Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist and is considered one of the greatest musicians of all time. His work represents the classical music genre better than any other artist ever and he achieved great popularity during his time in the 1800s.
Beethoven’s last words were “Pity, pity — too late!” He spoke these words in response to receiving bottles of wine from his publisher as he lay dying.
Beethoven’s life and groundbreaking work have been celebrated long after his passing.
Ludwig van Beethoven was born on December 17, 1770, in Bonn, Germany. His father was Johann van Beethoven and his mother was Maria Magdalena Keverich.
Of the seven children born to Johann and Maria, only Ludwig and two of his younger brothers survived their first years of life.
At a young age, Ludwig was taught music by his father, who was also an experienced musician. Many in Ludwig’s family were musicians including his grandfather, after whom he was named.
Other local teachers would soon instruct Ludwig on how to play music. His musical schooling schedule was harsh and very hard on the young Ludwig.
It has been stated that Ludwig’s father wanted his son to become a musical prodigy and that he was intent on him being a major talent. He drove his son to work extra hard to the point of exhaustion often.
The family’s financial standing started to waver in the 1770s after the death of Ludwig’s grandfather. His dad was also suffering some severe alcoholism and the family became much poorer during those years.
Ludwig’s dad became more and more violent at that time and abused his young song, flogging him daily. Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons why Beethoven ended up being such a rigorous and strict musician.
Beethoven was an average student and no one knew the potential he had in him, especially in regards to his musical talent. However, at the age of 10, he quit school to focus on music full-time.
At the age of 12, Ludwig published his first composition.
In 1790, the 19-year-old Ludwig composed a musical memorial for the death of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II.
The young composer moved to Vienna to dedicate himself full time to creating music and studying piano even more. He was not yet known as an established composer but was soon building a reputation for himself among other musicians as a hard-working and talented young man.
Ludwig made his public debate in Vienna on March 29, 1795. Shortly thereafter, he published a series of three piano trios as his Opus 1. They proved to be a major financial and critical success.
After that, multiple major hits gained him popularity throughout the region. The turn of the century saw him become one of the biggest names in music and one who was gaining enormous popularity for his work.
Despite becoming incredibly famous in his lifetime, Ludwig was painfully shy and frequently lonely too. He was known to be fairly unhappy for most of his life, something that was perhaps passed down to him from his angry father.
He was known to have a quick temper and argued with many people close to him, including friends and family.
One of the most surprising facts about Beethoven was that as his career was blossoming, he was losing his hearing. The musician started going deaf at the age of 26.
His failing hearing only drove Beethoven into deeper depression yet he continued to produce incredible work at a fast pace. His “heroic” period, which took place from 1803 to 1812, saw the composer creating an opera, six symphonies, five string quartets, six-string sonatas, and much, much more.
Illness and Death
Ludwig van Beethoven grew ill as he entered his fifties, despite being at the height of his popularity.
In 1826, the composer experienced a great illness that would lead to his passing. He began to suffer from vomiting and diarrhea and his doctors ran a series of tests on him.
The doctors attempted to relieve the pain and the suffering and alleviate the symptoms but Ludwig grew worse and worse.
On March 26, 1827, he was given his last rites and slipped into unconsciousness. The famed composer died later that evening.
It is unknown who surrounded him at the time of his passing but some sources say his brother Johann and some friends were at hand.
Beethoven had achieved great success in his life and his career was one that could not be rivaled.