December 2020: 250 years since the Birth of Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven (c.17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Classical music, and remains one of the most recognized and influential of all composers.
Beethoven felt a disdain for authority and social rank. He stopped performing at the piano if the audience chatted amongst themselves, or did not give him their full attention. At soirées, he refused to perform if suddenly called upon to do so. Eventually, after many confrontations, his patron, the Archduke Rudolph, decreed that the usual rules of court etiquette did not apply to the composer.
Beethoven's life was troubled by his encroaching loss of hearing and chronic abdominal pain since his twenties. He contemplated suicide and was often irascible. Nevertheless, he had a close and devoted circle of friends all his life, thought to have been attracted by his strength of personality.