Ludwig Van Beethoven

Symphony #1 in C Major Op. 21

The Life of Beethoven

In the Beginning

Ludwig Van Beethoven, born to Johann and Maria Beethoven was a star during his lifetime. He was born in Bonn, Germany around December 16, 1770- March 26, 1827, though whenever he was asked he would claim he was born in 1771, even after being shown his birth certificate. The only musician to gain an aristocratic status, Beethoven had a rough childhood. Beethoven is the third Ludwig Van Beethoven in his family. First his Grandfather, then his older brother who died six days after his birth, and last but not least him. His father was also a musician but he was a drunkard too. He performed his first concert at the age of 7&1/2 though his father said he was 6.


His Childhood

He grew up in Bonn and went to school till he was 11, but by the time he dropped out he was still horrible at mathematics. He father saw that he had talent and fell in love with the idea of Beethoven becoming the next Mozart, so he taught he music, beating Beethoven whenever he played a wrong note. He learned how to play the violin, piano and organ. He taught music to earn money for his family but he hated doing it. He only like giving lessons to people with great talent or beautiful young ladies with whatever talent.


Early Youth

When Beethoven turned 22, he moved to Vienna where he started to played concerts more in the public. He created his music for others to enjoy, not just the aristocratic but also the public. When he created music he was a rebel, he didn't like and therefore didn't follow the rules of his era. He thought them to restrictive to his free spirit. He often wrote love letters and compositions for women he liked. For example, he wrote Fur Elise for a woman he liked. Did you know a woman Beethoven had once courted called him " ugly and half crazy."


As a Student

Beethoven was a known and famous procrastinator, in fact one concert morning he just finished writing the part, and they played it that morning before the ink had dried on the paper. He was a master at the keyboard interpretations. He was very temperamental but he was also a kind man. He hated being under Haydn's shadow as a student because he feared other would think it would corrupt his individuality. He wrote 9 major symphonies, that he is famous for.

Discussion of the Musical Era

This era, which was from 1750-1820, was an era of a mixture of light and simple harmonies, with rhythmic energy and drive. The music became lighter with more graceful changes in music and strong themes. The era was the era of elegance and formality, filled with careful attention restraint and form. This era was also the era that symphonies became famous. The string quartet became more popular and it was all to please their employers- the royalty.


Beethoven's music was very different from what the era dictated. He's music was often louder and more complex than the other of his era. His music was written filled with emotions, which was vastly different from what the classical era was written to be. Classical music was meant to reflect the ideas of reason, nature, and morality. While he had some of this characteristics in his music, his music was still considered to be the beginning of the romantic period.

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Beethoven's Symphony # 1

Beethoven's symphony # 1 in C Major- 1st movement was the first symphony he had ever written. It took him 1 year and several variables of the piece to get it to be acceptable to him. He dedicated his symphony to Baron Gottfried Van Swieten who was a patron and supporter to Beethoven. He was a mediocre Composer and he wrote 10 symphonies of which only seven survived. He isn't one of the more well known composers so it is seldom that his music will be played. Baron Swieten was an idol to young Beethoven.


The song its self was about half an hour long and it had 4 movements. The song was indebted to Haydn and Mozart but still had the hall-markings of Beethoven. There are typically 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in c, 2 bassoons, 2 horns ( one in c, the other in f), 2 trumpets in c, a timpani ( kettle drums ),and strings. Strings are typically composed of violins 1&2, violas, cellos, and double basses/ basses. The concert it self had a piece from Mozart and two pieces form Haydn.

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My Interpretation

Beethoven's first symphony is a beautiful and mysterious piece. It starts off piano then crescendos, going back and forth. His music is symphonic and light but also sometimes moody and heavy. The song is a mixed melodically harmonized symphony,with a lot of Beethoven's own unity, and scales mixed in. The first symphony of Beethoven is a complete masterpiece. Beethoven added a lot of surprises and 'wrong notes' in the song.
Beethoven - Symphony No 1 in C major, Op 21 - Thielemann