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Beethoven. The Great Deaf - Great And Terrible
Beethoven. The Great Deaf - Great And Terrible

Video: Beethoven. The Great Deaf - Great And Terrible

Video: Beethoven. The Great Deaf - Great And Terrible
Video: Was Beethoven REALLY deaf ? (Find out) 2023, March

The musical work of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is recognized as one of the peaks in the history of world art. Composer, conductor, pianist, he became a key figure in Western classical music in the period between classicism and romanticism … But how bleak the life of the generally recognized genius turned out to be!

Diagnostic guess

An impulsive type of emotionally unstable personality disorder (psychopathy). Somatogenic dysphoric depression (dysphoria - a melancholy, angry mood with irritability).

Harpsichord test

Ludwig's childhood cannot be called rosy. The father, suffering from alcoholism, with excessively rude persistence tried to make a famous musician out of his son. Returning home late at night, he often woke the child and beat him to the harpsichord. Dreaming that his son would achieve the fame of Mozart, he forced the unfortunate boy to do the exercises for seven to eight hours in a row. And only Ludwig's innate talent allowed him not to “break down” and not to hate music: at the age of eight he held his first concert in Cologne. Throughout his life, Beethoven believed that "the highest distinction of a person is perseverance in overcoming the most cruel obstacles."

Material deprivation forced Ludwig to start early to work in the court chapel as an organist. He never attended a gymnasium, from Latin he knew only everyday expressions, and spoke French with difficulty. The penchant for solitude turned out to be a characteristic feature of his personality. All biographers portray the young Beethoven as a taciturn and pensive young man who prefers solitude to the company of his peers.

After the death of his mother, all the care for the two younger brothers fell on the shoulders of Ludwig: he got a job at the opera house, where he played the viola, gave lessons, and gave concerts. And he continued to study with the best teachers in Vienna - the famous composers Haydn and Salieri, and in 1796 he already began to publish his first works.

Over a thousand princes

Severe childhood and adolescence turned into adult life full of labor and hardship, forming an independent and brutal character in the composer, which manifested itself "regardless of faces." For example, when one of his patrons, Prince Likhnovsky, wanted the young pianist to perform in front of children and guests, Ludwig refused. The prince ordered the servants to break down the door to the composer's room. In indignation, Beethoven left the prince's estate, and the next morning sent him a letter with the words that eventually became famous: “Prince! For what you are, you owe your chance and origin; what I am I owe myself. There are and will be thousands of princes, Beethoven is one!"

Beethoven's behavior was often extraordinary and made communication with him extremely difficult, gave rise to quarrels, sometimes ending in a prolonged termination of relations even with people devoted to him, whom he valued, considering close friends. This gave the researchers reason to believe that he was a "severe psychopath." Beethoven was distinguished by his suspiciousness, which was supported by his fear of hereditary tuberculosis. He wrote: "Added to this is melancholy, which is for me almost as great a disaster as the disease itself."

Interesting Facts


Portrait of 1803. Artist - Christian Horneman

  • The musician loved coffee and always brewed it from 64 beans.
  • Like many geniuses, Beethoven was indifferent to his appearance. He often walked disheveled and unkempt.
  • On the day of the musician's death, nature was raging: bad weather broke out with a blizzard, hail and thunder. At the last moment of his life, Ludwig raised his fist and threatened the sky or higher powers.
  • One of the great sayings of the genius: "Music should strike fire from the human soul."

Love is like music

Beethoven's relationship with women deserves a special mention, since it could not but influence his work. Many wonderful works are dedicated to women, which the composer left us as a legacy. Most often they were the fruit of his passionate, but unrequited love. Beethoven's personal life did not work out. There is an assumption that "he did not know women at all, although he fell in love many times, and remained a virgin for the rest of his life." A friend of the composer, Franz Wegeler, recalled: "… as far as I know, all his lovers belonged to a higher class." Perhaps the word "beloved" was used in a platonic sense.

In 1801, Beethoven fell in love with his student Countess Juliet Guicciardi, a frivolous young lady with musical talent. The famous "Moonlight Sonata" (1802) is dedicated to this particular girl, who later married the composer's rival, Count R. Gallenberg. So, in constant falling in love "to madness", in dreams of happiness, followed by disappointment very soon, his days passed. "And it is in these alternations - love, pride, indignation - that one must look for the most fruitful sources of Beethoven's inspiration."

Everything upside down


"Beethoven in love was even ready to play in public."

"In his habits, Beethoven was very clumsy and helpless. There was not the slightest grace in his awkward movements. He rarely took anything in his hands without dropping or breaking … He did not have intact furniture, at least not of value; everything was overwhelmed, stained, broken "(Remembering Beethoven: biographical notes of Franz Wegeler and Ferdinand Rees. M.: Classic-XXI, 2001).

Grim hermit

Beginning in 1796, Beethoven began to develop deafness, tragic for any musician. Even at night there was a continuous noise in his ears, his hearing was weakening more and more. And this led to even greater melancholy, morbid distrust, irritability. In the works of this period (1802-1803), there was a transition to a new Beethoven style. In the second symphony, in piano sonatas and variations, in the Kreutzer Sonata, in songs based on texts by the German poet Christian Gellert, Beethoven reveals the unprecedented strength of the playwright and emotional depth.

The disease progressed. The musician performed his last concert in 1808. Conductor's performances gradually became impossible. By this time, Beethoven no longer needed money, but at the same time he lived in a dilapidated house in the small village of Heiligenstadt near Vienna, which gave the impression of extreme poverty. Due to his deafness, he became a hermit, appeared less and less in society, which clearly indicated the growing melancholy. Depression overtook the composer at the zenith of his fame, and although the patrons gave him a substantial pension, despair more and more seized him until the disease reached its climax in the thought of suicide, expressed in the Heiligenstadt testament. This stunning document, dated October 1802, - a farewell letter to the brothers, makes it possible to understand all his mental anguish and experiences.“It seemed inconceivable to me to leave this world before I accomplished what I felt called to be,” writes Beethoven. For a conversation, he began to need notebooks in which the interlocutors wrote their questions and answers to the musician.

"Wet" inspiration


Portrait of Joseph Karl Stieler, created in the spring of 1820, is the most popular depiction of Beethoven.

The process of creating famous Beethoven's works was distinguished by its originality. “Often, in the deepest negligee, he stood at the sink, poured one jug after another into his hands, while muttering, then howling (he could not sing), not noticing that he was already standing like a duck in water, then he walked a little Once around the room with terribly rolling eyes or a completely frozen gaze and a seemingly meaningless face, he went from time to time to the writing table to take notes, and then continued his washing with a howl further. No matter how funny these scenes were always, but no one should have noticed them, even less interfere with this wet inspiration, because these were moments, or rather, hours of deepest reflection. According to the testimony of his friends, “while he was working he howled like an animal and rushed about the room,reminding him of his tortured appearance of a violent madman”(O. Face. HOMO MUSICUS: Genealogy and Psychology of Musicians. M., 1911).

Destructive overstrain

It would be wrong to explain all the negative qualities of Beethoven exclusively by increasing deafness, since many of his character traits manifested themselves already in his youth. “The most significant reason for his increased irritability, quarrelsomeness and imperiousness, bordering on arrogance, was an unusually intense style of work, when he tried to curb his ideas and ideas with external concentration and with the greatest efforts squeezed creative plans. Such an excruciating, exhausting style of work constantly kept the brain and nervous system on the edge of the possible, in a state of tension. This striving for the best, and sometimes for the unattainable, was expressed in the fact that he often, unnecessarily, delayed ordered compositions, not at all caring about the deadlines."

But no illness could interfere with the continuous flow of genius inspiration, and, to everyone's surprise, it was during these years that Beethoven created his most famous works one after another. It can be assumed that deafness, forcing him to self-deepening and condemning him to loneliness, contributed to the formation and development of the musical genius and energy of the great composer.

During his life, the composer suffered many somatic diseases: smallpox, rheumatism, heart disease, angina pectoris, gout, cirrhosis of the liver (as a result of either alcoholism or syphilis). The presence of such disorders could hardly contribute to a good mood and a joyful outlook on life. Therefore, Beethoven looked like an old man already at the age of fifty.


  • Beethoven L. Note to Prince Karl Lichnovsky (September or October 1806) // Beethoven's Letters. 1789-1811 years. M.: Music, 1970.
  • Gruzenberg S. O. Genius and creativity. Foundations of the theory and psychology of creativity. L.: Publishing house of P. P. Soikin, 1924.
  • Ivanyuk T. I. Creativity and personality. M.: Publishing house of TOP, 2006.
  • Neumayr A. Music and Medicine. T. 1. On the example of the Vienna classical school. Rostov-on-Don: Phoenix Publishing House, 1997.
  • Rolland R. Beethoven's Life // Collected Works in 14 volumes. V. 2. Moscow: GIHL, 1954. P. 5–74.
  • Müller E. Johann und sein Großer Sohn Ludwig van Beethoven // Psichiatrisch-Neurolologische Wochenschrift. 1939. Bd. 41. S. 323-326, 334-336.

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