Ludwig van Beethoven was born in 1770 in Bonn, Germany and died in 1827 in Vienna, Austria. At that time, Germany was part of the Holy Roman Empire.
Immense social and political changes took place in Europe during Beethoven’s lifetime. The French Revolution began during Beethoven’s childhood and ended when he was a young adult. As a young man, Beethoven was very much in favour of the three main principles of the French Revolution; Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
Beethoven moved to Austria when he was 21 years of age. Life in Austria was largely untouched by the changes to society that had occurred in France and Beethoven did not come from an aristocratic background. Like most composers at that time, Beethoven relied on support from music-loving patrons. He had the good fortune to be paid an annual stipend, or salary, by Prince Karl von Lichnowsky. Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op 21 was composed during the six years that Beethoven was supported by Prince Karl von Lichnowsky, and Beethoven dedicated this work to his patron.
Beethoven began suffering from hearing loss in his twenties and by 1802, when he was completing Symphony No. 2, Beethoven was aware that his hearing loss was progressive and quite significant. He wrote a letter to his brothers, which is now famously known as the “Heiligenstadt Testament”. In this letter, which Beethoven didn’t end up sending, he expresses his utter despair over his hearing loss and implies that if it weren’t for his desire to continue composing, he would have ended his life.
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Step 2. Listen to the TSO recording of Allegro Molto
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