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Who Was Ludwig van Beethoven?Born December 16, 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist extensively known as the greatest of all time and also known as the predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras of Western music. Beethoven life was marked with trials and conflict from the death of his families to the struggle against deafness. Despite the constant battles and misfortunes he refused to give up, as a result some of his most important works were composed during the last ten years of his life, when he was unable to hear, he died at the age of 56 on March 26, 1827 Death Certificate of his Relatives At the age of 17, in 1787, Beethoven made his first trip out of Germany to Vienna, Austria, the city that would later become his new home. He quickly became accustomed and immersed to the culture and lifestyle, exploring the life away from home and having the chance to play for Mozart, Mozart’s prediction of Beethoven was “you will make big noise in the world” His stay short-lived by a series of family tragedies, he returned to Bonn, a small city in Germany, where he found his dying mother Maria, soon after his infant and only sister Maria Margaretha passed away. Not long after, his father became unemployed and was now head and responsible for the family, in terms of providing an income, his father passed away in 1792 and Beethoven later returned to Vienna for good.The somber boy had grown into a man who was raised by rude and violent, kind and generous surroundings. As for the only surviving child, Johann Sebas, he raised money for him and took care of him. I felt including the death certificates of Beethoven’s  family was influential and crucial because his family was a big part of his life,  this event was like a stepping stone that helped him become who he was, someone more mature and appreciative/grateful. EarFrom the young age of 28, Beethoven slowly began to lose his hearing, just before writing his first symphony. As a result Beethoven tested every and any available treatment, unfortunately in the last decade of his life he lost hearing completely. In spite of his hearing loss he still continued to play the piano and lead rehearsals as late as 1814. Conceivably  he “heard” and perceived the music by feeling the vibrations of the instruments, Beethoven had four pianos without legs hence to feel the vibrations. As time moved on Beethoven developed into progressively being absorbed in his music, beginning to ignore basic human cleanliness and interactions. Having an ear as a composer is very important as you need to be able to hear the tunes and melodies, but when he lost his hearing he also lost the one important thing he knew how to do and also the job that gave him pay. Beethoven fell into great depression almost ending his life, but he overcame that and turned his disadvantage into an advantage as his love for music overpowered his decision to live and become one of the greatest composers.Symphony No.3In 1804, just weeks after Napoleon Bonaparte announced himself Emperor of France, Beethoven released his “Symphony No.3” in his recognition and celebration for Napoleon’s honour. Beethoven like all of Europe followed with a combination of awe and terror, he admired, despised and to a degree identified with Napoleon, a man of seemingly beyond human capabilities. Symphony No.3 later changed to “Eroica”  as Beethoven grew disillusioned to Napoleon before he’d disappointed Beethoven and crowned himself absolute monarch, as opposed to being a symbol of revolution and new era in Europe. Eroica was on of his greatest and grand works and the most original work up to date, it was unlike anything hear  in addition to musicians couldn’t figure out how to play it, even with weeks of rehearsal.TheaterIn spite of  his rapidly progressing deafness, Beethoven still continued to compose at a swift pace. On November 20th 1805 Beethoven composed his one and only opera called “Fidelio”, that contained a spoken dialogue separated into two acts. Beethoven composed many songs (symphonies, quartets etc)  that have natural melodies, however Fidelio was composed based on his instrumental music, making it difficult for the singers to steadily sing some of the melodic lines/tunes in this opera. Adding the theater was meaningful because this was the one and only opera that Beethoven composed before he became completely deaf. BatonFrom 1803 to 1812, also known as the middle period, Beethoven composed an opera, six symphonies, four solo concerti, five string quartets, six string sonatas,(etc) and in total 72 songs. From this middle period his most famous works were Symphonies 3-8, the “Moonlight Sonata” and his opera Fidelio. Beethoven’s last and final complete symphony was Symphony No.9, he premiered in his Ninth Symphony concert on May 7, 1824 held at Kärntnertor theater in Vienna. Despite Beethoven’s deafness hindering him from conducting, for the first time in twelve years he was on stage,  facing the orchestra with his focus to the symphony while his back was in the direction of the audience. I included the Baton because it was very significant to a conductor, like a missing piece to completing the puzzle and also this concert closed a chapter in Beethoven life, it was his last public appearance in Vienna and his last public statement as a composer.

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