Classical KUSC

Beethoven Photo Essay

Posted By: Dennis Bartel · 4/8/2014 1:12:00 PM

The thirteen year old Ludwig Beethoven (sans "van" which he added later once he moved to Vienna). Beethoven was assistant harpsichordist in the Electoral Kapelle, in Bonn. He also composed three keyboard sonatas at this time, posthumously published as WoO47. A notice in the Almanach likened his first published works to those of "a third or fourth-form student."

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This is Beethoven at age twenty, still living in Bonn. He had been granted half his father's salary in order to act as the head of the family. He was playing viola in an opera orchestra. Joseph Haydn came through Bonn during that year on his way to London. On his way back two years later he was shown one of Beethoven's cantatas and he agreed to take him as a pupil in Vienna, a decision that would lead to Beethoven moving to the Imperial City.

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This is Beethoven in 1803, the year he began work on his Eroica Symphony, in the summer while staying in Oberdobling. He also composed the "Kreutzer" Violin Sonata.

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Beethoven finished his Seventh and Eighth Symphonies about the time this life mask was made. He was also involved with his "Immortal Beloved," Antonie Brentano.

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Beethoven at age forty-five, 1815, the year his brother Caspar Carl died. Beethoven claimed legal custody of his brother's son Karl. Two cello sonatas came from this year, but little else.

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1819, year of the "Hammerklavier" Piano Sonata. Beethoven was also at work on his Ninth Symphony at this time.

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Ferdinand Georg Waldmuller was the finest artist ever to paint Beethoven's portrait, which he did in 1823, but Schiller did not think much of this likeness. Beethoven, 53, finished his Ninth Symphony and Diabelli Variations this year.

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At the end of his life Beethoven was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver which had resulted in jaundice. On his death bed, the Great Composer reportedly said, “My day’s work is done; if a physician can still be of use in my case, ‘his name shall be called wonderful.’” The quotation is from Handel’s "Messiah."

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  1. Sharon Savary posted on 04/11/2014 10:05 AM
    Where is the real Beethoven, the life mask done of Beethoven by Franz Klein? That is the actual Beethoven. I would love to have a picture of this mask to frame and hang in my hone.
  2. Jacqueline Langley posted on 04/11/2014 10:05 AM
    This is a wonderful addition to an understanding of this monumental man. Thank you!
  3. KenOC posted on 04/11/2014 11:47 PM
    With all of Beethoven's pictures, I'm not at all sure I would recognize him on the street! Look at the portraits in 1815 and 1819. Is this really the same person?
  4. Eric posted on 04/17/2014 07:56 AM
    "Photo Essay" of Beethoven? You may want to rename that as photography wasn't invented until many years after Beethoven's death.
  5. William Bonnett posted on 04/18/2014 07:25 AM
    Boy I wished I had this information in 1969 when I had to do a paper on Beethoven in my senior year in college. Have loved his music ever since. Thanks for the great pictures.
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