Ludwig van Beethoven

1770-1827 Sydney Horvitz

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Beethoven's Early Life

Ludwig van Beethoven was born on December 17, 1770 in Bonn, Germany. He had 6 siblings, but only 3 survived to adulthood. His mother's name was Maria, a gentle and loving woman. His father's name was Johann, a demanding and hard-drinking man who lacked great talent but still taught music to the children of nobility. Ever since he was a little boy, Beethoven had a love for music and could make a melodic sound out of anything, like window shutters. As a child, he was very serious and focused a lot on studying music with his father.
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Map of Austria in 1760

This is a map of Austria in 1760, just 10 years before Beethoven was born. Beethoven didn't stay in Bonn for too long because he moved to Vienna, Austria when he turned 17. Soon after, he went back to Germany for many tragic reasons; his mother died, his infant sister died, and his father lost his job (then died 5 years later) so Beethoven had to take care of his remaining family. Finally, he returned to Vienna for good. Beethoven had a very bad temper that changed very quickly, yet he had many friends like the composer Franz Joseph Haydn. He even met Mozart's rival, Antonio Salieri!
Beethoven Symphony No. 9 - Mvt. 4 - Barenboim/West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

Symphony No. 9

Symphony No. 9 is Beethoven's last and arguably his most famous symphony. It's different than the other 8 symphonies because of the voices he added to accompany the instruments. This is why it's named "Choral" by still referred to by a number like his other symphonies. By the time he composed this piece during 1822-1824, he was completely deaf and facing the last few years of his life. To hear what he was composing, Beethoven chopped off the legs of his 4 pianos and put their 'bodies' on the ground and felt the vibrations of the keys. He worked very hard when he composed music, rarely taking breaks to bathe, groom his body, or talk to his friends that stopped by his home.

Some of Beethoven's Other Pieces

  • 'Kreutzer' Violin Sonata
  • Symphonies #1-9
  • Moonlight Sonata
  • Appassionata
  • Für Elise
  • Emperor Sonata
  • Pathétique

Beethoven's Legacy

Beethoven's 5th and 9th symphony are his most famous and well-known pieces. The 5th symphony is featured in many movies and commercials, with a start almost everyone knows. At his funeral on March 29, 1827, 3 days after Beethoven died, over 20,000 people filled the streets to attend. He was blessed by 9 priests and burried in Vienna's Central Cemetary. Even when he went deaf and lost many relatives, Beethoven still composed some of the most famous pieces known today.

Works Cited

“Beethoven Symphony No. 9 - Mvt. 4 - Barenboim/West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.” YouTube. N.p., 24 Aug. 2012. Web. 23 May 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChygZLpJDNE>.


Ludwig van Beethoven portrait.. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 23 May 2016.

<http://quest.eb.com/search/113_913388/1/113_913388/cite>


Map of Germany. Illustration. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 23 May 2016.

<http://quest.eb.com/search/312_1014122/1/312_1014122/cite>


Rovi Staff. “Ludwig van Beethoven.” ALLMUSIC. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2016. <http://www.allmusic.com/artist/ludwig-van-beethoven-mn0000536126>.