HumanitiesWeb.org - Ludwig van Beethoven - A Sense of Destiny [Biography]
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Ludwig van Beethoven
Biography



"When, occasionally, I decided to ignore my infirmity, ah, how cruelly I was then driven back by the doubly sad experience of my poor hearing, yet I could not find it in myself to say to people: 'Speak louder, shout, for I am deaf!' Ah, how could I possibly have referred to the weakening of a sense which ought to be more perfectly developed in me than in other people, a sense which I once possessed in the greatest perfection, to a degree which certainly few of my profession possess or have ever possesed."

For many people, Beethoven is the greatest of all composers. His music expresses every kind of emotion, from the passionate to the tender, yet technically, it is never anything other than faultless. From the beginning to the end of his creative life, Beethoven constantly expanded his style and ideals, and his work forms a bridge between the Classical and Romantic periods. His increasing deafness , from the age of about 30, came as a terrible blow.

Beethoven lived through the turmoil of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, and he believed passionately in the ideals of "Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood." He saw himself as a new kind of artist: One who wrote not just for the church or the aristocracy, as most composers before him had, but for people everywhere, and for posterity as well as for his own time. This sense of destiny caused him to struggle over some of his compositions for years.

Beethoven still based much of his music on the Classical forms and styles of the late 18th century - the symphony, sonata, and string quartet. But he filled his compositions with a new sense of freedom and personal expression that heralded the much more emotional and poetic Romantic period of the 19th century; and he influenced nearly every composer who came after him.

contributed by Gifford, Katya

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