Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ludwig van Beethoven: Storm and Stress, Part 3

          In our first and second posts on Ludwig van Beethoven we looked at his early life and music. We will now look at the big changes that would await him in his later years as well as some of his most famous works.

Big Changes
          In April 1800, Ludwig rented a concert hall and performed some of Mozart’s and Haydn’s pieces. He also played a few of his own newly composed. The concert didn’t really turn out well, mostly because the orchestra didn't follow the soloist.
          Around this time, Ludwig began giving music lessons to the daughters of Countess Anna Brunsvik. He fell in love with the younger daughter, Josephine. But since she was the daughter of a countess, and he was only a poor composer, she married off to someone else soon after he began giving her lessons. Beethoven was  very picky about the students that he took on and, at the same time, very dedicated to those he accepted. One of the most famous were Carl Czerny who later taught Franz Lizst.

           The next few years were a bit more prosperous for Ludwig mostly due to the fact that his brother came and helped him manage his money and sell his music.

           But, at age 26, Ludwig tragically began to lose his hearing. He suffered from a ringing in his ears that eventually made him completely deaf. So little by little he could not hear the music he composed. Ludwig also suffered from stomach pain all his life. He moved to a small country town outside Vienna hoping that it  would help his health, which led him to become very depressed during this time. He didn’t want to keep on living, but he wrote a letter to his brothers saying that he would continue to live for and through music.

           When Ludwig returned to Vienna, he began composing more heroic, grand pieces, like his Fifth Symphony. He was very ill at different times during this period. He was also nursing his brother through tuberculosis and taking care of his family, which took a great deal of his money.

His Final Years           

          When his brother died, he fought his nephew’s mother for guardianship of his nephew, because Ludwig thought he could take better care of him. (This nephew’s mother was, among other things, a convicted thief, so it’s no wonder Ludwig didn’t trust her.) During the last years of his life, he tried to control his nephew’s life, but it didn’t turn out very well.

          He wrote his Ninth Symphony in those last years. At the time, he had begun studying older pieces of music in depth – mostly music by Handel and J. S. Bach. But his health was getting worse and worse, and on March 26, 1827, Ludwig died at age 56. The story goes that there was a huge clap of thunder, and the dying man sat up in bed and shook his fist at the thunder, defying nature even as he died.

          Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the most famous composers of all time. Some of his well-known pieces include the MoonlightSonata, the Ninth Symphony, Fur Elise, and the Pathetique sonata. He also wrote one opera, called Fidelio

          Beethoven is an important composer because he helped usher music into its next stage, the Romantic era, by writing powerful, grand pieces. So, he is famous as both a classical and a romantic composer. His life was full of trouble and sickness, but he refused to let that stop him from writing his music. His music is sometimes grand and exciting, and at other times it is soft and sensitive. No one can deny that he is one of the best composers that has ever lived.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Now it's your turn, what do you think?