Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven is considered to be one of the greatest creators of the world. His work can be referred both to classicism and romanticism; his creative life goes beyond these definitions. Beethoven’s music is the expression of his genius. The birthplace of the famous composer was Bonn, small Pyrenees town, the residence of the Prince of Cologne. There exist evidences that the date of his baptism was 17 December.
Many traits of his character Ludwig inherited from the grandfather, Louis Beethoven. Such qualities as pride, the independent attitude, perseverance and industry helped a little musician to become a truly talented artist. The brilliant abilities of a little boy appeared at age four. The father immediately took it as a new source of income. Ludwig had to develop, practice with a capable teacher, but his father had the only one method for upbringing – coercion and beatings.
Only some of Ludwig’s teachers were good musicians and none of them had a significant effect on the talented child. The goal of Ludwig’s father was to prepare a little son for concerts. He believed that the sooner the concerts will begin the sooner money will flow into the pocket. The first concert was held in Cologne, where the eight-year boy was presented as six years musician. At the age of 12, he was a virtuoso player on the harpsichord, violin, and organ. During this year, a crucial event in the life of the young Beethoven happened; this event determined the rest of his life and career.
Christian Gottlob Neefe nave became the new director of the court chapel in Bonn. This man became a true teacher of young Ludwig van Beethoven; he sparked the interest of a young artist by the music of Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mozart; Beethoven learned the subtleties of contemporary piano style on the samples of Bach’s keyboard music. With the help of the Neefe Nine variations on a march by Dressler and three piano sonatas were published. Nave knew that the development of some musical ability can not exist without proper eduction. Beethoven gladly began to study classical languages, literature, and philosophy. His admired of Schiller and Goethe, and he was just in love in Shakespeare’s creative life.
Since 13 years, Ludwig had to work in order to maintain a family. He worked as an organist’s assistant at the Chapel, turned a penny in the theater, learned roles with the singers and accompanied them during rehearsals. The young musician dreamed of recognition of the leading musicians and the Mozart’s lessons. Beethoven could be a good musician in Bonn, as well as his grandfather, but in order to be a truly brilliant artist he had to move in Vienne. Having overcome all kinds of difficulties, 17-year-old Ludwig arrived at the famous city. There he met Mozart. Maestro was thoroughly absorbed by the work on his opera “Don Giovanni” and, therefore, he listened rather absently the play of a young musician, and modestly praised a boy. Beethoven requested to give him a topic for improvisation; the ability to improvise on a given theme was widespread among pianists. Mozart asked to play two lines of polyphonic presentation. The young talent coped with the task particularly well and affected famous composer by his abilities.
According to Rowbotham (2007) Beethoven’s happiness, however, was soon to be clouded by sorrow, for shortly after his return to Bonn his mother died. (p.229) Ludwig had to care about the family as his father also died very soon after his wife. The young Beethoven was forced to take the extra work as well as to increase the number of lessons. These overstrain sapped health of Ludwig; he suffered from fever and smallpox.
Beethoven was a true virtuoso; his talent was on the same level with the major pianists of Europe. As a composer, he needed to improve his talent, new ideas, feelings and experiences. The young musician waited in the wings. He became acquainted with Haydn. Works of the young man impressed the famous composer; he pledged full support and advised Beethoven to go to Vienna again. In 1792, Beethoven was the author of over 50 works. Soon tthe young Ludwig was one of the first virtuosos of Vienna; his play was phenomenal. He is considered as one of the most prosperous musicians. Sometimes his play was called revolutionary thus, he played entirely new music. From 1775 to 1802 the composer wrote 19 piano sonatas, three piano concerto with orchestra, two symphonies, six string quartets, piano and string trio, as well as many other works. Ludwig gets into the high society of the Viennese aristocracy. Then he fell in love with a young girl, Juliette. Unfortunately, he was the object of ridicules for Juliette and soon she married another man.
Encyclopaedia Britannica (2012) relates “A change in direction occurred with Beethoven’s gradual realization that he was becoming deaf. The first symptoms had appeared even before 1800, yet for a few years his life continued unchanged: he still played in the houses of the nobility.”
Ferris (1891) gave a picture of Beethoven of those days: “The Square Cyclopean figure attired in a shabby coat with torn sleeves.” Everybody will remember his noble, austere face, as seen in the numerous prints: the square, massive head, with the forest of rough hair; the strong features, so furrowed with the marks of passion and sadness; the eyes, with their look of introspection and insight; the whole expression of the countenance as of an ancient prophet.”
In conclusion it should be said that on almost all the portraits of those times that have survived to the present days, Beethoven is depicted morose and unsociable; his appearance repulsed people, but under this stone mask was a man able to feel. Ludwig van Beethoven is not just a name in history; he was a talented person, he lived, enjoyed, suffered, solved his problems, and, like any true artist, thought about the fate of the world. It is not difficult to understand his music because he expressed his thoughts, sentiments in it; he wrote for those who wanted to listen. The conflicting feelings such as activism, passion, desire for peace and humility were combined harmoniously in his music.
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