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Ludwig Van Beethoven

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Ludwig van Beethoven, a German composer, generally considered one of the greatest composers in the Western tradition. Born in Bonn, Beethoven was reared in to the capricious discipline of his father, a singer in the court chapel. In1789, because of his father's alcoholism, the young Beethoven became a court musician in order to support his family. His early compositions under the tutelage of German composer Christian Gottlob Neefe, particularly the funeral on the death of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph || in1790, signaled an important talent, and it was planned that Beethoven study in Vienna, Australia, with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Although Mozart's death in 1791 prevented this, Beethoven went to Vienna in 1792, and he became a pupil of an Australian composer named Joseph Haydn.

In Vienna, Beethoven dazzled the aristocracy with his piano improvisations. Meanwhile, he entered into increasingly favorable arrangements with Viennese music publishers. In composition he steered a middle course between the stylistic extravagance of German composer Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach and what the public had perceived as the overrefinement of Mozart. The broadening market for published music, enabled Beethoven to succeed as a freelance composer, a path that Mozart, a decade earlier, had found full of frustration.

In the first decade of the 19th century, Beethoven renounced the sectional, loosely constructed style of works such as the popular Septet op. 20, for strings and winds, and turned to a fresh expansion of the musical language bequeathed by Haydn and Mozart. Despite his exaggerated claim that he had never learned anything from Haydn, he had gone so far as to seek additional instruction from German composer, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger. Beethoven soon revealed his complete assimilation of the Viennese classical style in every major instrumental genre. The majority of the works for which he is most readily remembered for today, were composed during the decade bounded by the Symphony no. 3, a period known as his heroic decade.

Beethoven's fame reached it's zenith during these years, but the steadily worsening hearing impairment that he had first noted in 1798 led to an increasing sense of social isolation. Gradually, Beethoven settled into a pattern of shifting residences, spending summers in the Viennese suburbs, and moving back to the city each autumn. In 1802 in his celebrated "Heiligenstadt Testament" a quasi-legal letter to his two brothers, he expressed his agony over his growing deafness. After 1805, accounts of Beethoven's eccentricities multiplied.
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