Thursday, 8 March 2007

Is Ludwig at home?

It is generally acknowledged that Ludwig van Beethoven was fairly good at music. Which is more than you can say for me. In the spirit of culture-seeking I recently took a trip to Beethoven’s home town of Bonn with some friends.

We went to his house. Sadly he wasn’t in. But we did have a nice look around as the house is now open to the public as a museum.

Here are some facts we learned:
• Beethoven was born in 1770.
• In 1782, when he was just 12 years old, Beethoven joined the court orchestra. (By this age I had graduated to the triangle.)
• The same year, being something of a show-off, he published his first composition.
• Ten years later, in 1792, he left Bonn in order to study composition with Joseph Hadyn in Vienna. He was never to return.
• By 1800 Beethoven was having difficulty with his hearing. This later developed into almost total deafness. We saw some of his ear trumpets – impressively large they were too. His deafness is blamed on a number of causes, including: syphilis; a tendency to immerse his ears in cold water to wake himself up; lead poisoning; and typhus.
• In spite of his hearing problems, his output was immense: symphonies, concertos, overtures, quartets, duets…
• He died in 1827. A death mask was taken of his face and this is on show in the museum.

Find out more…


Anna said...

Having not worked for 13 months, I may have to resort to immersing my ears in cold water when I start work next week!

Mel said...

Alarm clocks, like almost all other consumer goods in the United States of America, ceased production in the spring of 1942, as the factories which made them were converted over to war work during World War II. But they were one of the first consumer items to resume manufacture for civilian use, in November of 1944. By that time, a critical shortage of alarm clocks had developed due to older clocks wearing out or breaking down. Workers were late for, or missed completely, their scheduled shifts in jobs critical to the war effort because "my alarm clock is broken". The alarm clocks thus produced using new designs became the first "postwar" consumer goods to be made, before the war had even ended. The price of these "emergency" clocks was, however, still strictly regulated by the Office of Price Administration.

Perhaps they should have tried the cold water?