A revered cultural icon, Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827) is considered one of the most influential and enigmatic composers of classical music.
A most terrible fate to befall a composer, Beethoven began to suffer hearing loss before his 30th birthday and by the time he was in his 40s he was almost completely deaf. While he had to give up performing concerts he steadfastly continued to compose. Indeed, many of his most illustrious works were created in the last decade of his life.
Beethoven’s masterpieces include 9 symphonies, 16 string quartets, a violin concerto, and 5 piano concertos. His 32 piano sonatas are considered the most important set of that genre.
In honor of the 250th anniversary of his birth we celebrate the life of this great composer and examine the man and the artist through some of his greatest piano sonatas. These include the Pathétique, Moonlight, Appassionata, as well as other sonatas, variations, and some of his most curious compositions – the Bagatelles for piano.
Sonata in C-sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 (“Moonlight”) (1801)
32 Variations in C minor, WoO 80 (1806)