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Ludwig von Beethoven One of the greatest musical geniuses of all time didnt even know his own birthday Ludwig von Beethoven was born second in his family behind Ludwig Maria his older brother who died very young This loss may still have stung their parents Their pain could have overshadowed the second Ludwigs own early childhood The brothers shared a name Ludwig which probably added to his confusion A common mistake is the claim that Beethoven was born on December 17 1770 This is actually the date of his baptism which suggests that he may have been born on December 16 but the details are unknown Although his birthday is unknown we do know that he was born in Bonn Germany Miserably brought up there by a father who wanted him to become a profitable musical infant prodigy he joined the Elector of Colognes orchestra He eventually received lessons from Mozart in Vienna a city in which he would later settle down He also studied under Haydn Albrechtsberger and possibly Salieri Mainly Beethoven played piano but he also played violin and viola among others Beethovens music is generally divided into three periods The first around 1792-1802 was termed the Classical Period During this period he wrote his first two symphonies the first six quartets his Pathtique and Moonlight sonatas and gradually personalized his style It was also during this period that he started to develop hearing loss around age thirty This condition may have started as an untreated ear infection and would eventually render him almost completely deaf Beethovens second period was around 1803-1812 and included his Eroica symphony and the Kreutzer sonata among others The final period one he helped usher in was the Romantic period began in 1813 and included his Choral symphony and his last five quartets Overall Beethoven composed 9 symphonies 1 opera 32 piano sonatas 5 piano concertos 16 string quartets and 16 sonatas for one instrument and a piano
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