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Ludwig van Beethoven

©James Bennett Dream by SV Bosak

German musician and composer, member of the Club of Dreamers (Dream by Susan V. Bosak).

One of the greatest composers of music, not only because of how well he could play, but because of the emotions he was able to convey through his music.

As an adult, he slowly lost his hearing. It's not known exactly when he began to go deaf. He kept it a secret until 1802, when he wrote a famous letter expressing his disappointment with the unfairness of life: that he, a musician, could become deaf was something he did not want to live through. But music made him carry on. Though he was totally deaf by 1818, he continued to compose until his death.

His music is usually divided into three periods. In the first (1792-1802), which includes the first two symphonies, the first six quartets, and the "Pathétique" and "Moonlight" sonatas, his style gradually develops its own individuality. His second period (1803-1812) begins with the "Eroica" symphony (1803), and includes his next five symphonies, the difficult "Kreutzer" sonata (1803), the Violin Concerto, the "Archduke" trio (1811), and the "Razumovsky" quartets. His third great period begins in 1813, and includes the Mass, the "Choral" symphony No. 9 (1823), and the last five quartets.

Said Ludwig van Beethoven:

"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy."

"Nothing is more intolerable than to have to admit to yourself your own errors."

"I shall seize Fate by the throat; it shall certainly not bend and crush me completely."

Recommended Reading:

Beethoven by Greta Cencetti. Peter Bedrick, 2001. Part of a series of books that introduces children to influential composers.

Beethoven Lives Upstairs by Barbara Nichol and Scott Cameron (illus). Scholastic, 1994. Weaving fact and fiction, this book chronicles a slice of the great composer's life via correspondence between young Christoph, a boy living in Vienna whose family takes in Beethoven as an upstairs tenant, and his Uncle Karl, a music student in Salzburg.

Ludwig van Beethoven by Mike Venezia. Children's Press, 1996. An illustrated biography that touches on Beethoven's colorful personality and how he changed the sound of music.

© SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org

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