Ludwig Van Beethoven 1770 1827 English Literature Essay
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Amanda Cook 0280245
Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, in December 1770, into a family of musicians. He was named after his grandfather, who was Flemish, who settled in Bonn, 1732.
Beethoven’s father, Johann, wasn’t a positive influence on his son’s education. It wasn’t until he married Maria-Magdalena Kewerich, in 1767. She was a 19- year old widow and the daughter of a chief cook at the Coblenz Court. She was one of the most influential figures of Beethoven’s childhood.
When Ludwig turned five, the family moved to Rhine Street, where the house’s right bank revealed small villages, and seven mountains. This is where Ludwig was completely captured in the beauty of the land. He was sometimes captivated in a deep meditation on looking the marvelous river.
Even as a young child Ludwig stood apart through a rare introvert nature, but he was a vigorous child not much different from other youngsters of his age.
He went to primary school, until the age ten, gaining little knowledge. He couldn’t further his schooling because of hid families poor financial status. By the age of twelve Beethoven’s studies lacked any systematic organization.
In March 1778, Ludwig was eight years old, when Johann forced him to hold his first concert in Kolen.
Beethoven finds his first real teacher in 1782, Christian-Gottlob Neefe, the musical director of the National Theatre in Bonn. Neefe became a true mentor for Beethoven, showing him the advanced ideas of his century.
After leaving Bonn, Beethoven reached Vienna, ready to make a new life for himself. It took him about three months to get settled and the lessons with Haydn began. The lessons lasted just over a year, and were finished once the latter left for London. It seems that their relationship started out as affectionate, but diminished the quality of their lessons.
Beethoven, quickly managed to make his name known in the musical circles (within the first years in Vienna). He frequently held concerts for the nobility of the time. After finishing his lessons with Haydn, he started to study with Johann Schenk, Alois Foster, Johann-Georg Allbrechtsberger, and Antonio Salieri, with whom he was friends. Beethoven, the student, was Vienna’s greatest pedagogues at that time.
Mozart and Hayden where his utmost predecessors, served as an epitome of creative work in the new development of Classicism. Allbrechtsberger thoroughly taught him the art of counterpoint, which gave Beethoven his glory. Salieri taught the young Beethoven the artistic matters of musical tragedy. Alois Foster taught him the talent of composition with quartets. Beethoven voraciously absorbed not only the radical music of his time, but also the lushest inventive experience of the well-educated contemporary composers.
Beethoven became more famous by the day. On March 29th -30th, 1795, Beethoven was invited to his first "Academy"- it was a charity event for all the orphans and widows of musicians. Despite the tense relationship between Beethoven and Hayden, Beethoven was invited to Hayden’s "Academy", December 16th, 1795.
During the same time period, Beethoven had the pleasure of yet another victory. Vienna’s most acclaimed composers wrote dances for the artist’s annual ball the waltz, ecossaise, German dances, quadrille, minuet, etc. The dances of Hayden, Kozeluch, Dittersdorf, and others were fruitful, but never performed twice. Beethoven’s dances, written in 1795, were very much cherished- after two years they were echoed with the same achievement, and they were even printed in transcripts for piano.
Beethoven went on tour in Prague and Berlin, in February 1796, accompanied by Price Linhnowsky. He was very efficacious in both cities, holding a concert in Prague, and appeared in public twice having two piano concertos (op.15 and op.19). Beethoven was favorite among Vienna’s musical life and all of the German countries. The only one who could compete with Beethoven, the pianist, was Joseph Wolffl, Mozart’s student. Unrivaled clarity and precision, serenity, grace, beautiful, modest richness, technical excellence, and lack of "romantic fantasies", they all made Wolffl’s truly extraordinary. However, Beethoven was still exclusive because he was not only a gifted pianist, but also a genius when it came to creating music.
Beethoven created various works within the span of five years, (1795-1799). The most important of them were piano sonatas and extraordinary string quartets, (op.18) and Symphony no.1. These works promoted a whole new instrumental style.
Beethoven had reached full artistic maturity in the period between 1805-1815. This is when he wrote many of his valuable works: Symphony IV, Symphony no.5, Symphony no.7, numerous piano (op.78, 79, 81), overtures and quartets.
In 1806, was when Beethoven’s deafness set in, saying "May your deafness not to be a secret, not even where art is concerned."
Beethoven looked continuously for love and happiness or without much success, however. He was captivated for many years by a countess Josephine Deym. This young widow was Giulietta’s cousin and the sister of Franz and Therese Brunswick. Josephine took piano lessons for a while, and was a good singer too. Beethoven shared his most intimate thoughts with her. In 1805, the relationship ended, perhaps because her family wouldn’t have her marry Beethoven.
In the period between 1806-1809 a close relationship between Beethoven and Therese Brunswick had developed. No one to this day really knows the nature of their relationship. However, it is certain that Therese was remarkably devoted to Beethoven her whole life, and even for a little while shared with him passionate feelings. Love never brought Beethoven long lasting happiness. After being rejected, he started thinking about moving to another city.
In the fall of 1808, Beethoven was offered a position at the court of Jerome Bonaparte, the king of Westphalia, as the chapel maestro. His revulsion towards Vienna and the substantial financial advantages promised at Kassel, single-minded Beethoven to agree to take the position. Vienna pledged to pay a pension of four thousand florins a year, to have Beethoven to accept the position. Beethoven did accept the position and stayed in Vienna, but the pension was irregular from the beginning and came to an end in September 1811. In 1815, Beethoven finally received a large amount of money, which covered all his debts. This period was somewhat fruitful since he obtained some money through selling his author’s rights to the editors.
In the spring of 1809, Beethoven, the forty-year old composer, fell head over heels in love with a beautiful eighteen-year old student named, Therese Malfatti. He was so confident in his future with this young lady, Beethoven even considered the thought of marriage. That dream never came true. In fact, Therese’s father threw a house party for his business partners and acquaintances, Beethoven was invited to the Malfatti household. Beethoven wanted to take this opportunity to propose marriage that night after playing a bagatelle he had composed especially for her. Regrettably he got so drunk that night he was unable to play or propose. He only was able to write Therese’s name on the title page of the bagatelle. When the manuscript was found it was published, it was so illegible that it became "Fur Elise."
Beethoven struggled with the wife of his brother Karl Kaspar, who died in late 1815, for twelve years, for the custody of their son Karl. This child was very gifted but caused Beethoven many troubles. Apparently Karl had two major problems; he was lethargic and deceitful. This fight with Johann, Karl’s wife, went on for five years, in the end Beethoven gained full custody of Karl.
Another event of importance during this period was Beethoven’s grand "Academy", in which Symphony no.9 and three movements of the infamous Missa Solemnis were first performed. The "Academy" resided on May 7, 1824 at the Karntnertor Theatre and was reiterated on May 23, in the great hall of the Fort. The composer was Umlauf; Beethoven gave all the tempos; at the beginning of each part, while sitting on the stage. It was so successful, despite the obvious negligence of the interpreters. Beethoven’s compositions left haunting impact on the audience. Two famous young singers: Henriette Sonntag and Caroline Unger, sang the soprano and alto parts.
At the end of the performance, Beethoven received standing ovations. He had his back to the audience, in deep thought caused by his deafness and couldn’t see the audience. Caroline Unger took Beethoven’s hand and turned him facing the audience. They applauded him through standing ovations five times; there were handkerchiefs, hats, and raised hands in the air, so that Beethoven could then see the ovation gestures. The theatre house had never seem such enthusiasm from an audience before, police agents were present to break off this spontaneous explosion of ovations. Beethoven was deeply touched when he left the concert.
Beethoven had practically no financial gain as a result of his success. All of his hard earned money went to his health treatments, and the raising of his nephew.
Beethoven medical condition worsened, in the beginning of 1826, when his nephew Karl attempted suicide as a result of his outstanding gambling debts. Beethoven never recovered from this absurd blow, aging him even more. Beethoven decided that he couldn’t handle raising Karl by himself, so he asked his brother, Johann, to promise that after his death, he would take care of his nephew.
Beethoven’s physical state was more appalling; at night were he suffered from insomnia and depression, in the silent world he lived.
Just before Beethoven’s death he received a large amount of money from the London Philharmonic Society at the involvement of his student Moscheles. Meanwhile Beethoven could buy his favorite food and get a comfortable armchair. Before that he would deny himself even the basic necessities he needed, so not to touch the stock he wanted to leave as inheritance to his nephew Karl. Beethoven was very pleased upon receiving this gift and he still prayed that he could somehow return the favor.
In his last letter to Moscheles, he vowed to offer the Philharmonic Society a new symphony.
In Heiligenstadt, a Vienna suburb, October 1802, a testament like document was found in Beethoven’s room after his death. Beethoven resided for half a year, at the indications of his doctor. The testament was addressed to Beethoven’s brothers, Karl and Johann, with the declared to be read and executed after his death.
While in Heiligenstadt, Beethoven loved taking long strolls in the surrounding forests. Nature was Beethoven’s escape from the agitation of the city and relax in a peaceful atmosphere of the countryside.
During Beethoven life, the testament was unknown to everyone but, himself, as many discovered. It was the last letter he wrote while dying or, even worse, trying to commit suicide. By reading the testament, we find how Beethoven rejects the thought of suicide as an option for a man of art such as himself. In his written testimonial also proved the fact that there were six years passed since he had first experienced the hearing problems that left him to live such a lonely, solitary life as far away from people as possible.
The year 1802 marked the terminating point of Beethoven’s catastrophe. He was so in love with a young lady named, Giullieta Guicciardi, he felt he was loved back, but at the end of the year, their relationship went cold, which made Beethoven enter a deep dark depressive state. On October 10th, Beethoven advertises the disbelief in any chance of his health condition improving. Beethoven’s strong character overcomes this frantic state of mind. After the completion of the Heiligenstadt Testament, Beethoven starts work on the Symphony no.3, Eroica.
The musical facts Beethoven developed and interpreted, together with a supreme capacity to constantly work, make him one of the most knowledgeable composers of his time.