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Ludwig van Beethoven

(1770-1827)

Beethoven’s Early Period  (Cont.)

COMMENTARY

Beethoven's grandfather

Beethoven's father

Beethoven's mother

Beethoven's brother Johann

Early Life (cont.)

FAMILY BACKGROUND

GRANDFATHER:

Ludwig van Beethoven  (1712-1773)  was court kapellmeister at Bonn, in charge of music at the chapel (from 1761 to his death in 1773). Beethoven was only three when his grandfather died, but he revered him and always kept his portrait hanging in his home until his death.


FATHER:

Johann van Beethoven  (1739-1792)  was a teacher, singer (tenor), violinist, and pianist. Lived under his father’s shadow, was an alcoholic, and attempted to promote his son Ludwig as a “second Mozart” in the hopes of repeating Leopold Mozart’s financial success. Many eyewitness accounts attest to the mis-treatment of Beethoven by his father.

MOTHER:

Maria Magdalena (1746-1787)  Beethoven had a warm relationship with his mother (as opposed to his father), and her untimely death of consumption in 1787 not only cut short Beethoven’s first trip to Vienna (ostensibly to study with Mozart), but also caused Beethoven true grief. By contrast, when Beethoven’s father died in 1792, Beethoven did NOT return to Bonn (he never did), and in all of the correspondence of Beethoven throughout his life, his father’s name is mentioned only once.  His mother’s death inaugurated the most difficult time of Beethoven’s early life, the years 1878-1792, during which Beethoven took on the role of breadwinner for his family, surrogate father for his younger brothers, and watched his father descend into deeper drunken oblivion.


BROTHERS:

Ludwig Maria (lived only six days, was born in 1769)

Caspar Carl (1774-1815)

Nikolaus Johann (1776-1848)