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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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Not yet known as a composer, Beethoven quickly established a reputation as a virtuoso pianist who was especially adept at improvisation.
Beethoven won many patrons among the leading citizens of the Viennese aristocracy, who provided him with lodging and funds, allowing Beethoven, in 1794, to sever ties with the Electorate of Cologne. Beethoven made his long-awaited public debut in Vienna on March 29,
1795. Although there is considerable debate over which of his early piano concerti he performed that night, most scholars believe he played what is known as his "first" piano concerto in C Major. Shortly thereafter, Beethoven decided to publish a series of three piano trios as his "Opus 1," which were an enormous critical and financial success.
In the first spring of the new century, on April 2, 1800, Beethoven debuted his Symphony No. 1 in C major at the Royal Imperial Theater in Vienna. Although Beethoven would grow to detest the piece -- "In those days I did not know how to compose," he later remarked -- the graceful and melodious symphony nevertheless established him as one of Europe's most celebrated composers.
As the new century progressed, Beethoven composed piece after piece that marked him as a masterful composer reaching his musical maturity. His "Six String Quartets," published in 1801, demonstrate complete mastery of that most difficult and cherished of Viennese forms developed by Mozart and Haydn. Beethoven also composed The Creatures of Prometheus in 1801, a wildly popular ballet that received 27 performances at the Imperial Court Theater.
Around this time Beethoven, like all of Europe, watched with a mixture of awe and terror as Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed himself First Consul, and later Emperor, of France. Beethoven admired, abhorred and, to an extent, identified with Napoleon a man of seemingly superhuman capabilities, only one year older than himself and also of obscure birth.
In 1804, only weeks after Napoleon proclaimed himself Emperor, Beethoven debuted his Symphony No. 3 in Napoleon's honor. Later renamed the "Eroica Symphony" because Beethoven grew disillusioned with Napoleon, it was his grandest and most original work to date -- so unlike anything heard before that through weeks of rehearsal, the musicians could not figure out how to play it. A prominent reviewer proclaimed Eroica, "one of the most original, most sublime, and most profound products that the entire genre of music has ever exhibited."
At the same time as he was composing these great and immortal works, Beethoven was struggling to come to terms with a shocking and terrible fact, one that he tried desperately to conceal. He was going deaf. By the turn of the century, Beethoven struggled to make out the words spoken to him in conversation.
Beethoven revealed in a heart-wrenching 1801 letter to his friend Franz Wegeler, "I must confess that I lead a miserable life. For almost two years I have ceased to attend any social functions, just because I find it impossible to say to people: I am deaf.
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