With so many thousands of hills in the world— at least a hundred per famous composer— why does every hill remind every writer of Ludwig van Beethoven?
— Leonard Bernstein, The Joy of Music

I took a few Music History courses this past year, and this image was taken straight from the middle of class. My accomplice in shenanigans over there and I would take goofy pictures in the middle of class in order to entertain ourselves (and our friends) a little bit more. In this image, we can be seen impersonating the hair of the man who I'll be discussing for the next few posts (9 or 10 to be roughly exact).

The man. The not-myth. The legend. Ludwig van Beethoven. To what do we owe the honor of discussing him? I have no idea, but this guy right here could possibly be one of the greatest composers who ever lived. Whether you believe that or not is up to you. Personally, it's very hard to pick one definitive composer as the greatest who has ever lived, so I'm just going to say he's one of the best. Leonard Bernstein has a book called The Joy of Music, in which he discusses with one of his comrades why they think Beethoven is the greatest composer who ever lived. It is a riveting chapter to read, and I would recommend it to all of you. I will be making reference to this discussion quite a bit in our journey through Beethoven's symphonies.

Before we look at his symphonies, let's look a little bit at who Beethoven was. Of course, he was a very talented composer and musician. Born in December of 1770, Beethoven held his first recital at age 7 and his first composition was premiered at age 12. It is rumored that he briefly studied with Mozart early on in his life, and it is known that he studied with Haydn as well. There are so many different highlights in his life that I have brushed over, but that would require an entire history lecture, and we don't want that right now. (Unless you do, in which case, sorry to disappoint).

Beethoven's first symphony is the first of his symphonic works that we will look at. Look for a post on that later this week. Go ahead and go listen to it to prepare yourself. Personally, I love the third movement with the Minuet & Trio. It's wonderfully exciting. I suggest the performance of Leonard Bernstein & New Your Philharmonic.

Until next time, prepare yourself for what's to come. All 9 Beethoven symphonies. Buckle up. It's going to be an awesome adventure.