Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany on December 16, 1770 â€” and is known as one of the greatest composers in history. His work marked a turning point for composers, who had previously written primarily for religious services, or to teach, or entertain at social functions. But Beethoven's music was listened to for pleasure. His pioneering work gave musicians a new freedom to express themselves. Happy Birthday Beethoven! [Editor's Note: An updated version of this topic can be found here: Ludwig van Beethoven]
Yup, you read it correctly. This is a page devoted entirely to Beethoven jokes. All of them are entirely clean, of course, with the exception of this one: "What's brown and sits on a piano bench?" I'll let you look up the punch line. While there, you can browse the rest of the Beethoven Depot site which includes a Beethoven discussion board, chat room, mailing list, portrait gallery, and a large MIDI collection of Beethoven's works.
"Beethoven is recognized by many as the greatest composer whoever lived. But very often we overlook the man in favor of seeing the feats of the master composer. This biography is dedicated to exploring the life of this most unique genius in an endeavor to discover more of the man behind the music." In addition to the detailed biography, you'll find a well-organized portrait gallery and a few fascinating (but wordy) peeks into the history behind several of Beethoven's major works (listed under Research Projects.)
Beethoven's early compositions under the tutelage of composer Christian Gottlob Neefe, in his late teenage years, signaled his impressive talent. It was planned that Beethoven study in Vienna with Mozart. Mozart's death in 1791, however, prevented this. Beethoven went to Vienna anyway, and became a pupil of the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn. If you can read the red lettering placed on the stormy clouds, in addition to the Beethoven biography, you'll find a catalogue of Beethoven's works â€” some of which are available for listening in Real Audio format.
The Symphony of Friendship is a story told and illustrated by school children from Bando, Japan about the Japanese custom of playing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Christmas. "This story was put on the Internet on Christmas Eve, 1995. It is a Christmas present to the children of the world." It tells the tale of a German soldier in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War I. As you read the story, think about the differences between how the Japanese children describe the POW camp, and your perceptions of what a World War I Japanese prisoner camp might have been like.