BEETHOVEN, bi-to-fen, Ludwig Van, the greatest orchestral composer of the 19th century: b. Bonn, 16 Dec. 1770; d. Vienna, 26 March 1827. While classed among the German masters, the Dutch Van in his name (which is not a sign of nobility) indicates his descent from a family in the Netherlands, the world's musical centre in the 15th and 16th centuries. This family moved in 1650 from Louvain to Antwerp. Beethoven's grandfather was a bass singer and a conductor; his father was a tenor, who did not lead an exemplary life; his in-. come was only $150 a year, wherefore it is not surprising that he eagerly availed himself of his son's musical talent and exploited it. He personally taught Ludwig to play the violin and the clavier, in the hope of making of him a (wonder-child° like Mozart. While Ludwig was not remarkably precocious (he even shed tears over his music lessons), he is said to have written a funeral cantata at 11, and in the same year was taken on a concert-tour by his father, who, to make his performances seem more remarkable, represented him as being two years younger. Before he had reached his 12th year the organist Neefe spoke of him as (playing with force and finish, reading well at sight, and, to sum up all, playing the greater part of Bach's (Well-Tempered Clavier,' a feat which will be understood by the initiated. If he goes on as he began, he will certainly be come a second Mozart.° Mozart himself appears to have been of this opinion, for when he heard young Beethoven improvise in Vienna he exclaimed to the by standers, ((Keep your eyes on him! He will give the world something to talk about!) This was in 1787. Beethoven had been sent to Vienna in the hope that he might be able to take lessons of Mozart; apparently he did take a few, but the illness of his mother made him hasten back to Bonn. Although Bonn was a small town, it had quite a musical atmosphere, and Beethoven had good opportunities to be come acquainted with the operas and the con cert pieces then in vogue. He was only 13 when he got a position as assistant court organ ist, and subsequently he played the pianoforte accompaniments at the rehearsals of the opera orchestra. He also played the viola. His first salaried position ($63 a year) was as assistant organist under Reicha. The most important
occurrence of the Bonn period was the forma tion of an intimate friendship with Count vdn Waldstein, to whom he subsequently dedicated one of his best sonatas. The Count had promptly recognized his genius, and it was probably owing to his suggestion that the Elector of Cologne, Max Franz, decided to pro vide the young musician with the means for going to Vienna again and there continuing his studies with Haydn, to whom Beethoven had already been introduced when Haydn stopped at Bonn, in 1790, on his way to London. It was in November 1792, nearly a year after Mozart's death, that Beethoven entered Vienna, which was to remain his home till the end of his life. The lessons from Haydn were duly arranged for and the first was given in Haydn's house on 12 December, the payment being eight gro schen (about 20 cents). But Haydn, like most creators, was not a good teacher and although Beethoven took lessons of him more than a year, he soon began to take his exercises for correction to Schenk before showing them to Haydn. He subsequently took lessons of the pedantic contrapuntist Albrechtsberger, who, however, complained that his pupil was unwill ing to (do anything in decent style* and had too little respect for rules — this last being a peculiarity which he, fortunately, soon began to mamfest in his compositions. To these com positions he was so lucicy as to be able to devote nearly all his time. From his father he re ceived no pecuniary assistance, but there were several sources of income. Prince Lichnowsky gave him an annual stipend of 600 florins, and when, in 1809, an attempt was made to entice him to Kassel, where a position as Kapell meister was offered him, some of his princely friends gave him an additional annuity of 4,000 florins, to chain him to Vienna. This lasted only till 1811, but at this time he was already deriv ing a considerable income from the sale of his works. Many of his letters show that he !mew how to make a good bargain. Had it not been for a spendthrift nephew, of whom he was very fond, and for whom it was found at the time of his death he had even placed 7,000 florins in the banlc, he would have never suffered any finan cial tribulations such as Mozart and Schubert had to endure all their lives.