Ludwig van Beethoven bigraphy, stories - A great composer

Ludwig van Beethoven : biography

The exact date of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth is unknown. But long and short of it in December of 1770 a boy who was destined to become the greatest musician not only of his time was born. At that time German people didn’t record exact dates of children’s birth if these children belonged to so-called “the third estate”, but as Ludwig was christened on the 17th of December this date is considered to be the day of his birth.

Beethoven’s father served as a court musician and he didn’t see another field for his children apart from music. He found out a delicate ear for music and musical capabilities in the boy and made him study to play the harpsichord and play pieces for hours. The little child was forced to play for eight hours running to please his father; sometimes he even continued his lessons at night. Perhaps it was a father’s insistence that laid a basis which developed in the greatest musical talent afterwards.

The first Beethoven’s concert was held at the age of eight. The talented boy was noticed and he gave concerts in several other cities. But his success had another side too – his father realized that he couldn’t give anything more to his son who excelled him in mastery, and stopped to learn him. At that time every field of science was considered to be secondary but Latin kept the first place. So Beethoven got much knowledge in elementary school but he couldn’t continue education because of the family’s pecuniary hardship. The only things that were available for the boy were reading books and trying to adopt knowledge from his friends. Beethoven coped with the French and Italian languages by himself and after hard work he mastered to read Cicero’s speeches with a wet finger.

At the age of eleven a Bonn teacher Christian Gottlob Neefe took an interest in Beethoven. The teacher at once detected his pupil’s genius and insufficient restraint in music. Neefe decided to influence on Ludwig by other composer’s artwork and he diligently taught him with the help of the collection of Bach’s fugues and preludes. This attitude gave good results – in 1782 he wrote his first composition. It was a variation for piano on Dressler’s march. And his next works – sonatas for harpsichord – were composed without any imitations at the age of thirteen.

Ludwig’s father didn’t earn much money and when Beethoven’s mother got seriously ill he had to work as an organist in a court choir. Only in 1787 Beethoven managed to realize his dream – to meet Mozart. When Mozart was listening to Beethoven’s playing he was very surprised by the young musician’s richness of musical fantasy and boldness of improvisations and foretold him a great future. The death of Beethoven’s mother prevented from developing of two composer’s friendship – the young man returned home to secure his younger brothers. His compelled work in the opera theatre where Beethoven played the viola in orchestra enabled to earn very little money so Ludwig made some money on the side by giving concerts and private lessons.

The acquaintance with Haydn in Bonn provoked a passionate desire to move to Vienna to learn there. This was a right decision – in 1795 the young composer’s first concert was held in Vienna. After that Beethoven went to Prague, Leipzig, Nuremberg and Berlin to give concerts. The composer especially loved Prague where people took his music with great delight and he played on tour in this wonderful city very often. Generally Beethoven concertized in noble salons where he earned more money.

Haydn’s lessons didn’t carry forward, because the teacher and the pupil couldn’t get on. But Beethoven establish friendship with Antonio Salieri and under his direction Ludwig studied art of composing opera parts for a long time. Besides Beethoven learnt from famous musicians and teachers of the Austrian capital who helped him to master counterpoint (Albrechtsberger) and quartet composition (Foerster). Beethoven’s incredible ability to work with the high musical culture of his teachers perfected his talent and permitted to show his artwork’s diversity. Only after he was completely made up as a composer Beethoven dared to publish his piano sonatas. It happened in 1796.

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