Review of Ludwig Van Beethoven Life

Subject: Art
Pages: 4
Words: 1006
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: College

Ludwig Van Beethoven is among the most admired composers of Western music. Beethoven was born in Bonn, and his father has promoted the boy’s musical talent since an early age. He is best known as a classical music composer, working during the Classical and Romantic eras. However, Beethoven was also a performer, a teacher and played in an orchestra. This paper will present the results of research on Beethoven’s life and career and demonstrate who he was, where he came from, how he earned money during the different stages of his career, and how his work affected contemporary music.

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As the history of Beethoven’s life shows, the composer has been taught by several well-renowned musicians of his time. The evolution of Beethoven’s career is typically divided into three stages: the early, middle, and late periods (Cayers 10). This well-known composer was born in 1770 and died in 1827 (Cayers 10). Beethoven came from a family of a musician and a music teacher, as his father sang in the Archbishop of Cologne. The interest in music that Beethoven’s father had might have influenced the composer, as he showed talent and musical aspirations from an early age. However, Sayers reports that Beethoven’s father was abusive and did not properly care for the family (15).

The musical career of this composer began early, and he performed for audiences while still being at school. According to Sayers, Beethoven began taking music lessons in piano, violin, and viola at the age of five (15). Later he became a student of the well-known composer in Bonn, Christian Gottlob Neefe, who taught him music composition. Since Beethoven began to show interest in music at an early age, it is obvious that he could not make money during that time. Still, he had some performances to showcase his talent, for example, at a local school (Cayers 20). For some time while still living in Bonn, he gave piano lessons to the members of the von Breuning, which might have been a source of his income.

Initially, Beethoven developed his musical talent under the supervision of his father, Johann, who was a musician and a signer (Cayers 20). However, his home life was dysfunctional, and the composer moved to Vienna at the age of 21, where he continued to study musical composition and became a teacher himself. Hence, during the early periods, Beethoven made his living primarily by teaching others how to play. Apart from studying, Beethoven also published music and gave lessons, which is how he made his living during that time. Additionally, Predota notes that Beethoven worked as a freelance musician and was known for his remarkable ability to improvise. Hence, he also made his living by performing at salons.

As Beethoven was a composer, he wrote music for patrons, who would receive exclusive rights to perform the music for six months, after which Beethoven could sell the work for a publication (Predator). However, the specifics of the music industry at that time meant that Beethoven could only make a one-time fee for his compositions. Although Beethoven’s work is recognized now as an example of prominent musical composition, Predota (2020) notes that he has struggled financially for the majority of his life.

One remarkable fact about Beethoven is that during his middle period, his hearing began to deteriorate. Still, the composer continued to work and produce music. However, by 1814 he became fully deaf, after which he could no longer perform and rarely appeared in public (Cayers 20). Moreover, Cayers reports that the majority of works for which Beethoven is best known were composed after his hearing deteriorated (15). The late period of the composer’s career is characterized by the innovation of the musical form, which has had an effect on the development of music in general (Cayers 45). During this period, he was able to charge money for his public concerts; however, only fifteen of them had a fee (Predator). This, however, was possible only until Beethoven still had his hearing, as the loss of it forced him to give up private lessons and performances.

According to Clark, Beethoven’s musical evolution has changed the traditional understanding of composition and the approaches to music structure and form. Moreover, he has changed the views of the symphony as a genre. Burkholder states that now “a symphony as a monumental work, the ultimate test of a composer’s command of their craft and a supreme expression of their creativity” (para. 5). However, before Beethoven, it was a mundane genre of music, and most composers produced many symphonies, and those were short pieces of music. Beethoven changed this by composing long music pieces and included more instruments and even voices into his works, which was also not common during his time.

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Another remarkable aspect of his talent is Beethoven’s ability to combine the traditions of the Classical and Romantic composition traditions (Burkholder). From this viewpoint, he is an innovator since the majority of well-known composers mastered their respected music styles and genres. Over the course of the nine symphonies produced by the composer, one can spot the transition from one musical tradition to another. His final work is a great example of the Romantic era’s music, while his early works were written in the Classical style. This also shows the revolution of form that Beethoven promoted.

In summary, this paper reviews Beethoven’s life, career, ways in which he made his living, and how his work has affected modern music. Beethoven was born in a family of musicians and started taking piano lessons at the age of five. During different stages of his life, he made money by teaching piano, selling his symphonies, and performing. Although he is one of the most famous Western composers, he had financial struggles over the course of his life. He has revolutionized the genre of a symphony by introducing longer pieces and involving more instruments and even voices. Moreover, during the late stage of his career, he also introduced some innovations in terms of form and challenged the traditional approaches to composition.

Work Cited

Burkholder, Erin. “3 Ways Beethoven Revolutionized Music – Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra”. Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, 2020, Web.

Sayers, Jan. Beethoven, A Life. University of California Press, 2020.

Clark, Phillip. “How Beethoven’S Symphonies Changed The World.” Gramophone, 2022, Web.

Predator, George. “Beethoven and Money.” Interlude, 2021, Web.