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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Music
  • Essay length: 756 words

Ludwig Van Beethoven.

Extracts from this essay...


LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Ludwig Van Beethoven was born in Bonn, and was baptized on the 17th December 1770, and he was a German composer of the 18th century. He studied first wth his father, Johann, a singer and instrumentalist, but mainly with C.G. Neefe, a court organist. At 11 and a half, he was able to 'stand in' for Neefe; at 12 he'd had some music published. In 1787, he went to Vienna, but quickly returned when he heard that his mother was dying. Five years later he went back to Vienna, where he settled. Beethoven's public debut was in 1795; about the same time his first important publications appeared, where he performed three piano trios and three piano sonatas. As a pianist, it was reported, he had 'fire, brilliance and fantasy as well as depth and feeling'.


This piece of music has a story not only of freedom, justice and heroism, but also of married love, and in the character of the heroine Leonore, Beethoven's patronizing, idealized image of women is shown. He did not find it in real life, he fell in love several times. Usually this would be with noble pupils (some of them married), and each time he was either rejected or saw that the woman did not live up to what he wanted. In 1812, however, he wrote a passionate love letter to an 'Eternally Beloved' (probably Antonie Brentano, a Viennese married to a Frankfurt businessman), but it is most likely that the letter was never sent. With his powerful 'middle period' works, including the Pastoral Symphony, which showed his feelings about how much he loved the countryside, and the Violin Concerto, as well as more chamber works and piano sonatas (such as the Waldstein and the Appassionata)


But he came out of these trials to write some of his deepest and most serious music, which surely reflects something of what he had been through. There are seven piano sonatas in this, his 'late period', including the turbulent Hammerklavier, with it's very dynamic writing. Musical taste in Vienna had changed during the first decades of the 19th century; the public became mainly interested in light Italian opera (especially Rossini) and easygoing chamber music. Despite all of this, the Vienneses were very much aware of Beethoven's greatness: they applauded the Choral Symphony even though they found it difficult to understand. His reputation went far beyond Vienna: the late Mass was first heard in St. Petersburg, and the initial compensation that produced the Choral Symphony had come from the Philharmonic Society of London. Early in 1827, when Beethoven died, 10, 000 people are said to have attended the funeral. He had become a public figure, as no composer had done before.

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