Ludwig Van Beethoven is known not just by people who have a deep respect for classical music, but by basically everybody around the world, at least for his stunning compositions like the Moonlight Sonata, Fur Elise and the Fifth and Ninth Symphonies. His symphonies and all of his work are eternal and no one can dispute his genius.
The composer of German origin was born on December 16, 1770 in a family that was not alien to music. His father, Johann taught violin, piano and voice and was also a chapel master. Beethoven learned violin and piano from his father when he was very little, and he also used to sing in the chapel where his father was the master. Little Beethoven naturally loved music and, at the age of 8, he began studying with several local organists and got to be taught piano by Tobias Friedrich Pfeiffer and learned to play the violin and viola from Franz Rovantini and several other violinists. When he was 11, he became the assistant of C.G. Neefe, who helped him play the instruments well. Born a genius, Beethoven left formal education at an early age and focused on a glorious career in music starting with the age of 13.
Beethoven went to Vienna in 1972 and studied with Hayden for a short period of time. He then took lessons from the most famous teacher in Vienna at that time – Johann Georg Albrechtsberger. He learned a lot of things from Johann (including choral fugues, double fugue, canon and triple counterpoint) and, in 1800, he got to perform his first symphony and a septet – op. 20.
Beethoven’s life changed dramatically after the age of 20, when he became deaf. He tried to hide this weakness from the world but he was not successful. He started using a special rod that was connected to the soundboard on the piano that he was able to gnaw; the vibrations that moved from the piano to his jaw amplified the insight of the sound. Unfortunately, Beethoven got completely deaf by 1814.
Beethoven was born a genius and his talent in music flourished even after he became deaf. Symphonies 2, 3 and 4 were written between 1800 and 1806, when Beethoven was living his early days of deafness.
His work passed the test of time, and his symphonies, as well as his other works, are regarded as real master pieces. Beethoven’s work is voluminous, but each one of its pieces has its own style and design, delighting through variation and modulation. The core of his work remained piano concertos, symphonies and string quartets piano sonatas – which he loved the most, although his music varied widely.
Beethoven’s brilliant career is divided into 3 periods: Early (ending in 1802), Middle (between 1813 and 1814) and Late (after 1815). The Early period offered the world his first two Symphonies, his first 6 string quartets, 3 piano concerts and the first 20 piano sonatas (out of which the Moonlight Sonata became the most popular). The Middle period is represented by the 4th and 5th piano concertos, the next 6 symphonies, the triple concerto and the violin concerto, the string quartets no. 7 to 11, the following 7 piano sonatas and Beethoven’s only opera – Fidelio. The Late period is the romantic period and it is marked by masterpieces such as the Hammerklavier sonata.
Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from the Ninth Symphony was chosen to be the official anthem of the European Union in 1985, proving once again that Beethoven’s work is immortal.