December 16th means ‘Happy Birthday Ludwig van Beethoven!’

Ludwig van Beethoven -

“During a certain instant in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, for example, he might feel that he is floating above the earth in a starry dome, with the dream of immortality in his heart; all the stars seem to glimmer around him, and the earth seems to sink ever deeper downwards.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche  – ‘Human, All Too Human’

Ludwig van Beethoven was a giant of German music and universally recognized as one of greatest composers ever.

While there is no authentic record of the actual date of his birth – the registry of his baptism, in a Roman Catholic church says 17th December 1770, however Beethoven’s family and he himself celebrated his birthday on 16th December. And hence most scholars accept 16 December 1770 as Beethoven’s date of birth. The discrepancy lies in the fact that so many infants died shortly after birth at this time, it was deemed to be prudent to wait at least a day before recording the birth officially.

Historically he was a key figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music – he remains in fact one of the most famous and influential of all composers of all time. After Bach and Mozart and followed by Brahms – the man was in good company, sandwiched between genius!

A century later Béla Bartok, perhaps the greatest composer of the 20th century, considered Beethoven and his  music as the great master whom he admired more than any other.

Some would even say that Beethoven was the greatest composer of all time.

However Beethoven was not a ‘natural’ talent as Bach or Mozart had been. He had to work much harder because he was not so naturally talented as either Bach or Mozart. However he achieved a prolific output of music.His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies, five piano concertos, a violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets, the opera, Fidelio and his great   ‘Missa solemnis’ which has been called the single most beautiful classical piece ever written.

Beethoven-Haus. Bonngasse 18-26, D-53111 Bonn, is address of the birthplace of the composer and the Museum there contains the largest Beethoven collection in the world.

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