18. Beethoven

Beethoven (1770-1827) was a German composer and pianist. He is considered to be the most influential composers of all time!

Beethoven’s hearing began to deteriorate when he was at the pinnacle of his success. Yet he continued to compose, perform and conduct concerts even after he became totally deaf!

Beethoven was baptized on 17 December 1770, in Bonn. His father was his first music teacher. He also learned from the other local teachers. His talent was promising even when he was a mere child. He gave his first public performance in March 1778, when he was a mere child seven years old!

When his mother died in 1787, he had to take care of his two younger brothers and alcoholic father. However he continued to write several compositions with growing maturity and style. His works were not published then!

In his early twenties he moved to Vienna, settled there and studied to become a virtuoso pianist. He did not set out to establish himself as a composer right away. He studied under Haydn and also took violin lessons from another master.

Beethoven’s first performance in Vienna was in March 1795. It was then that he published his first composition “Piano trios Opus”.

His compositions of First six string quartets, The First and The Second Symphonies made him the most famous composer after Haydn and Mozart.

Around 1796, he began to lose his hearing. He suffered from “Tinnitus”, a ringing sound in his ears. He could no longer appreciate music nor can he take part in conversations.The cause of his deafness was not known.

By the time he wrote his Ninth Symphony, he was completely deaf! However he continued to compose music and play piano!

His determination to succeed was so great that it overcame all the physical obstacles. Indomitable Spirit always overcomes physical challenges and succeeds!

Visalakshi Ramani


4 Responses to 18. Beethoven

  1. Brahmanyan says:

    This article reminds me of my visit to Beethovan’s house in Bonn during our holiday trip to Rhine valley, Germany. Here his original papers of music compositions are kept along with the writing instruments used by him. I still remember the wooden floors are polished by foot prints of constant stream of visitors.


    • dear Mr. Brahmanyan,
      You have been very lucky to have visited many exotic spots and known many people of different cultures and countries.
      My knowledge is mainly from books.
      One of the probable causes of Beethoven’s deafness is attributed to his dipping his head in water in order to keep awake. Poor dear! I guess his deafness probably kept off all the spurious noise from the external world and made him write better compositions.
      God works in strange ways you know! You will find how Von Gogh’s madness helped him to add depth of feelings and moods to his paintings.
      Till I hear from you again,
      warm regards,
      yours sincerely,
      Visalakshi Ramani.

  2. Ronald Apa says:

    What you are saying is extremely intresting and informative.

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