Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Happy Birthday Ludwig Van Beethoven

On Dec. 16*, 1770, one of the giants in classical music, the great composer and pianist, Ludwig Van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany.  Historians are in some dispute on the exact date of his birth. His birthday is celebrated on the 16th because he was baptized on Dec. 17 and most think that means he must have been born on the 16th*.   This would be Ludwig's 250th birthday.

This giant in classical music, sometimes referred to as simply, "the master", was one of the main contributors in developing the transition from the Classical Era to the Romantic Era of music. That is why he is often mentioned in the lists of great composers in both eras. Beethoven is one of my favorite composers, and if I was forced to narrow it down to just one, Beethoven would be my top choice as my favorite composer. 

L.V. Beethoven [1770-1827]
One of my favorite movies is Immortal Beloved, a story of the life of Beethoven set in an exciting dramatic style about the mysterious love of his life.  For anyone who hasn't seen that movie I would suggest getting a copy of it.  It is a great movie for not just fans of classical music but for fans of a love mystery.  And if you aren't big fans of classical music before the movie, you will be after you hear some awesome clips of beautiful melodic music by Beethoven.

Here is the trailer from Immortal Beloved:

Here is the stirring fourth [final] movement of Beethoven's classic dramatic 5th symphony.  This has one of the most exciting triumphant climaxes of any symphony ever composed. 

L.V. Beethoven: Symphony #5 in C minor, Movement 4, Allegro:

Many, if not most fans of classical music consider Beethoven's 9th Symphony, the choral symphony "Ode to Joy" the greatest symphony ever composed.  Here is the stirring, joyful final movement that, if you were in the concert hall to hear in person, just might give you goose bumps. Just remember as you are listening, Beethoven was completely deaf when he composed this symphony. 

L.V. Beethoven:  Symphony #9 in D minor, "Choral-Ode to Joy", movement 4, Recitative - Allegro:

One of the most beloved piano sonatas is Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, with its unique mesmerizing slow tempo first movement and exciting energetic final movement.

L.V. Beethoven: Piano Sonata #14 in C-Sharp minor, "Moonlight":

My favorite piano concerto is Beethoven's "Emperor", piano concerto #5 in E-Flat Major.  Here is the ultra beautiful adagio movement and exciting final movement from this epic concerto. 

Note: there is no break between the second and third movements - just a bridge.

L.V. Beethoven: Piano Concerto #5 in E-Flat Major, "The Emperor", movements 2, Adagio un poco mosso, and 3, Rondo-Allegro ma non troppo:

One of my favorite violin sonatas is Beethoven's sonata #9, "Kreutzer".  The Kreutzer has three movements, 1. Adagio Sostenuto - Presto;  2. Andante con variazioni;  3. Presto.

Please turn up the volume, play full screen and enjoy this spectacular performance by Yuja Wang [piano] and Joshua Bell [violin]. 

L.V. Beethoven: Violin Sonata #9, "Kreutzer":

And finally, along with the Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and Brahms violin concertos, the Beethoven is one of my top 4 violin concertos.  Enjoy the great virtuoso, Hilary Hahn, soloist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra led by Leonard Slatkin. 

L.V. Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major 

Happy 250th Birthday Ludwig Van Beethoven!

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