Facts about Ludwig van Beethoven
In his life span of 56 years, Beethoven had accomplished a lot in the field of music and is a renowned name in the history of music. He definitely had a gifted sense of music, and his father, Johann van Beethoven, was sure of it. It was he who started giving music lessons to his talented son, who soon became a world renowned musician. Have a look at these facts about Beethoven's life and know how he was different from the others, just like his compositions.
- Including Ludwig van Beethoven, there were a total of 7 siblings, out of which 4 passed away during their childhood, and only 3 managed to survive, out of whom Ludwig van Beethoven was the eldest.
- Beethoven gave his first known performance in public at the tender age of 7½, on March 26th 1778. Coincidentally, 26th March was also the date he died.
- When Beethoven gave his first public performance at Cologne, his father had announced that he was 6 years old. Because of this, Beethoven always thought that he was 1½ younger than his real age. This was evident, when many years later, he received his baptism certificate and thought it was his elder brother's who had passed away in childhood.
- Beethoven had remained a student of some of the renowned musicians including Gottlob Neefe, Joseph Haydn, Albrechtsberger, Salieri and the great Mozart. Most of his lessons were taken in Vienna, which is also the place where he lived after he left his hometown Bonn.
- Beethoven published his first work in 1782, at a young age of 12. It was 9 variations for Piano in C minor, making him one of the most famous piano players in history!
- Every time Beethoven prepared himself or sat down to compose music, he would pour lots of ice water over his head.
- During his lifetime, Beethoven composed only 1 classical opera known as Fidelio, which is still known to be one of the most classic and influential works of all time!
- Beethoven composed many symphonies and performed in various concerts even after he had completely lost his hearing abilities and become tone deaf! It was in 1811 when he failed to perform his own composition, "Piano Concerto No. 5" in public, that he never ever gave a public performance again.
- After Beethoven lost his hearing abilities completely, his friends communicated with him by writing in books, which he would read and then reply either orally, or in written. There were 400 such books, out of which 264 were destroyed after his death.
- Another interesting fact about Beethoven is that he used a special rod to his piano soundboard. This rod was special because he used to bite this rod and determine the sound by the vibrations which would travel from the piano to his jaw. This helped him in perceiving density of sound.
- Beethoven was one of the first musicians who was given annual grant of 4000 florins just because the people there didn't want him to leave Vienna. He was financially free and worked for himself. Before this, many famous musicians like Bach, Haydn and Mozart were a part of the domestic staff of wealthy aristocratic families, but were never given the freedom to work without the influence of command.
- Beethoven always put 60 coffee beans in his cup of coffee. No wonder where he got all that energy from!
- Beethoven was also known for his bad temper. In fact, he would stop performing to his audiences if he felt that they were talking too much or not giving him proper attention. It is also known that Beethoven once threw a plate full of food at a waiter because he wasn't happy with his service.
- Beethoven spent most of his time composing music. He was arrested by the police as his clothes and hair were so messy that the police thought he was some homeless tramp.
- Beethoven's work was magnificent! During his lifetime career, he composed a total of 9 symphonies, 17 string quartets, 7 concertos, 32 piano sonatas, 10 sonatas for violin and piano and 1 classical opera.
- Beethoven also taught music to many young and good looking students. It is also said that he also fell in love with many of them. In 1812, he wrote a letter to 'The Immortal Beloved'. Biographers working on the biography of Beethoven, are still trying to find the mysterious women behind the letter!
- Even nature lamented at his death. As told by Anselm Huttenbrenner, a friend of Beethoven, who was present when Beethoven took his last breath, there was a peal of strong thunder the moment Beethoven died on March 26, 1827.
- When Beethoven died, almost 10,000 - 30,000 people attended his funeral on March 29, 1827. One of his huge admirers Franz Schubert, was one of the grave bearers who also died in the following year and his grave was made just next to Beethoven's grave.
- In August 1845, Beethoven's monument at Bonn was unveiled, which also happened to be the first monument of a composer that was created in Germany.
What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven. - Ludwig van Beethoven
Yes, these facts make it clear, that many will come and many will go, but there was, there is, and there always will be, only one Ludwig van Beethoven.