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Ludwig van Beethoven: “Für Elise and Moonlight Sonata, Movement 1”

I shy away from writing posts about the classical greats like Beethoven because I know nothing about them or the music and am very likely to embarrass myself. It’s like somebody who doesn’t follow baseball writing about Ruth or Aaron. It doesn’t make sense.

Nonetheless, the music is quite beautiful. Above is Für Elise played by Valentina Lisitsa — who is greeted like a rock star when she walks on stage — and the Seoul Philharmonic. Below is the First Movement of The Moonlight Sonata played by Wilhelm Kempff.

Here is something about the great composer:

The Beethoven biography starts with his baptism. He was baptized on December 17th 1770 at Bonn. His family originated from Brabant, in Belgium. His father was a musician at the court of Bonn, with a definite weakness for alcohol. His mother was always described as a gentle, retiring woman, with a warm heart. Beethoven referred to her as his “best friend.” The Beethoven family consisted of seven children, but only the three boys survived, of whom Ludwig was the eldest.

At an early age, van Beethoven, took an interest in music and his father taught him day and night, on returning to the house from music practice or the tavern. Without a doubt, the child was gifted and his father Johann envisioned creating a new Mozart, a child prodigy.

On March 26th 1778, at the age of 7½, Ludwig Van Beethoven gave his first public performance at Cologne. His father announced that he was 6 years-old. Because of this Beethoven always thought that he was younger than he actually was. Even much later, when he received a copy of his baptism certificate, he thought it belonged to his brother Ludwig Maria, whowas born two before him and died as a child. (Continue Reading…)

Here are links to another bio, the Beethoven-Haus — a research institute located in the composer’s birth house in Bonn — and a timeline of his life.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

🎼🎺🎻🎹🎷🎶🎵

The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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