Ludwig van Beethoven, also known as “ The General of Musicians,” was born on December 16, 1770. However, this date is not exact because it is believed that Beethoven’s father lied about his son’s age in order to portray him as an infant prodigy. As a result, Beethoven is convinced he was born on December 16, 1772 at the Rheingasse home, which belonged to the Fischers, who were close friends of the family (Orga 8).
Johann van and Maria Magdalena Beethoven bore five children of which three survived. Ludwig van Beethoven was the first child to survive, probably making him the most cherished especially in his father’s eyes. The other two surviving siblings were Casper and Nikolaus. They were said to have played extremely important roles in Beethoven’s life. Johann van said to be a lesser man than his father Ludwig Louis van Beethoven, who was a trained musician and later appointed Kapellmeister. Many believed he could not compare to his dad because he did not have a high-ranking job, instead his income was based on giving piano, singing, and violin lessons to the public (Kerman 354).
Johann wanted his first son to be great, especially in the music field, so he pushed him to learn the piano and violin at a very early age. For instance, Beethoven had his first public appearance at the age of eight on March 26, 1778. He performed at a concert with one of his father’s other pupils. His performance consisted of concertos and trios on the keyboard. Beethoven continued to play at concerts, as well as taking music lessons with instructors other than his father. When visiting the Fischer Family one day Johann proclaimed, “My son Ludwig is my only comfort now in life. He is improving in his music to such an extent that he is admired by everyone. I foresee that in time he will be a great man in the world” (Orga 29). During this time he also attended elementary school in Bonn, but he did not exceed grade school. Beethoven learned all he could by age ten and from then on he lived off his wits and curiosity (Orga 28).
In 1779, Beethoven met his first very important teacher at Bonn by the name of Christian Neefe. Neefe automatically saw Beethoven’s talent and had a strong liking to him from the beginning. Moreover, when he took a short leave of absence from Bonn, he appointed Beethoven, at only eleven years o...
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... His funeral was held on the 29th of March and about 15,000 guests attended his burial. The surrounding schools were closed that day in respect of the composer. Also, out of respect the choir sang the Miserere in an arrangement from one of his Equali for trombones. Following the singing, about 200 horse carriages accompanied the coffin on its final journey (Orga 8).
To conclude, Beethoven was know as “The General of Musicians,” “The Young Genius,” and the most admired composer in the history of western music. His musical ability, his passion, and his harsh losses all helped to contribute to his undying success as a great pianist and composer. Even today his works are still studied and listened to around the world.
Kerman, Joseph. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Ed. Stanley Sadie. 20 Vols. London: MacMillan Pub. Ltd., 1980. 2: 354-60.
Grout, Donald Jay. A History of Western Music. 3rd ed. New York: Cornell UP, 1981.
Marek, George R. Beethoven: Biography of a Genius. New York: Funk and Wagnall’s Publishing Company, 1969.
Orga, Ates. Beethoven: The Illustrated Lives of the Great Composers. London: Omnibus Press, 1983.
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