Facts about Beethoven

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Ludwig van Beethoven
The great composer, Ludwig van Beethoven
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Some little known facts about Beethoven

 Born in 1770 in Cologne, Germany, Ludwig van Beethoven was a crucial figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music. One of the most interesting facts about Beethoven is that even though he wrote only one classical opera, Fidelio, he remains one of the most acclaimed and influential composers of all time. He was performing in public by the age of seven, and while not quite the sensation that the young Mozart was, he was quickly recognized as a brilliant musical talent.

He moved to Vienna while in his early twenties and settled there, studying with Joseph Haydn and gaining a solid reputation as a virtuoso pianist. There is much controversy to this day surrounding his death and his life was rife with contradiction.

Beethoven was stone deaf when he composed some of his symphonies, and he continued to conduct and perform music even after his hearing was totally gone. He began losing his hearing as early as 1796. The cause of deafness is unknown, but it has variously been attributed to syphilis, lead poisoning, typhus, autoimmune disorder and even his habit of immersing his head in cold water to stay awake. 

There is a well-documented story that, at the end of the premiere of his Ninth Symphony, he had to be turned around to see the tumultuous applause of the audience. When he heard nothing, he visibly wept.

What are some facts about Beethoven?

1- One of the most little known facts about this famous composer is that he used a special rod attached to the soundboard on his piano that he could bite. The vibrations of the bite would then transfer from the piano to his jaw thus increasing his perception of the sound. A large collection of his hearing aids, such as special ear horns, can be viewed at the Beethoven House Museum in Bonn, Germany.

2- Beethoven was bedridden for most of the last months of his life. Many friends came to visit him and when he died on March 26, 1827, it was during a thunderstorm. His friend, Anselm Hüttenbrenner, who was present at the time, claimed that there was a peal of thunder at the moment of his death.

3- He was a prolific composer who wrote a total of 9 symphonies, 7 concertos, 17 string quartets, 32 piano sonatas, and 10 sonatas for violin and piano.

4- As one who scorned authority and social rank, one of the facts about Beethoven is that he would stop performing at his piano if the audience was talking too much or not giving him their full attention. At soirées, he refused to perform if suddenly called upon to do so.

5- He always put exactly sixty coffee beans in every cup of coffee he drank, making his morning cup of java a super-powered blast of caffeine even Starbucks can't match!

6- Beethoven was one of the first composers to work on his own instead of working for the church or for a noble court.

7- More than 20,000 people attended his funeral.

8- Beethoven was known for his bad temper. He once threw a plate of food at a waiter's head because he wasn't happy with the service.

9- He was once arrested because his hair and clothes were so messy that he looked like a tramp and the police had no idea who he was.

10- In 40 years, he changed his place of residence more than 70 times!

There are so many facts about Beethoven. These are just a few that even the most committed classical music fans might not have known. 

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