The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven (Volume 1 of 3)

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Introduction

By the end of , Beethoven and his music were already much in demand from patrons and publishers. Shortly after these lessons, Josephine was married to Count Josef Deym. Beethoven was a regular visitor at their house, continuing to teach Josephine, and playing at parties and concerts. Her relationship with Beethoven intensified after Deym died suddenly in Beethoven had few other students. From to , he tutored Ferdinand Ries, who went on to become a composer and later wrote Beethoven remembered , a book about their encounters.

The young Carl Czerny studied with Beethoven from to The work received numerous performances in and , and Beethoven rushed to publish a piano arrangement to capitalize on its early popularity. In the spring of he completed the Second Symphony, intended for performance at a concert that was canceled. The symphony received its premiere instead at a subscription concert in April at the Theater an der Wien, where Beethoven had been appointed composer in residence. Reviews were mixed, but the concert was a financial success; Beethoven was able to charge three times the cost of a typical concert ticket.

Beethoven acceded to these requests, as he could not prevent publishers from hiring others to do similar arrangements of his works.

Around , by the age of twenty-six, Beethoven began to lose his hearing. As early as , Beethoven wrote to friends describing his symptoms and the difficulties they caused in both professional and social settings although it is likely some of his close friends were already aware of the problems. Beethoven, on the advice of his doctor, lived in the small Austrian town of Heiligenstadt, just outside Vienna, from April to October in an attempt to come to terms with his condition.

There he wrote his Heiligenstadt Testament, a letter to his brothers which records his thoughts of suicide due to his growing deafness and records his resolution to continue living for and through his art. Over time, his hearing loss became profound: at the end of the premiere of his Ninth Symphony in , he had to be turned around to see the tumultuous applause of the audience because he could hear neither it nor the orchestra.

After a failed attempt in to perform his own Piano Concerto No. Despite his obvious distress, Czerny remarked that Beethoven could still hear speech and music normally until Used primarily in the last ten or so years of his life, his friends wrote in these books so that he could know what they were saying, and he then responded either orally or in the book. While Beethoven earned income from publication of his works and from public performances, he also depended on the generosity of patrons for income, for whom he gave private performances and copies of works they commissioned for an exclusive period prior to their publication.

Some of his early patrons, including Prince Lobkowitz and Prince Lichnowsky, gave him annual stipends in addition to commissioning works and purchasing published works.

The cleric Cardinal-Priest and the composer became friends, and their meetings continued until Rudolph, in turn, dedicated one of his own compositions to Beethoven. The letters Beethoven wrote to Rudolph are today kept at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. Only Archduke Rudolph paid his share of the pension on the agreed date. Kinsky, immediately called to military duty, did not contribute and soon died after falling from his horse.

Lobkowitz stopped paying in September No successors came forward to continue the patronage, and Beethoven relied mostly on selling composition rights and a small pension after The effects of these financial arrangements were undermined to some extent by war with France, which caused significant inflation when the government printed money to fund its war efforts. From now on I intend to take a new way. The first major work employing this new style was the Third Symphony in E flat, known as the Eroica.

This work was longer and larger in scope than any previous symphony.

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When it premiered in early it received a mixed reception. Some listeners objected to its length or misunderstood its structure, while others viewed it as a masterpiece. The term is more frequently used as an alternative name for the middle period. Some of the middle period works extend the musical language Beethoven had inherited from Haydn and Mozart. His position at the Theater an der Wien was terminated when the theater changed management in early , and he was forced to move temporarily to the suburbs of Vienna with his friend Stephan von Breuning.

This slowed work on Fidelio , his largest work to date, for a time. It was delayed again by the Austrian censor, and finally premiered in November to houses that were nearly empty because of the French occupation of the city. In addition to being a financial failure, this version of Fidelio was also a critical failure, and Beethoven began revising it.

The work of the middle period established Beethoven as a master. In a review from , he was enshrined by E. Beethoven mentions his love for Julie in a November letter to his boyhood friend, Franz Wegeler, but he could not consider marrying her, due to the class difference. Beethoven later dedicated to her his Sonata No. His relationship with Josephine Brunsvik deepened after the death in of her aristocratic first husband, the Count Joseph Deym. Although his feelings were obviously reciprocated, Josephine was forced by her family to withdraw from him in In the spring of Beethoven became seriously ill, suffering headaches and high fever.

On the advice of his doctor, he spent six weeks in the Bohemian spa town of Teplitz. The following winter, which was dominated by work on the Seventh symphony, he was again ill, and his doctor ordered him to spend the summer of at the spa Teplitz. Beethoven visited his brother Johann at the end of October He was unable to convince Johann to end the relationship and appealed to the local civic and religious authorities. In early Beethoven apparently went through a difficult emotional period, and his compositional output dropped. His personal appearance degraded—it had generally been neat—as did his manners in public, especially when dining.

Beethoven took care of his brother who was suffering from tuberculosis and his family, an expense that he claimed left him penniless. The work was a popular hit, probably because of its programmatic style, which was entertaining and easy to understand. It received repeat performances at concerts Beethoven staged in January and February That summer he composed a piano sonata for the first time in five years No.

Beethoven's Letters 1790-1826, Volume 1 by Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770-1827

This work was in a markedly more Romantic style than his earlier sonatas. He was also one of many composers who produced music in a patriotic vein to entertain the many heads of state and diplomats who came to the Congress of Vienna that began in November Biographers have speculated on a variety of other reasons that also contributed to the decline, including the difficulties in the personal lives of his would-be paramours and the harsh censorship policies of the Austrian government. The illness and death of his brother Carl from tuberculosis may also have played a role.

Carl had been ill for some time, and Beethoven spent a small fortune in on his care. Beethoven, who considered Johanna an unfit parent because of her morals she had an illegitimate child by a different father before marrying Carl and had been convicted of theft and financial management, had successfully applied to Carl to have himself named sole guardian of the boy. The Austrian court system had one court for the nobility and members of the Landtafel, the Landrechte, and many other courts for commoners, among them the Civil Court of the Vienna Magistrate. Owing to his influence with the court, Beethoven felt assured of the favorable outcome of being awarded sole guardianship.

Beethoven appealed and regained custody. He and Beethoven were reconciled, but Karl insisted on joining the army and last saw Beethoven in early Beethoven began a renewed study of older music, including works by J.

Bach and Handel, that were then being published in the first attempts at complete editions. He returned to the keyboard to compose his first piano sonatas in almost a decade: the works of the late period are commonly held to include the last five piano sonatas and the Diabelli Variations , the last two sonatas for cello and piano, the late string quartets see below , and two works for very large forces: the Missa Solemnis and the Ninth Symphony.

On the downside, his hearing had deteriorated to the point that conversation became difficult, necessitating the use of conversation books.

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His household management had also improved somewhat; Nanette Streicher, who had assisted in his care during his illness, continued to provide some support, and he finally found a skilled cook. In he was again preoccupied by the legal processes around Karl, and began work on the Diabelli Variations and the Missa Solemnis. For the next few years he continued to work on the Missa, composing piano sonatas and bagatelles to satisfy the demands of publishers and the need for income, and completing the Diabelli Variations.

He was ill again for an extended time in , and completed the Missa in , three years after its original due date. He also opened discussions with his publishers over the possibility of producing a complete edition of his work, an idea that was arguably not fully realized until Beethoven then turned to writing the string quartets for Golitsin. Then we have a problem to consider. Beethoven never indicated that the repeat of the exposition should return only to the Allegro section. This was added at a later date by a publisher. So perhaps he meant us to return to the very beginning and play the Grave once more?