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Lugwig van Beethoven

(1770-1827) born on Dec 16th

Greatest composer who ever lived.

Beethoven's triumph over his deafness - his ability to compose even though he could not hear his own music - is one of the great miracles of art. Beethoven lived for fifty-six years and three months. His childhood was spent in his home town of Bonn; his entire adult life in the great musical city of Vienna. Beethoven's first public performance was in Vienna, where he premieres either his First or Second Piano Concerto. 

When Beethoven entered his thirtieth year, he began to suffer from an annoying roaring and buzzing in both ears. Soon his hearing began to fail and, for all he often would enjoy untroubled intervals lasting for months at a time, his disability finally ended in complete deafness. At about the same time Beethoven noticed that his digestion began to suffer. ...At no time accustomed to taking medical advice seriously, he began to develop a liking for spirituous beverages, in order to stimulate his decreasing appetite and to aid his stomach weakness by excessive use of strong punch and iced drinks. ... He contracted a severe inflammation of the intestines which, though it yielded to treatment, later on often gave rise to intestinal pains and aching colics and which, in part, must have favored the eventual development of his mortal illness which is thought to be liver damage due to excessive drinking.

Beethoven once had a terrible Typhus [fever with clouding of the mind]. From this time on dated the ruin of his nervous system (probably cause by the infection and resulted in seizures which also affected his hearing) and probably the ruin of his hearing, so calamitous in his case.

The onset of his deafness affected him socially more than musically. His reactions--despair, resignation, and defiance. Resolving finally to "seize fate by the throat," he emerged from the crisis with a series of triumphant works that mark the beginning of a new period in his stylistic development.


"We mortals with immortal minds are only born for sufferings and joys, and one could almost say that the most excellent receive joy through sufferings."

" misfortune pains me doubly, in as much as it leads to my being misjudged. For me there can be no relaxation in human society; no refined conversations, no mutual confidences. I must live quite alone and may creep into society only as often as sheer necessity demands; I must live like an outcast. If I appear in company I am overcome by a burning anxiety, a fear that I am running the risk of letting people notice my condition...such experiences almost made me despair, and I was on the point of putting an end to my life - the only thing that held me back was my art. For indeed it seemed to me impossible to leave this world before I had produced all the works that I felt the urge to compose, and thus I have dragged on this miserable existence..."