About

Of course I meant about Beethoven…about me is HERE

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Ludwig van Beethoven was the grandson of a musician of Flemish origin who was also named Ludwig van Beethoven (1712–1773). As of 1733 the elder Ludwig had served as a bass singer in the court of the Elector of Cologne. He rose through the ranks of the musical establishment, eventually becoming Kapellmeister (music director). The elder Ludwig had one son, Johann van Beethoven (1740–1792), who worked as a tenor in the same musical establishment, also giving lessons on piano and violin to supplement his income.

Johann married Maria Magdalena Keverich in 1767; she was the daughter of Johann Heinrich Keverich, who had been the head chef at the court of the Archbishopric of Trier.

Beethoven was born of this marriage in Bonn in December 1770, and was baptized on 17 December 1770. Children of that era were usually baptized the day after birth, but there is no documentary evidence that this occurred in Beethoven’s case. It is known that his family and his teacher Johann Albrechtsberger celebrated his birthday on 16 December.
Thus, while the evidence supports the probability that 16 December 1770 was Beethoven’s date of birth, this cannot be stated with certainty. Of the seven children born to Johann Beethoven, only second-born Ludwig and two younger brothers survived infancy. Caspar Anton Carl was born in 1774, and Nikolaus Johann, the youngest, was born in 1776.

Beethoven’s first music teacher was his father. A traditional belief concerning Johann is that he was a harsh instructor, and that the child Beethoven, “made to stand at the keyboard, was often in tears”. Concerning this, the New Grove indicates that there is no solid documentation to support it, and asserts that “speculation and myth-making have both been productive.”

Beethoven had other local teachers as well: the court organist van den Eeden, Tobias Friedrich Pfeiffer (a family friend, who taught Beethoven piano), and a relative, Franz Rovantini (violin and viola). His musical talent manifested itself early—apparently he was advanced enough to perform at the age of nine, not seven as popularly believed. Johann, aware of Leopold Mozart‘s successes in this area, attempted unsuccessfully to exploit his son as a child prodigy. It was Johann who falsified Beethoven’s actual age (which was seven) for six on the posters for Beethoven’s first public performance in March 1778.

Some time after 1779, Beethoven began his studies with his most important teacher in Bonn, Christian Gottlob Neefe, who was appointed the Court’s Organist in that year. Neefe taught Beethoven composition, and by March 1783 had helped him write his first published composition: a set of keyboard variations (WoO 63). Beethoven soon began working with Neefe as assistant organist, first on an unpaid basis (1781), and then as paid employee (1784) of the court chapel conducted by the Kapellmeister Andrea Luchesi. His first three piano sonatas, named “Kurfürst” (“Elector”) for their dedication to the Elector Maximilian Frederick, were published in 1783. Maximilian Frederick, who died in 1784, not long after Beethoven’s appointment as assistant organist, had noticed Beethoven’s talent early, and had subsidized and encouraged the young Beethoven’s musical studies.

In 1787 another of Beethoven’s early patrons, Count Waldstein, enabled him to travel to Vienna for the first time, hoping to study with Mozart. Scholars disagree on the authenticity of a story whereby Beethoven is said to have played for Mozart and impressed him; see Mozart and Beethoven. After just two months in Vienna, Beethoven learned that his mother was severely ill, and he was forced to return home. His mother died shortly thereafter, and the father lapsed deeper into alcoholism. As a result, Beethoven became responsible for the care of his two younger brothers, and he spent the next five years in Bonn.

In 1789, he succeeded in obtaining a legal order by which half of his father’s salary was paid directly to him for support of the family. Another source of income was payment for Beethoven’s service as a violist in the court orchestra. This familiarized Beethoven with three of Mozart’s operas performed at court in this period.

Establishing his career in Vienna
With the Elector’s help, Beethoven moved again to Vienna in 1792. Beethoven did not immediately set out to establish himself as a composer, but rather devoted himself to study and to piano performance. Working under the direction of Joseph Haydn, he sought to master counterpoint, and he also took violin lessons.

With Haydn’s departure for England in 1794, Beethoven was expected by the Elector to return home. He chose instead to remain in Vienna, continuing the instruction in counterpoint with Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and other teachers. Although his stipend from the Elector expired, a number of Viennese noblemen had already recognized his ability and offered him financial support, among them Prince Joseph Franz Lobkowicz, Prince Karl Lichnowsky, and Baron Gottfried van Swieten.

By 1793, Beethoven established a reputation in Vienna as a piano virtuoso and improviser in the salons of the nobility, often playing the preludes and fugues of J. S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Beethoven’s first public performance in Vienna was in 1795, with his Second (or perhaps First) Piano Concerto. In the same year he saw the publication of the first of his compositions to which he assigned an opus number, the piano trios of Opus 1.

During his early career as a composer, Beethoven concentrated first on works for piano solo, then string quartets, symphonies, and other genres. This was a pattern he was to repeat in the “late” period of his career. Twelve of Beethoven’s famous series of 32 piano sonatas date from before 1802, and could be considered early-period works; of these, the most celebrated today is probably the “Pathétique”, Op. 13. The first six quartets were published as a set (Op. 18) in 1800, and the First and Second Symphonies premiered in 1800 and 1802. By 1800, with the premiere of his First Symphony, Beethoven was already considered one of the most important of a generation of young composers who followed after Haydn and Mozart.

All musical authorities agree that Beethoven’s early work was closely modeled on that of Haydn and Mozart. However, Beethoven’s own musical personality is still very much evident even at this stage. This is seen, for instance, in his frequent use of the musical dynamic sforzando, found even in the early “Kurfürst” sonatas for piano that Beethoven wrote as a child. Some of the longer piano sonatas of the 1790s are written in a rather discursive style quite unlike their models, making use of the so-called “three-key exposition”.

In this time he settled into a career pattern he would follow for the remainder of his life: rather than working for the church or a noble court (as most composers before him had done), he supported himself through a combination of annual stipends or single gifts from members of the aristocracy; income from subscription concerts, concerts, and lessons; and proceeds from sales of his works.

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