LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Born in the German city of Bonn in 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven was a composer and pianist widely lauded as being one of the greatest classical musicians of all time. Displaying a talent from an early age, he was driven hard by his father, Johann. He published his sons first work when Ludwig was just 13 years old. Ludwig was taught by the composer and conductor Christian Gottlob Neefe, himself a talented musician who went on to help Beethoven with some of his finest works.
When 21 years of age, Beethoven moved to Vienna, where he studied composition with the outstanding Haydn. After gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist, he wattracted the attention of Karl Alois, Prince Lichnowsky, who had Beethoven produce his three opus 1 piano trios in 1795. The First Symphony, his debut major orchestral work, was unveiled in 1800, with his first string quartets published the following year. His body of work is generally divided into his ‘early’ (-1802), ‘middle’ (1802-1812) and ‘late’ (1812-1827) periods. His iconic Fifth Symphony, was published in 1808.
It’s incredible to believe that from around 1800 he suffered from increasing deafness. By 1814, he was completely deaf, and only then gave up performing in public. His desire to write music continued unabated, adding new, brilliant works right up to his death in 1827. It’s sad that this incredibly talented man never got to hear the works he gifted to the world himself, except in his own mind. It’s a marvel that what he produced could have been done at all. That he wrote such beautiful sounds without hearing, marks him out as that rare example of someone totally at ease and in tune with their chosen passion, and like Mozart, will be remembered as long as humanity exists, in my view.