Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany. He studied in Vienna under Mozart and Hayden. In Vienna he first made his reputation as a pianist and teacher, and he became famous quickly.
At this time he composed many of his most popular works such as the Fifth symphony, the Emperor Concerto, the Eroica and Pastoral symphonies, and his only opera Fidelio.
Beethoven developed a completely original style of music, reflecting his sufferings and joys. His work forms a peak in the development of tonal music and is one of the most important developments in the history of music. Before his time, composers wrote works for religious services, and to entertain people. But people listened to Beethoven’s music for its own sake.
About 1800, he discovered that he was slowly becoming deaf. I find it hard to imagine being able to compose music as wonderful as the Choral symphony while being unable to hear the music except in one’s head. It wasn’t surprising that many people thought that Beethoven and his career were over.
Beethoven, too, at times was close to total despair. After short time he withdrew from most of the social contacts. Once he even tried to commit suicide. However, he overcame his feelings and fears and continued to compose music. By 1820, when he was almost totally deaf, Beethoven composed his greatest works. These include the last five piano sonatas, the Missa solemnis, the Ninth Symphony, with its choral finale, and the last five string quartets.
In the fall of 1826 Beethoven caught a serious cold, which developed into pneumonia. He died on March 26, 1827.
At the time of his death and even now Beethoven is considered one of the top classical composers of all times, maybe even the best. To achieve such recognition, the person without hearing has to be of unbelievable talent, and determination, and this is exactly the kind of person Beethoven – the most remarkable composer of all times.