Shopper goes high-brow ... here are 10 interesting facts about Ludwig van Beethoven

This Is Local London: Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven

NEVER let it be said we’re not cultured here and don’t give you something high-brow once in a while ... for today’s daily trivia topic we’re looking at Ludwig van Beethoven.

The reason is it was on this day in 1792 when the German-born musical genius is said to have had his first music lesson with the ‘father of symphony’ Joseph Haydn.

To mark that occasion which helped establish him as one of the greats of classical music, here are 10 facts about Beethoven:

  • He was born in Bonn, Germany, in December 1770 but there has always been confusion about his actual birthday. December 16 is considered the likely date.
  • Beethoven thought he was younger than he was. One bizarre story related to this goes that at his first public performance aged seven in 1778 his father announced he was only six years old, possibly to make his son appear even more advanced than he was.
  • He published his first work in 1782 aged just 11. The following year renowned musician Gottlob Neefe wrote Beethoven could be the ”new Mozart”.
  • Beethoven first went to Vienna in 1787 to meet Mozart who is thought to have predicted “don’t forget his name – you will hear it spoken often!” Beethoven returned to Bonn because his mother was dying. He went back to the Austrian capital five years later to continue his musical education, including lessons with Haydn among others.
  • He started going deaf in his mid-20s, around 1796. He communicated with friends by having them write down what they wanted to say in ‘conversation books’, compared to an early form of texting!
  • Looking particularly shabby one day – and possibly due to his reported love of a drink – Beethoven was arrested after being mistaken for a tramp.
  • There are a few theories about his last words such as “applaud friends, the comedy is ended’ (in Latin) or “I shall hear in heaven”. but his last recorded words were ‘pity, pity, too late!’ in relation to a gift of wine from his publisher.
  • Beethoven would dip his head in ice-cold water before composing.
  • His height is put at between 5ft 3in and 5ft 5in – in any case, a short man.
  • The family dog in the Beethoven films got its name after barking along to the composer’s Fifth Symphony.

Stay tuned for more fun facts about a different topic coming your way tomorrow.

Comments (1)

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10:12am Thu 12 Dec 13

Gypo.Joe says...

I like "Roll over Beethoven" be Chuck Berry, or the Beatles. I got them both on 45s.

"Well, early in the mornin' I'm a-givin' you a warnin'
Don't you step on my blue suede shoes.
Hey diddle diddle, I am playin' my fiddle,
Ain't got nothin' to lose.
Roll Over Beethoven and tell Tschaikowsky the news"
I like "Roll over Beethoven" be Chuck Berry, or the Beatles. I got them both on 45s. "Well, early in the mornin' I'm a-givin' you a warnin' Don't you step on my blue suede shoes. Hey diddle diddle, I am playin' my fiddle, Ain't got nothin' to lose. Roll Over Beethoven and tell Tschaikowsky the news" Gypo.Joe

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