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Ludwig van Beethoven

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Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was a German composer, musician, virtuoso and conductor. His style ties in directly with that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn, with whom he is counted among the First Viennese School. He brought classicism to completion and introduced romance. He is counted among the most influential composers. His oeuvre has had a dominant influence on nineteenth-century music.

Beethoven's oeuvre is generally divided into three periods. The early, in which he wrote many commissioned works and was strongly influenced by Mozart and Haydn, is about to end when his deafness starts. In the middle period, with highlights such as the opera Fidelio and the Third Symphony "Eroica", he established his fame. Because of his large-scale, often politically motivated works, this time is now often referred to as the "heroic". However, Beethoven also wrote pieces such as the Sixth "Pastoral" symphony - very different in atmosphere, though no less passionate.

Between 1792 and 1794, while now permanently settled in Vienna, he took lessons with Joseph Haydn. But it didn't click between the two. Haydn wasn't too happy with the 'rage' in Beethoven's music and even attempted to stop the publication of one of his first piano trios. Beethoven thought he was not learning enough with Haydn and secretly took lessons with the composer Johann Baptist Schenk, who turned out to be a better teacher, because mistakes were corrected in Beethoven's work that Haydn - possibly due to lack of interest - had overlooked. This might suggest that Haydn had not correctly estimated the size of Beethoven's talent at the time.