In honour of Beethoven: Ten facts you need to know about the composer

In honour of Beethoven: Ten facts you need to know about the composer

The first time I heard a piece of music by Beethoven, it was in a handheld bricks game (80s kids will know what I’m talking about). The sound was sped up to match the falling bricks but it was part of the fun of playing the game (I realized that whenever I played in mute mode, my score was never good).

Today when I opened the Google homepage and saw a blinking white circle with the brown ‘play’ triangle, I clicked it (Google doodles are fun). I had gotten to the last stage of the puzzle before it hit me that I had been putting together Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Für Elise, Moonlight Sonata and Ode to Joy.

Today marks 245 years since Ludwig van Beethoven was baptised, and Google has marked the occasion with a puzzle. You can find it here.

Here are ten things about the composer you should know.

  1. His date of birth is not known. His birth certificate only states the date of his baptism, December 17, 1770.
  2. Beethoven left school at age 11 to help with household income and never learned how to multiply or divide.
  3. Beethoven started becoming deaf in his late twenties. Nevertheless, he continued to compose.
  4. He was already deaf when he wrote the final movement in his Ninth Symphony. The composer could not hear the applause when the symphony premiered on May 7, 1824.
  5. Despite his acclaim, Beethoven always had to work hard to ensure a comfortable living by giving piano lessons, writing work commissioned by wealthy Viennese residents, and, of course, publishing his own music.
  6. Among his friends, he was a notorious space cadet. Once, while speaking to family friend Cacilie, she noticed him zoning out. When she demanded a reply to what she’d said, his answer was, “I was just occupied with such a lovely, deep thought, I couldn’t bear to be disturbed.”
  7. Throughout his life Beethoven suffered from colitis, rheumatism, rheumatic fever, typhus, skin disorders, abscesses, a variety of infections, ophthalmia, inflammatory degeneration of the arteries, jaundice, chronic hepatitis, and cirrhosis of the liver.
  8. Beethoven hated giving piano lessons unless they were for exceptionally talented students or attractive young women of whatever talent.
  9. He never got married. It is said that he wrote his most famous piano piece, “Für Elise,” for the German opera singer Elisabeth Röckel. He supposedly even asked her to marry him.
  10. Beethoven was inspired and by Napoleon. He was a fan of the French Revolution and devoted his Third Symphony, the “Eroica,” to Napoleon. However, when Napoleon crowned himself Emperor, he furiously erased this dedication from his score.

 

Source: DW.com and mentalfloss.com

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