Ludwig van Beethoven

(1770-1827)


Country: Germany

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German pianist and is regarded as one of the greatest composers of European music. He was born in Bonn, and his father, Johann van Beethoven, also a musician, recognised the child's musical talents at a young age. After his father's initial harsh musical tuition, Beethoven was educated by the composer and conductor Christian Gottlob Neefe, and published his first work, a set of keyboard variations, when he was just 13 years of age.

In 1891, Beethoven was enabled by his friend and benefactor, Count Ferdinand von Waldstein, to move to Vienna where he studied music composition with Joseph Haydn. Of Beethoven's move the Count said:

̏With the help of assiduous labour you shall receive Mozart’s spirit from Haydn’s hands.̋

Ludwig van Beethoven's piano virtuosity soon brought him to the attention of Karl Alois, Prince Lichnowsky, who was a noted Austrian patron of music; the result was Beethoven's three Opus 1 piano trios in 1795.

His First Symphony, a major orchestral work appeared in 1800, with a set of string quartets following a year later. Beethoven's hearing began to deteriorate in the early 1800s, however, he still was able to conduct his Third and Fifth Symphonies in 1804 and 1808, respectively. By 1814 his deafness was debilitating to the degree that he finally quit performing in public.

Beethoven is remembered for being a pivotal figure in the transition from 18th century classicism to 19th century romanticism. When NASA sent out the 2 Voyager missions into outer space both spacecraft contained phonographs known as the Voyager Golden Record; Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, and his String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major both appear on the recordings.

Free sheet music by Ludwig van Beethoven

Sonatine