Happy Birthday Uncle Ludie! from Curtis Rittenhouse

By on December 16, 2011

A friend just reminded me that today is Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthday. If he were still alive he’s be 241, which would make it hard for him to blow out the candles on his cake. From what I’ve read of the man, there were probably few friends baking him cakes on these occasions because he was irascible, demanding and a terrible party guest. He was slovenly and unkempt. He was a dud with the women he pursued. His nephew who moved in with him finally attempted suicide.

He did however write great music. His nine symphonies have been recorded now by dozens of conductors and orchestras great and small. Play the first few notes of the third and fifth symphonies and faces light up immediately in recognition. His mighty ninth symphony is a regular at so many special musical occasions. The choral Ninth  influenced most of his successors, especially Brahms and Mahler who found it intimidating. His piano music is also well-regarded. There are few forms he did not master, although his sole opera Fidelio had a prolonged and difficult birth.

There has been no need for a Beethoven revival at any time. Since he died musicians and audience alike have revered him. His time came right away. If you want to hear something of his you may not know, I’d recommend the Handelian Consecration of the House Overture, a glorious piece, or the Barnum and Bailey ‘Battle Symphony’ or the charming bagatelle for piano The Rage Over The Lost Penny.

So let’s raise a glass to this genius. Happy Birthday Ludwig. Love your music but I’m  glad I wasn’t related to you.


Curtis Rittenhouse

About Tom Godfrey

12 comments on “Happy Birthday Uncle Ludie! from Curtis Rittenhouse

  1. Nicolette Norris on said:

    Ha! Thanks, Tom, for reminding us about Beethoven’s personality! Let me see what next I can think up for you to write about…

  2. Pat Walsh on said:

    Thanks for the reminder Tom. Beethoven lived a strange and perhaps difficult life, but I love his music. Now, I’ll put in one of my Beethoven CDs and wish him Happy Birthday!

  3. Dalton Phelan on said:

    Merely wanna comment on few general things, The website style is perfect, the subject matter is very excellent : D.

    • TGodfrey on said:

      Many thanks for your kind words. I have put up another piece this morning. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions on future postings. Please stay in touch. Tom

  4. Maura Toma on said:

    Simply wanna comment on few general things, The website style is perfect, the written content is very good : D.

  5. Marvin Heldman on said:

    I am not very good with English but I find this rattling easy to interpret.

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