Ludwig van Beethoven was born in the town of Bonn in West Germany. Beethoven had a tough childhood. His father was a musician at the court and tried to uphold Beethoven as an infant prodigy likeMozart without any success. As he was going to Vienna to make contacts and study, his mother died. Furthermore, while in his teens, he had to take charge of his family due to his father’s alcoholicproblems.
At the age of twelve he publishes his first work in 1782: 9 variations in C Minor for Piano. In June of 1784 he was appointed organist at the court of the Elector of Cologne, at the age of 14.As a talented musician, he had the opportunity to interact with aristocrats and intellectuals at the court of Bonn. He was a slow developer, but nevertheless, he had the opportunity to study withJoseph Haydn in Vienna. He was acclaimed as a virtuoso pianist by the age of twenty. In 1800 he wrote and presented his first symphony.
After the age of thirty he became progressively deaf, which kepthim from making a living in the traditional way, performing. This impairment hit him and he became depresses. This depression is expressed in the Heiligenstadt Testament, which is a letter he wrote tohis brothers his desire to overcome his physical handicap to complete his musical goals and dreams. It is half a proclamation of his artistic ideals and half a suicide note. He overcame thisdepression and wrote in 1803 the first of his powerful symphonies, the Third (Eroica). He wrote it in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Beethoven demanded the support from members of the nobility in Vienna, whowere awed by his forceful and original music as well as by his uncompromising character. He seemed to live just for his music and his domestic life was chaos. One story tells of him standing in themiddle of the floor pouring water over himself to cool off in the summer and being asked to leave by his landlord. He changed lodging on average once a year and by the end of his career he was known all...
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