As I am near Bonn, it seemed only right to visit Beethoven’s birthplace. He was born in a house on Bonngasse 18-26 (now a museum) in 1770 and died in Vienna in 1827 aged 56. An autopsy revealed serious liver damage, probably from alcohol consumption. In the later part of his life his deafness was so severe that he could barely distinguish his own works. The reason for his deafness is unknown but one reason could have been his habit of immersing his head in cold water to stay awake.
Influenced by Haydn and Mozart, Beethoven was prolific in his lifetime. This from Wikipedia:
“Beethoven composed in several musical genres and for a variety of instrument combinations. His works for symphony orchestra include nine symphonies (the Ninth Symphony includes a chorus), and about a dozen pieces of “occasional” music. He wrote seven concerti for one or more soloists and orchestra, as well as four shorter works that include soloists accompanied by orchestra. His only opera is Fidelio; other vocal works with orchestral accompaniment include two masses and a number of shorter works.
His large body of compositions for piano includes 32 piano sonatas and numerous shorter pieces, including arrangements of some of his other works. Works with piano accompaniment include 10 violin sonatas, 5 cello sonatas, and a sonata for French horn, as well as numerous lieder.
Beethoven also wrote a significant quantity of chamber music. In addition to 16 string quartets, he wrote five works for string quintet, seven for piano trio, five for string trio, and more than a dozen works for various combinations of wind instruments.”
Beethoven’s legendary ‘immortal beloved’ after which the film from 1994 starring Gary Oldman was named, has remained anonymous. The picture here is more likely to be what he looked like rather than the dramatic, heroic and intense image that you might know.
Where am I with Classical music? This Cello Sonata by Beethoven I particularly like and Stravinsky blows my mind. The archive has a substantial collection of Classical music. Once there were entire shops dedicated to Classical music. I remember HMV in London had a whole floor that was exclusively Classical. What happened?
If only Beethoven could have heard Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven. Here he is in live on French TV apologizing to Beethoven before he plays his famous song. One of the greatest R’n’R influences, he was born in 1926 and released Roll Over Beethoven in 1956, making it to No.29 on the US chart. Berry was 90 in 2016. Roll Over Beethoven was a song about a new music taking over from the old guard. What happened?