German composer and pianist born in 1770, Ludwig Van Beethoven, is widely regarded as the greatest composer in the history of western music and some might even claim, who ever lived. While others have contributed to his successes, including the musical genius, Amadeus Mozart, his creative enhancement and experimental personal expression, helped influence the Romantic composers who succeeded him and dubbed him as best. His skills and compositions widened the classical scope of the sonata, symphony, concerto, and quartet, though, as a piano player, his incredible piano sonatas (which were 32 in number) are that which I have found to be most admirable and the reason for which I have chosen him to epitomize. Despite his progressive deafness, he managed to compose some of his greatest and most impressive works during the final 10 years of his lifetime, when his hearing had been nearly depleted. To do this, he would place one end of a stick on the sounding board of a piano, and the other between his teeth. In this way, he transported the sound to a place where his nerves could pick it up and decipher the vibrations into sounds; how ingenious. Being a highly determined and persistent person with deep passions, I truly admire this pursuit and creation of art in the form of music, regardless of the adversity and unfavorable circumstances he faced. Some of his most notable as well as my personal favorites of his works include Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op 125 (choral) otherwise known as ‘Ode to Joy,’ Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op 67, Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp, Op. 27, No. 2: Sonata quasi Uno fantasia, otherwise known as ‘Moonlight Sonata,’ Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor, otherwise known as Für Elise,’ ‘Eroica,’ to name shortly, Coloring Overture, Op. 62, Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major, also known as the Emperor Concerto, ‘The Tempest-‘Allegretto (to keep this one short in its name as well), and lastly, his String quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op 131. While there are also several others worthy of recognition and inclusion, these are just a handful of my favorite works, some of which I will further elaborate upon as exemplary material to justify his stupendous talent and greatness in comparison to other classical composers.
Moving to Vienna in 1792 undoubtedly kickstarted Beethoven’s career, popularizing his music, as the city was the staple of culture and an ideal musical attraction spot. Wealthy people, royal families, and court members gathered here to hear new music and even hired musicians they especially admired, for their personal enjoyment. Beethoven’s impressive piano playing ability and ambitious, captivating symphonies, as well as his fierce and rebellious individualism and determination in an age when patronage remained the socially acceptable norm, widely contributed to this success. With the utilization and embrace of the complete, expanded range of the piano in his sonatas and concertos, his attraction, appeal, and following blossomed. While rooted in the classical era aesthetic of clear form, function, and structure, (Mozart being one of his strongest influences in this manner, which will be further examined later,) the pinnacle of his music lies in this expanded orchestration and range, contrast, intensity, uniqueness, song-length, and emotional depth elicited. Each one of these components is a reason that I admire his work so adamantly. Through his composition, the best of both classical and Baroque eras are elevated to new dynamic, instrumental, and emotional extremes that shaped the coming 19th-century Romantic era, naming him the best composer of the classical era. To compare him to other composers is necessary to come to this conclusion.
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One composer most easily comparable to Beethoven is one of his very own inspirations, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, from whom he learned a great deal. With Mozart’s music, there seems to be almost a jewel-like perfection. Each note is placed so intricately and perfectly, that if anyone note was changed, it would sound off. This balance, symmetry, and fulfilled expectation is incredibly attractive and attention-demanding but not so much in the same way as Beethoven attempts to capture his listener’s attention. While Mozart’s music personifies an oceanic nature, Beethoven’s is volcanic, initially calm but able to suddenly erupt into a beautifully fiery melody. He resembles Mozart in the respect that he sets you up for the same expectation of perfection and balance, yet takes his music just one step further, surprising you with an unexpected but delightful journey through the parts of the sonata. For example, one technique he utilizes, called the Subado Piano Technique, is the building, developing, a crescendo of a moment, only to have you suddenly experience a soft, cloud-like, and airy tone. The composition of Mozart came straight from Heaven, whereas Beethoven only seeks for his music to briefly touch Heaven. You can hear this in the beginning (exposition) of the Opus 14 No. 2 of the G-Major sonata. Even during the later development of the melody, you hear notes you would have never expected to hear after hearing the exposition, making the recapitulation all the sweeter and relieving to the ear. Moods arise, then float away, in an ungraspable nature. Some would say if Mozart represents classical music, Beethoven would be the epitome of heavy classical music- like unto metal versus heavy metal. If Mozart is a walk through a perfectly arranged and groomed garden, Beethoven is a stroll through an imperfect and dense forest. The light, weightlessness of Mozart is wonderful. However, it cannot compare to the depth and gravity of Beethoven. In music, emotions are of utmost importance and when you can truly feel the expression of their tendency to be messy and all over the place, the talent that is unleashed is unsurpassed. Mere perfection in music is satisfying to hear but on its own, lacks the emotional tie that lies in the relatability to the imperfection and unexpected nature of life. Playfulness, naive optimism, sweetness, and overall happiness make up the series of Mozart’s sonata parts, where Beethoven’s is peace encountering tension, then struggle, and final triumph.
While many composers have mastered instruments such as the piano, organ, and violin and have created breathtaking, challenging, and well-known sonatas, quartets, symphonies, and concertos, none have quite reached the level of perfect contrast, brilliance, and divinity that Beethoven has in his work. His skill is unbeatable and unsurpassable even in comparison to other extremely talented composers; so much so, that his music is still widely popular and referenced today. Some of the best genres and songs take the classical compositions of Beethoven (among others) and use them as a baseline for new modern music. For instance, Billy Joel’s track, ‘This Night,’ from his fifth album, An Innocent Man, uses the melody and harmony of the second movement to Beethoven’s Sonata ‘Pathétique’ (or, Piano Sonata No. 8) as the basis for the song’s chorus. Next, came the best indie-folk sensation by Conor Oberst aka Bright Eyes, who channels (and makes an awful pun of) Beethoven’s Ode to Joy with his ‘Road to Joy.’ Finally, the most recent example is in hip-hop and rap’s famous Nas’ song, ‘I Can,’ Beethoven’s Für Elise is turned into the background melody for a ‘rap smash.’ Additionally, several movies also borrow works from Beethoven for their soundtracks because they know the power, perfection, and popularity of these songs. His story and many compositions have been timeless in their beauty and will remain a legacy for generations to come.
Beethoven is widely regarded as the greatest composer who ever lived, in no small part because of his ability—unlike any before him—to translate feeling into music. His most famous compositions included Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op.What was Ludwig van Beethoven greatest achievements? ›
Beethoven's greatest achievement was to raise instrumental music, hitherto considered inferior to vocal, to the highest plane of art. During the 18th century, music, being fundamentally nonimitative, was ranked below literature and painting.What was significant about Ludwig van Beethoven? ›
He is widely recognized as one of the greatest composers of the Western European music tradition. His work crowned the classical period as well as initiated the romantic era in music. In 1783 Beethoven's first published work, a set of keyboard variations appeared.How can you describe Beethoven's composition? ›
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was a highly influential German composer. He is famous for composing music that deviated from the norm for his time, incorporating dramatic emotion and novel vocal and instrumental arrangements into his work. Before he became a composer, Beethoven was a piano player.How did Beethoven impact the world? ›
Composing symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, concertos, and one opera, Beethoven shattered musical boundaries and set the stage for how musicians and listeners would think about music for the next 200 years, up to modern day.What are 5 facts about Beethoven? ›
- 1) He was actually the third Ludwig van Beethoven in his family. ...
- 2) He studied with Mozart's teacher — Franz Joseph Haydn. ...
- 3) He was unlucky in love. ...
- 4) We don't really know why he became deaf. ...
- 5) He died during a thunderstorm at age 56.
The most inspiring thing about him is that he never gave up on his talent. Instead, he played the piano. In fact, he created his greatest compositions during his time of great tribulation. For example, he composed music when the world rejected him.How did Beethoven change music? ›
He widened the scope of the symphony, the sonata, the concerto, and the quartet and in so doing broke many patterns of Classical music. In Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, for example, Beethoven rearranged the formal structure of the Classical symphony and incorporated a choral finale.What can we learn from Beethoven? ›
Beethoven can help by teaching us how to embrace millions. He leads us to a free future with no city walls, national borders or tribal conflicts. He introduces us to each other and reminds us that we all sing together in his choral symphony. So, please, take part in the celebrations of his 250th birthday.Why is Beethoven still important today? ›
Beethoven's struggle with his encroaching deafness is uniquely inspiring, especially since he wrote his greatest works in what he called a terrifying void of silence. That sense of struggle is palpably present in his music, which often culminates in soaring affirmation after long stretches of chaos, anger, and despair.
His ideas may have been rooted in the work of European predecessors Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Josef Haydn, but the iconic German composer became who he was with the help of some familiar American values: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.What are the great qualities of Ludwig van Beethoven that inspire you? ›
- He was, let's face it, the greatest… ...
- He carried on composing, against all the odds. ...
- He flouted social convention. ...
- He inspired great loyalty among friends. ...
- A man ahead of his times. ...
- He stuck to his Enlightenment principles. ...
- He loved to ramble.
Beethoven Composed Music He Couldn't Hear
Many people know that Beethoven was deaf, but nobody really knows why. But, he was not always unable to hear and it was not until he was about 26 years old when he started losing his hearing.
Haydn in particular became a fundamental influence and figure in Beethoven's early career, with Beethoven playing over 50 Haydn Symphonies with the Esterhazy Court Orchestra as a violist, and leaving Bonn to go study with the master himself as a pupil.How did Beethoven create music? ›
Unlike Mozart, who would often compose the entire piece before writing it down, Beethoven made many sketches with various edits at every stage. His conception of pieces was evidently a process of compiling fragments of musical ideas until they became a whole composition.How did Beethoven impact deaf culture? ›
For some Deaf artists, Beethoven is a figure of ambivalent inspiration. On the one hand, his music proves beyond a shade of doubt that deaf composers can create electrifying music. On the other, his gradual hearing loss has been frequently co-opted by the hearing world for the purposes of shallow melodrama.Why is Beethoven a hero? ›
He was a hero because he was able to overcome great challenges. His resilience is a trait that made Beethoven the hero he is today. Even when he went deaf he still worked hard on his music. Beethoven was a hardworking man when it came to music.Did Beethoven say music can change the world? ›
The intertwining relationship between culture and music is undeniable. Culture and music flow together. Ludwig van Beethoven said, “Music can change the world.” Over the years, popular music mirrors the society listening to it or does the culture mirror the music?What are 10 facts about Beethoven? ›
- His date of birth is not known. ...
- Beethoven's childhood was not an easy one. ...
- His father rejuvenated him. ...
- He was nicknamed “The Spaniard” ...
- He was not gifted for finances. ...
- He was a brilliant improviser. ...
- Beethoven never married but was a great romantic.
Beethoven began to lose his hearing at age 28. By age 44, his hearing loss was complete, most likely caused by compression of the eighth cranial nerve associated with Paget's disease of bone.
It's often thought his last words were 'applaud friends, the comedy is ended' (in Latin!) but his parting gift to the world was far less cerebral. After a publisher bought Beethoven 12 bottles of wine as a gift, the dying composer's final words were: 'Pity, pity, too late!How did Beethoven react to going deaf? ›
This condition, in which some sounds register as much louder than they actually are, is familiar to people with hearing loss. As a result, Beethoven plugged his ears with cotton to make playing the piano bearable.Why is Beethoven a genius? ›
Still, his genius prevailed — a strong pianist, an inspired improviser, a violinist, a conductor, Beethoven also wrote hours upon hours of marvelous music, bursting with energy and invention, and was famous before he was 30.What is Beethoven's heroic style? ›
He took the refined, elegant, “powdered-wig” musical style of the eighteenth century and exploded it with unpredictable rhythms, daring harmonies and a broader scope. What Homer's epics were for the ancients, Beethoven's symphonies would be for modern times.Is Beethoven music good for the brain? ›
Believe it or not: listening to Beethovens sonata for a good 10 minutes ramps up IQ scores with nearly 10 points. Researchers explained that classical music is believed to enhance the brain's spatial-temporal reasoning or the cognitive understanding of how items or pieces can fit into a space.What type of work was Beethoven most famous for? ›
Beethoven's 'Eroica' Symphony completed in 1804, changed the musical world and is perhaps his defining work.Who did Beethoven think was the best composer? ›
David Wyn Jones writes about Beethoven's admiration of Handel's music and its presence in the musical life of Vienna.What is Beethoven's famous quote? ›
Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind, but which mankind cannot comprehend.Who influenced Beethoven? ›
Ludwig van BeethovenWho was considered as one of the greatest composers? ›
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)
The German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven is widely regarded as the greatest composer who ever lived.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers): Venezia, Mike: 9780516445410: Amazon.com: Books.Why is Beethoven so inspiring? ›
The most inspiring thing about him is that he never gave up on his talent. Instead, he played the piano. In fact, he created his greatest compositions during his time of great tribulation. For example, he composed music when the world rejected him.What is considered Beethoven's greatest work? ›
Beethoven's 'Eroica' Symphony completed in 1804, changed the musical world and is perhaps his defining work.What makes a great composer? ›
4) A great composer is marked by a great total output, and what makes an output great is not a handful of exquisitely turned masterpieces, but compendiousness. It should be greater than the sum of its parts, and make room for heroic failures, trifles, and interesting but flawed experiments, as well as masterpieces.Who is one of the most important and influential composer? ›
He is acknowledged by many as one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century. Stravinsky's compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity.
Through his symphonies and other works, Beethoven built a musical bridge from the Classical past to the Romantic future. Even in his own time this was recognized in Beethoven's music, especially in his symphonies.Who is the greatest composer today? ›
The 10 greatest composers of the 21st century (so far)
- Max Richter. ...
- Ludovico Einaudi. ...
- Hildur Guðnadóttir. ...
- Eric Whitacre. ...
- Hans Zimmer. ...
- Yoko Shimomura. ...
- Wynton Marsalis. ...
- Rachel Portman.
The first known composers of classical music were Hermannus Contractus and Hildegard Von Bingen. Contractus was an 11th century monk who composed hymns and chants that are believed to be some of the earliest classical music.What did Beethoven teach us? ›
Beethoven can help by teaching us how to embrace millions. He leads us to a free future with no city walls, national borders or tribal conflicts. He introduces us to each other and reminds us that we all sing together in his choral symphony. So, please, take part in the celebrations of his 250th birthday.What is the most interesting thing about Beethoven? ›
Beethoven never married but was a great romantic
Although he never married, Beethoven often fell in love with women who, most of the time, were already in a relationship. Some of his most beautiful compositions were dedicated to women. The Moonlight Sonata was written for Giulietta Guicciardi, and the Piano Sonata No.
Ludwig Van Beethoveen was born in 1770 in Bonn, Germany as the son of a court musician. His talent for the piano was soon realized and he gave his first public performance at the age of eight. Beethoven's father wanted to promote him as the next child prodigy, another Mozart.What was Beethoven's most famous performance? ›
Conductor Louis Langree: Demands and Rewards in Symphony No. 5. In December of 1808, one of the most famous concerts in music history was given in Vienna. It was a four-hour marathon of Ludwig van Beethoven's music that featured the premieres of several of his best-known pieces.What was Beethoven's first very successful composition? ›
Beethoven's first childhood composition is predictably incredible for a 12-year-old. It's time to listen to Beethoven's 9 Variations on a March by Ernst Dressler in C minor, his first ever document composition, written when he was only 12 years old.