Although the History of music is full of geniuses and great composers, it is possibly Ludwig van Beethoven who is considered by critics and the public as the most important of all time, an honor that, when the competition is measured with authors such as Bach, Handel, Mozart , Haydn, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky and so many great classical composers, takes on even greater prominence.
Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, on December 16, 1770 and, in addition to being a composer, he was a great pianist and conductor. His musical legacy ranges from classicism to romanticism and his great symphonies have endured to this day and have influenced the subsequent evolution of all music.
His work was intense and extensive. Although his symphonies, especially the ninth (part of which, the Hymn to Joy, is the official anthem of the European Union) and the fifth and sixth are two immense masterpieces. His entire repertoire can be considered masterful.
His production includes the genres pianístico (thirty-two sonatas for piano), chamber (including numerous works for instrumental ensembles of between eight and two members), concertante (concertos for piano, violin and triple), sacra (two masses and one oratorio), the opera Fidelio, a ballet and music for plays and orchestra in which Nine Symphonies take preponderance.
Beethoven’s father was impressed by the fact that Mozart gave concerts at age seven and wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. On March 26, 1778, when he was seven years old, Beethoven made his first public performance, in Cologne. In 1782, when he was eleven years old, he published his first composition, entitled Nine Variations on a March by Ernst Christoph.
In 1792 the Elector of Bonn financed him to travel to Vienna, where he spent the rest of his life composing, trying to achieve recognition and suffering a particularly terrible disease for a musician: deafness.
The Viennese court, nobility and Church enthusiastically welcomed Beethoven’s music and became his patrons and protectors. His initial music, fresh and light, changed to become epic and turbulent, in keeping with the revolutionary times in Europe. Those were years in which the European monarchical powers had joined forces seeking to defeat Napoleon’s revolutionary France.
Very soon, Beethoven stopped needing concerts and recitals to survive. The publishers disputed his works; furthermore, the Austrian aristocracy, embarrassed by the death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart practically destitute, allocated him an annual pension.
Due to the loss of his hearing abilities, he indulged in a feverish creative activity, and, at the same time, suffered personal hardships produced by love disappointments. He never got married, but several romances are attributed to him, especially with noble ladies.
His pension made him the first independent artist and composer in history, since previously musicians and composers were servants of the aristocracy, forming part of its domestic staff. The conditions of the agreement that Beethoven reached with his benefactors gave the composer the freedom to compose what he wanted and when he wanted.
His freedom and independence, in addition to his deafness, made Beethoven a sullen and troublesome man, little friend to flattery and flattery, a characteristic that he had until the end of his days. On his deathbed he said these words: “Clap, friends, finite comedy est” (… the comedy is over). Despite his low sociability, more than 20,000 people attended his funerals.
Today, Beethoven’s music is still the most performed in auditions and concerts. And it has been used in more than two hundred films and works on television.