The German composer, pianist and conductor Ludwig van Beethoven is considered one of the most important musical creators of all times, since his works are central to the cultural field and have decisively influenced the development of contemporary art.
His legacy covers chronologically from Classicism to the beginnings of Romanticism, being the last great representative of Viennese classicism. His art was expressed in various genres and, although the symphonic was the main cause of his great international popularity, it also had a notable impact on the creation of works for piano and chamber music.
His catalog of compositions is made up of thirty-two piano sonatas, numerous chamber works (including the sixteen string quartets), concert and sacred pieces, lieder, incidental and orchestral music, in which his Nine Symphonies occupy a prominent place.
This immortal genius - 250 years after his birth - continues to arouse great interest in the most diverse audiences, not only for the music he gave us from his wonderful compositional intelligence, but also for his attractive and interesting biography.
Let us know some of these biographical data that marked the life of this great composer and through them we can better understand his personality and creative work.
His famous deafness
Much has been written about Beethoven's deafness by biographers, musicologists, art specialists, writers and men of letters. However, no one really knows why he became deaf. What we do know is that he began to lose his hearing when he was only 26 years old, at the peak of his career, and that he was completely deaf at the time of his death.
When he was in his twenties, a horrible earache presaged the worst. Doctors told him that he would lose his hearing. In 1814 he became deaf, which for any other composer would have been the end of his career. But not for him, as he had a lot of music in his head to write about and decided to continue.
What happened? He suffered from a severe form of tinnitus, meaning that he heard a significant "buzzing" in his ear. At 46 he became completely deaf. An autopsy after his death in 1827 concluded that he had a "distended inner ear" that caused lesions over time. It affected his left ear first and then spread to both.
A Life Full of Disease
Since childhood and accentuated with adulthood, the German composer suffered from a variety of diseases such as colitis, rheumatism, rheumatic fever, typhus, skin disorders, abscesses, a series of infections, ophthalmia, inflammatory degeneration of the arteries, jaundice, chronic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis. Quite an ordeal for the creator who was managing and overcoming this very fragile health over the years.
He was very extravagant in his habits and customs. Although he bathed regularly, he had a habit of putting dirty clothes back on after he cleaned up. Similarly, he would put a pot under the piano that he did not empty regularly and would leave dishes with food scraps all over the house. He also threw food out the window or smashed it against the wall when something he didn't like or wasn't properly prepared. He had a great fondness for fish and when he felt sympathy for someone he would invite them to eat this delicacy.
Beethoven: a musical revolution
His desire to achieve perfection was such that he revised and corrected his pieces countless times until late at night. In his desire to innovate he achieved important contributions such as the integration, for the first time, of a choir into his Ninth Symphony.
In addition, his dramatic and short compositions were very transcendental as evidenced by the opening of his famous Fifth Symphony. Another example is that before him most piano concertos lasted 20-30 minutes, however, The Emperor lasts 40 minutes.
He was different, original, complex and always refused to adapt to the established rules. There was a before and after in music thanks to Beethoven.
Twelve famous phrases by Ludwig van Beethoven
1. Genius is made up of two percent talent and ninety-eight percent persevering effort.
2. Barriers have not yet been raised that say to the genius, "You shall not pass from here."
3. Act instead of begging. Sacrifice yourself without hope of glory or reward!
4. If you want to know the miracles, do them yourself first. Only in this way you’re your peculiar destiny can be fulfilled.
5. Do what is necessary to achieve your most burning desire, and you will end up achieving it.
6. Never break the silence if not to improve it.
7. There is nothing better or more beautiful than making other men happy.
8. There are moments when it seems to me that language still serves absolutely no purpose.
9. An affable word does not make you lose anything.
10. Music should make blood flow from the heart of men, and tears from the eyes of women.
11. Recommend your children to be virtuous; only virtue can bring happiness, not money.
12. Music is a higher revelation than any philosophy.
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