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Life of Beethoven : 

Life of Beethoven By: Nicholas Cheung Date: December 12, 2010 Click screen to continue

Beethoven’s Early Life : 

Beethoven’s Early Life Ludwig van Beethoven was born on December 17, 1770. He is one of the well-known pianists and composers of all time. He was a composer of the Classical Era. His father and grandfather were both musicians, so it was inevitable that Ludwig van Beethoven would be one as well. However, as great a musician Beethoven was, he still suffered. One of the biggest crises Beethoven had occurred later in his life: he was gradually going deaf. Click screen to continue

Beethoven’s Deafness : 

Beethoven’s Deafness Beethoven’s first signs of deafness appeared in August 1796. Occasionally he would find it a bit hard to hear. However, in 1801, he started hearing buzzing sounds. It was quite clear to him that there was something wrong with his ears. In 1802, the gradual deterioration of his hearing made set off a chain of events that led to his depression. Afterwards, he developed a digestive disease 1804, which complicated his hearing and depression problems. Being a composer and musician, loss of hearing is very devastating so he sought to have surgery to try to resolve it. He had another serious intestinal issue in 1813. And finally, in January of 1815, he made his last public performance as a pianist. Click screen to continue

Beethoven’s Ear Trumpets : 

In 1816, Beethoven was able to prolong his hearing with the assistance of ear trumpets, made by Malzel. Ear trumpets are what appears to be a very large collar coated with a thin metallic layer. The trumpet works by the sounds vibrating the metal and funneling it to the ear. However, ear trumpets can only aid the condition and does not stop the deterioration of the hearing. In 1823, it came to a point when he was almost totally deaf,. Nothing more could be heard. From 1818 to 1827, he used conversation books to keep records. Some of these conversation books were saved and were part of the key to solving the reasons as to why Beethoven became deaf. However, being that the person talking to Beethoven isn’t deaf, Beethoven’s response isn’t always written, as he was able to reply verbally. During this period, in 1824-1825, he received intestinal treatment and recovered in July of 1825. In 1826, he had developed cirrhosis and dropsy. It was because of pneumonia that he died on March 26, 1827. Beethoven’s Ear Trumpets Click screen to continue

Beethoven’s Letters : 

Beethoven’s Letters During his life, Beethoven wrote many letters, which provided researchers with an abundance of information about his life. He was extremely suicidal by the turn of the 19th Century. He was frustrated for two years because his refusal to disclose to people that he was deaf. In spite of that, in 1800, he completed six string quartets: Op. 18, his first symphony, and third piano concerto. In 1801, he created Creations of Promethous, string quintet, two violin sonatas, and four piano sonatas. Many speculated that his condition inspired his creativity and productivity. Click screen to continue

Beethoven in Czech : 

Beethoven in Czech In the summer of 1812, Beethoven’s, doctor advised him to go to the Czech resort, Teplitz. Even though the summer spent here didn’t have any positive therapeutic affect on his state of health, it was very fruitful in memorable and interesting encounters. It was during the summer of 1812 when Beethoven wrote several mysterious love letters. They were called “Immortal Beloved Letters.” No one knows for whom the letters were written. The tone of each letter has a hopeful and joyful tone, although with somber words. It could be possible he was desperately in love with her. Looking at three of these letters, It is possible that some songs could have been written for a secret love since many composers have done it before and after him. Click screen to continue

Beethoven in 1802 : 

Beethoven in 1802 His deafness was, however, one of the main influences of his change of style in music. It was said that his despair and loss of hearing caused his style to change. Beethoven wrote “Heiligenstadt Testament” which was a letter to his brothers telling them that he was contemplating suicide. He wrote it in October 1802, around the time when the deterioration of his hearing became quite obvious and undeniable. A few people said that he wasn’t able to hear dissonant harmonies in some of his later pieces. Barbieri of the American Beethoven Society says “It is now accepted that his deafness advanced slowly and erratically. Too slowly and erratically to influence in the music itself, EXCEPT in the "arguments" of certain pieces of music.” This implies that his style of composed music has not changed too much in a five year span. It is however possible for his compositions to have started morphing around 1802, when his hearing crisis started. She says “His originality both as a man and as a musician, was enforced by deafness but not determined by it. I am sure of that.” She says that his originality was already there with Beethoven to begin with, but he became better at composing his own work when he became deaf. Click screen to continue

Symphony No.3 “Eroica” : 

Symphony No.3 “Eroica” One of the pieces composed by Beethoven post-crisis was “Eroica” also known as Symphony No. 3. It was in E flat Major. It has four sections. It was originally meant to be dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte for his victories in the Napoleonic Wars. However, after Napoleon declared himself emperor, Beethoven changed his mind (that is a bit of an understatement; he ripped off the original title.) The second section changes to C-minor. C minor is a very special key to Beethoven, and E-flat being a relative major to C-minor, this piece bears the characteristics of Beethoven himself. Click screen to continue

True art never really goes away : 

True art never really goes away In 1816, Beethoven said “Live only for your art, for so you are limited by your senses.” What that means is that true art never really goes away. If you are alive for your art, and your senses disappear, that does not mean your art disappears. Music could be engraved in your subconscious. Beethoven demonstrates this, along with the power to overcome his handicap and became one of the best composers of the world. In 1817, although his hearing had totally disappeared, he was still able to create music, such as his Piano Sonata No 2 Op. 111 in 1822. It only had two sections, and when asked about it, Beethoven said “I didn’t have time to write a third movement.” It was in C minor, but after listening to it and comparing it to his pieces pre-crisis, mid-crisis, and post-crisis, this one appears to have the most dissonant tones. The first movement especially sounds violent. However, the style is the same when compared to the Pathetique set and Third Symphony. The only difference is that this piece has many more interruptions and demonstrates a more hectic side to C minor in the first section. Listening to the middle and comparing it to his previous works makes it seem like Beethoven didn’t go deaf at all, but merely gained many ideas on how to express his music more comprehensively. Therefore, Beethoven’s deafness only enhanced his ability to become a better composer. Click screen to continue

Beethoven’s Bibliography: : 

Beethoven’s Bibliography: Click screen to continue

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