Did you know that 2020 is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), German pianist and composer widely considered to be one of the greatest musical geniuses of all time?
His music continues to uplift and enrich the lives of people all over the globe. The story of how he fought off despair as he lost his hearing and composed masterpiece after masterpiece, still inspires.
Celebrations for the 250th anniversary are planned around the globe: concert halls are programming marathons of his music; museums are launching exhibitions; and new boxed sets of his complete works are being released by Warner Classics (on 80 CDs) and Deutsche Grammophon (on 118). In New York alone, Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center plan to present a series of Beethoven programs.
Here is the website to Beethoven-Haus, his birthplace in Bonn, now a museum https://www.beethoven.de/en/museum. It displays the console of an organ that he played as a child at early mass at a nearby church; the viola he played in the court orchestra; and his last grand piano.
- Beethoven’s house in Vienna is also a museum.
- The Austrian National Library has a special exhibition in the State Hall entitled “Beethoven. World of the Man and Spark of the Gods.
- Closer to home, The Morgan Library & Museum’s collection of Beethoven’s autograph manuscripts, including the “Archduke” Trio and Symphony No. 7, are on display in this online exhibition.
- NPR’s artist page on Beethoven also features interviews, features and performances.
Here are Livingston Public Library digital resources to help you join in the celebration of this creative genius:
You can learn about the composer’s life and music and also hear audio samples of his most famous creations at World Book Online accessible with your Livingston Library card.
Copying Beethoven: This movie gives a fictional take on the triumphs and heartaches of Ludwig van Beethoven’s last years
Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph by Jan Swafford
This magnificent biography of Beethoven peels away layers of legend to get to the living, breathing human being who composed some of the world’s most iconic music.
Great Masters: Beethoven – His Life and Music by Robert Greenberg (AUDIOBOOK)
In this perceptive series of eight lectures on the life and music of Ludwig van Beethoven, you will likely find that you hear his work in an entirely different way, with your insight informed by new knowledge of how Beethoven was able to create masterpieces from the crises of his life.
For more reading suggestions, here are 5 books inspired by Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian