MuseData and KernScores: Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) brought the symphony, the concerto, and the string quartet to new to heights not imagined by his musical predecessors or peers. Born in Bonn (Germany), he flourished in Vienna, where he moved in 1792. Soon famous as a pianist, his compositional style began to change course a decade later, when the first signs of his deafness began to appear. A decade after than (in 1812 and 1813), Beethoven suffered financially from the devaluation of Austrian currency and emotionally from the illness of his brother and the prospect (never fully realized) of becoming the guardian of his nephew Karl. Beethoven’s fortunes improved over the next few years, but his hearing continuously declined. The year 1822 saw the completion of what were to be his two final piano sonatas and the Missa Solemnis. The Ninth Symphony was begun in that year. Beethoven remained engaged with writing string quartets almost until his death.
Orchestral repertory: the Symphonies
Beethoven’s works were predominately for instruments, but among them there was immense variety of types and styles, ranging from 29 short piano pieces to his final choral symphony (the Ninth). His orchestral works and string quartets enjoy great currency today. Most of Beethoven’s nine symphonies and seven concertos make stellar contributions to their respective repertories.