5. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

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This film will make you feel curious and thoughtful. There is no dialogue in whole film, it contains the music of Philip Glass and slow images of United States’s natural landscapes which taken by Ron Fricke. “Koyaanisqatsi” means “unbalanced life”, this film is a document that record every situations of US’s life, it lets the viewers have their own thinking about the meaning of the film.

 

6. Marley (2012)

Marley

Directed by Kevin Macdonald, it is about the life of Bob Marley, his music, his legacy, and other interesting memories of him. Lots of Marley’s songs played as the background in the film. This is a great film if you are a fan of Bob Marley, but if you’re not a fan, it is also a nice idea to fulfill your knowledge of legend music.

 

7. Pearl Jam Twenty (2011)

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This is “An untold story of a great American rock band!” – Twenty years on stage of Pearl Jam rock band, it is not only about their music but also about their life with full of experiences.

 

8. Let It Be (1970)

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A wonderful film for The Beatles fans. This film is about the process of The Beatles rehearsing and recording songs for the album Let It Be (1969) in their attempt to get their old group spirit. Viewers can feel their heart, their love for each other through beautiful songs playing in the film.

 

9. ABBA: The Movie (1977)

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It is an interesting film about ABBA’s Australian tour, recorded by a DJ radio – Ashley Wallace (cast by Robert Hughes), his shortcoming in work experience gives him luck to follow ABBA all the tour.

 

10. Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (1972)

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A concert film of Pink Floyd in 1972. You will have a good time to see the band in an old Pompeii amphitheater, the film makes you feel like you are living with the band and experiencing the music with them.

5 Most Iconic Legends of Classical Music

When we think classical music, we think big lovely orchestras playing lovely, memorable music, arranged with utmost care and beauty. It allows us to disconnect for a while and bathe in the angel-like beauty of their sound.

Surely you’ve heard at least ONE piece in your life. Maybe you’d like to know more? Which composers should you go for?

Let’s take a look at the best and most iconic legends in Classical music.

5. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Ah… Good old Mozart. We’ve all heard the name and probably one of his beautiful pieces. He was born on January 27th 1756 and died on December 5th 1791. Quite a terrible time of the year to die too…

Why is he such a legend?

Because he was composing music ever since he was freaking 5, then performed before royalty! Yeah… That lad is naught but a prodigy. Oh? You think that’s crazy? Well, let me tell you something. He also composed over 600 works in his lifetime. Not just that, but he may be the most popular composer to ever exist, up to where studying his scores is considered standard in Classical music training.

Check out: First movements of Symphonies 25 & 40 and Piano Concerto No. 21

Interested yet? Good!

4. Ludwig van Beethoven

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Good old Beethoven is the creator of probably one of the most iconic pieces of music in history (and a favorite of yours truly). Moonlight Sonata.

He started studying music since a very early age and displayed exceptional talent at it. He even aspired to study under Mozart himself.

In 1792, he moved to Vienna and became quite famous, considered by many a “Virtuoso pianist”. However, as fate would have it, he started losing his hearing in 1800. So he stopped performing…

Ah but did he keep composing…? That’s right, even if he was deaf, he kept on composing. You’d think that his works would deteriorate due to not being able to hear. However some of his best works came after he stopped hearing. As a matter of fact, he finished his “Moonlight sonata” in 1801. A courageous fellow indeed.

Check out: Moonlight sonata (obviously) and Cello Sonata No. 4 in C major.

3. Frédéric François Chopin

Frederic-Chopin

Before you read this, go and try playing some of this guy’s compositions. Are your fingers broken yet? Yeah… Same here.

Before he turned 20, he had a few works under his belt already. By the time he went to Paris he started giving public concerts, and went ahead to become one of the earliest “superstars”.

Most of his compositions were solo piano (which has been the bane of my existence) but you would think that there were more people playing because of how incredibly precise some of his pieces are. It only shows how much dedication, passion and above all, practice he put forth, in order to reach that level.

Did I mention he composed the all-too-famous “Funerary march”?

Check out: Polonaise, Op. 53 and Revolutionary Etude

2. Johann Sebastian Bach

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Ever seen “Fantasia”? Then you already know Bach.

The thing about Bach is that he didn’t create a musical revolution or any new styles, nah nah… He’s too cool for that. He just went ahead and perfected every single one of them. That’s all!

He’s so good that he’s considered the master of “fugue”. Just to give you an example, both Mozart and Beethoven had issues with “fugue”. He’s also the composer of “The Mass in B minor” which is considered by many experts as one, if not THE greatest work of music ever made.

Also Disney’s “Fantasia”… That’s probably how I got into Classical to begin with.

Check out: “Fantasia”. Seriously! It’s worth it!

1. Giuseppe Tartini

Tartini

An Italian violinist and composer born in Istria. His specialty was Baroque music.

I know you were probably expecting someone else. But here’s why he is so iconic.

You see… There’s indeed a big legend about him that he, himself started. In 1716, he listened to another violinist, Francesco Maria Veracini, and he became so impressed that he lost complete faith in his own skill.

Afterwards, he fled to Ancona, where he locked himself up to practice.

And so he practiced… And practiced… And practiced. Sometimes even over 12 hours a day.

He would never stop practicing, even when his health started deteriorating for it. Then one night, he received a visit from the devil himself, whom Tartini described as “a very attractive-looking fellow”. Tartini then proceeded to ask the devil if he could play a song on his violin, a request that was thoroughly accepted.

He says, that once he heard such a beautiful and marvelous piece, he dedicated himself day and night to recreate it.

And so the “Violin Sonata in G minor“, also known as “Devil’s Trill Sonata” was born.

This sonata would go down in history as one of the most complicated musical pieces ever made, even by modern standards, as it requires dominance over double stop trills. That is, playing two simultaneous notes + a rapid alternation over two adjacent notes.

By all means… Check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

Also check out: Miserere and Cello Concerto in A or D major