Beethoven's Stature (01:05)
Experts convey Beethoven's status as a towering musical genius. His music is rooted in human frailty and optimism.
After a brief reflection on opus no. 133, among Beethoven's last works, we learn about his early life. His father was a court musician.
Early Beethoven (01:41)
A pianist plays a sonata by one of Beethoven's teachers to show the sort of music he would have been assigned, then plays a piano concerto Beethoven wrote at 13.
Cultural Background (01:44)
Young Beethoven's Bonn was a highly cultured, musical place, encouraged by its rulers. Young Beethoven made aristocratic connections, learning courtly etiquette.
Beethoven and Mozart (01:36)
Beethoven played viola in the court orchestra, performing Mozart's works. He was seen as Mozart's potential successor; it is unknown if he met Mozart while in Vienna.
Haydn Tutors Beethoven (00:43)
Beethoven's mother and sister died; his father took to drink. Beethoven became head of the household.
Haydn's Pupil (03:07)
Haydn took Beethoven on as pupil in Vienna; Beethoven acquired a reputation as fashionable but brusque. Haydn was shocked at Beethoven's duplicity.
Establishing Reputation (04:10)
Wider audiences liberated musicians from patrons; Beethoven presented a 1795 piano concerto before a large audience. He drew on Mozart and others.
Difficult Pieces (01:23)
Beethoven created pieces designed to be too difficult for Viennese imitators to play.
Opus 1 and 2 (01:40)
Beethoven published Opus no. 1 at 24; publishing fees became his main source of income. Opus no. 2 followed shortly.
Second Sonata (01:09)
In the Second Sonata, Beethoven put in fingering that apparently only he could perform; other pianists have to use a variation.
Cello Sonata (01:19)
A cellist comments on the slow introduction and long pause to begin Opus 5 no. 2 cello sonata.
Beethoven dedicated sonatas to female students and others he fell in love with.
String Quartets and First Symphony (03:21)
Beethoven created sonatas mostly for money. String quartets show growing confidence in his genius. His First Symphony likely shocked the audience due to originality.
Moonlight Sonata (02:22)
Beethoven's hearing began to go. Love with pupil Giulietta Guicciardi brightened life, but her parents forbade marriage. He dedicated the Moonlight Sonata to her.
Heiligenstadt Testament (02:21)
Despairing over the hearing loss he sought to hide, Beethoven contemplated suicide, but found he must not die before he fulfilled his artistic vision.
Kreutzer Sonata (01:53)
In the tumultuous Kreutzer Sonata, Beethoven produced extremes and tension.
An expert comments on the remarkably varied music in Beethoven's C-Minor Piano Concerto, and its break with tradition.
Beethoven continued experimenting, exploring his peculiar talents, such as repeated notes and gliding down the piano. He helped make the piano more powerful.
Difficult Tenant (02:10)
Beethoven created constant problems for the landlord of his apartment; he once had a hold chiseled in his wall for a window, intending to improve the view.
Personal and Business Life (01:24)
Beethoven's letters on his unrequited love for Josephine, business difficulties, and chronic pain are quoted.
Fidelio Story (01:42)
Beethoven created the opera, "Leonore" ("Fidelio,") with themes of love and liberty; a woman rescues her husband from prison.
Pizarro, villain in Beethoven's opera, has an almost impossible singing part, an emotional eruption.
Experts relate "Leonore" to Beethoven's personal struggles and ideals.
Violin Concerto (01:49)
Opus 61 Violin Concerto is considered a love story; a performer says it gives a feeling of insecurity.
Credits: In Search of Beethoven: Part One (00:28)
Credits: In Search of Beethoven: Part One
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