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Beethoven was a musical giant. He wasn’t taller or fatter than everyone else, but his music is big and his name is important. Beethoven is like the Olympic champion of classical music. Some of the music he wrote is strong and serious, and some of it is very gentle. Listen here to orchestras, pianos, violins and other instruments playing some of the most famous pieces of all!
Colorado Public Radio
Ludwig van Beethoven (born in 1770 • died in 1827)
When Beethoven was a young man, he was known as a brilliant pianist and a brilliant composer. But he didn’t really have a happy life.
He was born in the German city of Bonn and he gave his first public concert at the age of seven. But his father was very strict and made him practise for hours every day.
When he was in his 20s and already famous, he began to go deaf. Imagine how awful that was for such a great musician: to him, music was getting softer and softer, until he could hardly hear a thing. He bashed his poor piano more and more as he tried to hear what he was playing. He became grumpy!
But he loved music so much that he kept composing. He heard music in his head and wrote it down on paper: when he looked at the paper, he could hear it again in his head.
When his Ninth Symphony was played for the first time, Beethoven sat by the stage and tried to help with the conducting. At the end, everyone started clapping and cheering. But Beethoven didn’t realise they were doing it because he had his back to them and he couldn’t hear them. One of the musicians came and turned him around to face the audience, and he could see that they were all standing up and applauding. He realised how much they liked his symphony. It was a big moment for him.
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My First Beethoven Album