Beethoven, Ludwig von (17701827)

Beethoven, Ludwig von, one of the greatest musical composers, born in Bonn, of Dutch extraction; the author of symphonies and sonatas that are known over all the world; showed early a most precocious genius for music, commenced his education at five as a musician; trained at first by a companion named Pfeiffer, to whom he confessed he owed more than all his teachers; trained at length under the tuition of the most illustrious of his predecessors, Bach and Händel; revealed the most wonderful musical talent; quitted Bonn and settled in Vienna; attracted the attention of Mozart; at the age of 40 was attacked with deafness that became total and lasted for life; continued to compose all the same, to the admiration of thousands; during his last days was a prey to melancholy; during a thunderstorm he died. Goethe pronounced him at his best “an utterly untamed character, not indeed wrong in finding the world detestable, though his finding it so did not,” he added, “make it more enjoyable to himself or to others” (17701827).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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