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Ludwig van Beethoven was a deaf German composer and the predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras.
A short biography of Ludwig van Beethoven.
Beethoven got the opportunity to go to Vienna and intends to play for Mozart.
Celebrated as musical genius, Beethoven's compositions are often extremely difficult to play.
As a child Beethoven was taught by his father to play the piano: His drunken teacher often beat him when he did not meet his standards.
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Beethoven, who struggled with sums and spelling his entire life, was at best an average student, and some biographers have hypothesized that he may have had mild dyslexia. As he put it himself, "Music comes to me more readily than words." In 1781, at the age of 10, Beethoven withdrew from school to study music full time with Christian Gottlob Neefe, the newly appointed Court Organist. Neefe introduced Beethoven to Bach, and at the age of twelve Beethoven published his first composition,
a set of piano variations on a theme by an obscure classical composer named Dressler.
By 1784, his alcoholism worsening and his voice decaying, Beethoven's father was no longer able to support his family, and Ludwig van Beethoven formally requested an official appointment as Assistant Court Organist. Despite his youth, his request was accepted, and Beethoven was put on the court payroll with a modest annual salary of 150 florins.
In an effort to facilitate his musical development, in 1787 the court decided to send Beethoven to Vienna to study with Mozart. Upon his arrival, Beethoven auditioned for Mozart and the great composer remarked, "Keep your eyes on him; some day he will give the world something to talk about." However, only a few weeks after he arrived in Vienna, Beethoven learned that his mother had fallen desperately ill, and he immediately rushed home to Bonn. She died several months later, sending her son into a fit of depression that lasted several years. Remaining in Bonn, Beethoven continued to carve out his reputation as the city's most promising young court musician.
When the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II died in 1790, a 19-year-old Beethoven received the immense honor of composing a musical memorial in his honor. For reasons that remain unclear, Beethoven's composition was never performed, and most assumed the young musician had proven unequal to the task. However, more than a century later, Johannes Brahms discovered that Beethoven had in fact composed a "beautiful and noble" piece of music entitled Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II. It is now considered his earliest masterpiece.
In 1792, with French revolutionary forces sweeping across the Rhineland into the Electorate of Cologne, Beethoven decided to leave his hometown for Vienna once again. Mozart had passed away a year earlier, leaving Joseph Haydn as the unquestioned greatest composer alive.
Haydn was living in Vienna at the time, and it was with Haydn that the young Beethoven now intended to study. As his friend and patron Count Waldstein wrote in a farewell letter, "Mozart's genius mourns and weeps over the death of his disciple. It found refuge, but no release with the inexhaustible Haydn; through him, now, it seeks to unite with another. By means of assiduous labor you will receive the spirit of Mozart from the hands of Haydn."
In Vienna, Beethoven dedicated himself wholeheartedly to musical study with the most eminent musicians of the age. He studied piano with Haydn, vocal composition with Antonio Salieri and counterpoint with Johann Albrechtsberger.
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