Composer Profile: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

“Through uninterrupted diligence you will receive Mozart’s spirit through Haydn’s hands.”
– Count Waldstein’s farewell note to Beethoven, 1792

Although his talent had been obvious since childhood, and developed (often with what would today be regarded as excessive harshness) from his early years, Beethoven’s career didn’t really get started until 1792, when he left his hometown of Bonn in Cologne to study with Haydn in Vienna. By that time Mozart was already dead, and those who were familiar with his work viewed Beethoven as his natural successor. Although Beethoven certainly honoured this expectation stylistically in the early part of his career, it is clear that he was possessed of a confidence and determination unknown to his more self-effacing predecessor. Beethoven knew his worth and was unwilling to accept anything less than his due. Continue reading “Composer Profile: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)”