Johann van Beethoven married Maria Magdalena Leym (nee Keverich).  From her first marriage she bore one son (died in infancy) and seven from her second marriage of whom 4 died in infancy.


16th Dec – Beethoven born at 515 Bonngasse (no.20 today). Baptised at St.Regimus church (17 Dec).


24th Dec – Death of grandfather (Ludwig Van 


Caspar Karl Van Beethoven (brother) born 8th April.


 Nikolaus Johann van Beethoven (brother) born 2nd 


26th March – First public concert ‘academy’ at Cologne (Sternengasse).


Visits Rotterdam with his mother.

Becomes deputy court organist to Neefe. First published work – 9 variations on a march by Dressler. Beginning of friendship with G.Wegeler & Breuning family.


Violist in court orchestra. 3 Sonatas published (dedicated to Elector Maximillian Friedrich).


(Feb) – Officially Neefe’s assistant. Death of Elector (15Apr) – succeeded by M.Franz (son of Empress Maria-Theresa).


(Feb) – Granted salary of 100 Florins.


(7-20Apr) – First visit to Vienna. Meeting with Mozart. Mother dies (17Jul) -(consumption). Baby sister dies (25Nov).

1788 – 1789
Returns to old posts (organist & viola in court orchestra). Death of Emperor Joseph. Meets Waldstein family.


(Dec) – Haydn & Salomon arrive in Bonn (en route to London).


(Dec 5) – Death of Mozart.


(Jul) Haydn in Bonn again (return journey). Beethoven leaves Bonn (2Nov). Arrives in Vienna (10Nov) – Waldstein played a major role in the arrangement of this trip. (He persuaded Elector to grant Beethoven an annuity). Father dies (18Dec) – Franz Ries acts on Beethoven’s behalf in Bonn regarding payment of salary.Lessons with Haydn. Beethoven may have visited Eisenstadt with Haydn

Haydn helps Beethoven in financial matters. Lessons with Haydn end and Beethoven studies with J.B.Schenk.


Bonn occupied by the French. (Elector flees). Haydn visits England again. Beethoven studies counterpoint with Albrechtsberger & vocal writing with Salieri. Beethoven’s brother Caspar, arrives in Vienna. (He tried at first to emulate Ludwig’s success, but later became a banker). Wegeler arrives from Bonn.


Beethoven’s other brother, Johann arrived to study at the university.

Concert tour with Prince Lichnowsky to Prague, Dresden, Berlin. Possible first signs of deafness.

Increased friends amongst the aristocracy (Scharwzenberg, Liechenstein, Moritz, Odescalshi). Signs of deafness apparent.

Freundschaft mit Karl Amenda. Beginn der Schwerhörigkeit. „Pathétique“. Pläne zur ersten Symphonie.

Amenda verlässt Wien. Anfälle von Depression.

Piano contest with D.Steibelt at Count Fries. Lichnowsky grants an annuity of 600 Gulden p.a.

S.V.Breuning arrives in Vienna. Letters to Wegeler & Amenda expressing concern over deafness. Death of Elector Max Franz.

‘Heiligenstadt Testament’ – (letter addressed to his brothers in which Beethoven reveals his despair over his increasing deafness).

Archduke Rudolph becomes a friend and pupil. ‘Eroica’ symphony begun at Heiligenstadt.

Living with S.Breuning (May-Oct), but moves to Molkerbastei after row with Breuning. Beethoven scratches out dedication of ‘Eroica’ symphony to Napoleon, after Napoleon declares himself Emperor.

Intimate friendship with Josephine von Deym (neé.Brunswick) – cooling off towards November. Work on ‘Fidelio’. – French invade Vienna (13-27Nov).

Caspar Beethoven marries Johanna Reiss; their son Karl is born (4 Sep).

Haydn’s last public concert (27Mar). Friendship with Countess Erdody. Offer to go to Kassel under Jerome Bonaparte – (600 Ducats p.a). Beethoven accepts but later changes mind due to friends guaranteeing annual income. Razumovsky quartet formed.

Contract: Kinsky, Archduke Rudolph, Lobkowitz – guaranteeing income of 4000 Florins p.a. for life. Vienna shelled by French (11/12May). Haydn dies.

Affair with Therese Von Malfatti. Friendship with Bettina Brentano.

Devaluation of currency (20 Feb) causes financial difficulties. Friendship with Amalie Sebald.

Meeting with Goethe at Teplitz (July 1812). Letter to “Immortal beloved”. Life mask and bust of Beethoven by Klein. Tries to stop marriage of brother Johann at Linz to Therese Obermayr.

Wellington wins battle of Vittoria (21Jun). Collaboration with Maezel – “Wellington’s victory” spreads Beethoven’s fame and success. (Legal dispute with Maezel over this work later followed).

Razumovsky palace destroyed in fire (3Nov 1814). ‘Fidelio’ revised. Financial position improves. Congress of Vienna grants Beethoven 4000 Florins. Highly Succesful concerts and recognition.

Financial matters in connection with contract settled. (Arrears paid-payments continue until Beethoven’s death). Caspar Beethoven dies (15Nov) –

Beethoven is made co-guardian of Karl along with Karl’s mother. Given freedom of the city of Vienna.
Start of legal proceedings for sole-guardianship of Karl. Karl sent to boarding school. Invitation to visit London. Death of Prince Lobkowitz (16Dec 1816).

Friendship with Nanette Streicher renewed (She helps domestically).

More legal proceedings over Karl, as he runs away from school to his mother. London firm of Broadwood send Beethoven a piano.

“Missa solemnis” begun. Karl under mother’s guardianship; Beethoven still responsible for his education. Beethoven purchases 8 bank shares from the investments made in 1816 with Steiner as a legacy for Karl. 1820 – Legal dispute over Karl finally settled in Beethoven’s favour.

Schuppanzigh returns to Vienna. Deepening of friendship with F.Grillparzer. ‘Fidelio’ revival. New operatic projects contemplated (“Mesuline”). Work on ‘Choral’ symphony & last quartets. Reconciliation with brother Johann (temporary). Anton Schindler assists Beethoven as friend and secretary (they had briefly met in 1814.

Karl leaves school. Trouble with eyes. Quarrels with Schindler.

Beethoven is sent inscribed gold medal from Louis XV111. Helps Karl’s mother financially. Serious row with Schindler, Schuppanzigh & M.Lichnowsky over the financial disaster of the first performance of the ‘Choral’ symphony. Receives piano from the firm Konrad Graf. Meets his old teacher Schenk ( who he hasn’t seen since 1790’s .

Friendship with Karl Holz. Becoming more possesive and neurotic over Karl.

Karl attempts suicide (30Jul): Beethoven devastated. Goes with Karl to his brother’s estate at Gneixendorf (Aug). On return to Vienna (1/2Dec) he catches a chill and is confined to bed. Start of final illness – First operation (20Dec).

Karl joins army (2nd Jan). Reconciliation with Schindler. Has further 4 operations. Visited by Schubert, Hummel, Zmeskall. Philharmonic society in London send £100. Reconciliation with Dr.Malfatti. Makes will leaving all to Karl. Dies (26th Mar-4.45p.m.) 28th Mar: Autopsy performed by Dr.Johann Wagner. Petrous portion of the temporal bone was sawn through and removed. Cause of death Cirrhosis of the liver accompanied by dropsy. Death mask and drawing made by Dannhauser. 29Mar: 20,000 people gather outside the ‘Schwarzpanierhaus’ for the funeral (3.00.p.m). Procession leaves the Schwarzspanierhaus at 3.30p.m. Hearse drawn by 4 horses. 5.00p.m.-Church service at the Dreifalteskeitkirche. Taken to the Wahring cemetry, where at the gates Grillparzer’s funeral oration was read by Anschutz. 3rd April 1827 – Mozart’s Requiem sung at the parish church of the Augustinian monks. 5th April 1827 – Cherubini’s Mass sung in the Karlskirche. April 1827 – Auction of Beethoven’s belongings.


Here is Beethoven’s family tree put together in 1947 by Joseph SCHMIDT-GÖRG, one of the two most serious reserchers concerning the ancestors of Beethoven. This reproduction is at the Beethovenhaus at Bonn.The other researcher is Raymond van AERDE, a Flem who opened the right doors to the research..
Born the December 17th 1770
at BonnDied the March 26th 1827
at Vienna

Beethoven’s two sisters did not have any children. Only one of Beethoven’s four brothers had a child. The child was a boy, named Carl.
Jan Van Beethoven and Maria Magdelena Keverig 
Married November 12th 1767 at Bonn (these two portraits are probably not authentic)
Papa_JanBorn in March 1740 at Bonn
Died December 18th 1792
also at Bonn
Maman_Magdalena KewerichBorn December 19th 1746 at Ehrenbreitstein
Died July 17th 1787 at Bonn
Daughter of
Heinrich Keverich (1702-1759)
and Anna Clara Westorff (1707 – 1768)
Lodewijk Van Beethoven and Maria Josepha Poll 
Married September 17th 1733 at Bonn

Born January 5th 1712
at Mechelen in Belgium
Died December 24th 1773 at Bonn
Born in 1714
Died Spetember 30th 1775 at Bonn
Michael Van Beethoven and   Maria Louisa Stuyckers
Married October 18th 1707 at Mechelen
Born February 15th 1684 at Mechelen
Died June 28th 1749 at Bonn
Born April 23rd 1685 at Mechelen
Died December 8th 1749 at Bonn
Cornelius Van Beethoven   and Catharina Van Leempoel
Married February 12th 1673 at Mechelen
Born October 20th 1641 at Bertem
Died March 29th 1716 at Mechelen
Born in 1642
Died in 1729
Mark (or Marcus) Van Beethoven and Sarah Haesaerts 
Married in 1631
Born around 1601 at Boortmeerbeek Died in 1653 at Nederokkerzeel
Hendrik Van Beethoven and Catharina Van Boevendeke 
Married July 17th 1594 at Boortmeerbeek
Born around 1572 at Kampenhout
Died June 4th 1652 at Boortmeerbeek
Died September 11th 1638 at Boortmeerbeek
Arnoldus (or Aert) Van Beethoven and Josiana Van Vlesselaer 
Married 1568 at Kampenhout
Born around 1535 at Kampenhout
Died in 1609 at Kampenhout
Arnoldus (Aert) Van Beethoven and Petronella (Pierryne) Geerts 
Married February 1st 1600 at Haacht
It was this remarriage of Aert which created the Van Beethoven’s family tree from which we descend…
Marcus Van Beethoven and Anna Smets 
Married in 1571 at Kampenhout
Born around 1510
Jan Van Beethoven 
Born around 1485

Of the seven children in Beethoven’s family, only three boys survived.

Ludwig, the eldest, became the talented composer whom we know. He felt himself responsible for his brothers, even when they became adults and married. Even so, in 1795, the two men rejoined Beethoven in Vienna all the same…  

Kaspar Anton Karl (often named Karl, like his son) was the closest of the two brothers to Beethoven. After having tried his hand at music, following in his brother’s footsteps, he worked as a clerk in the Department of Finance. He died of consumption and left his son, Karl, under the joint guardianship of his wife and Ludwig. Kaspar was the only member of Beethoven’s family in this generation to have a child.  

Nikolaus Johann (generally known as Johann) became first of all an apothocary, but later declared himself as a ‘land-owner’ (to which his composer brother retorted that in this case he himself was a ‘brain-owner’!).

Many men in those days chose fishing as their trade. They would spend their days fishing with catfish lures and bait. Catfish were plentiful in the local lakes and the men could also design lures for extra income. Members of the Beethoven family were better schooled and consequently had more opportunities open to them.

Ludwig Maria van BEETHOVEN

Baptised April 2nd 1769 at Bonn
Died April 6th 1769 at Bonn.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN

Baptised December 17th 1770 at Bonn
Died March 26th 1827 at Vienna.

No children

ChristianHorneman_1802Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven,
painted in 1802
by Christian Horneman
Kaspar Anton Karl van BEETHOVEN

Baptised April 8th 1774 at Bonn
Died November 15th 1815 at Vienna

Married May 25th 1806 at Vienna
to Johanna REISS (1786-1868)

Son: Karl van BEETHOVEN
Born September 4th 1806 at Vienna
Died April 13th 1858 at Vienna

Married July 16th 1832 at Vienna
to Karoline Barbara NASKE

5 children…

Neveu_KarlVanBeethovenMiniature on ivory of Karl van Beethoven
dating probably from 1827
Nicolas Johann van BEETHOVENBaptised October 2nd 1776 at Bonn

Died January 12th 1848 at Vienna

Married November 8th 1812 at Linz

to Thérèse OBERMAYER (1787-1828)

No children


Portrait of Nicolas Johann van Beethoven
painted by Leopold Gröss in 1841

Anna Maria Francisca van BEETHOVENBaptised February 23rd 1779 at Bonn

Died February 27th 1779 at Bonn

Franz Georg van BEETHOVENBaptised January 17th 1781 at Bonn

Died August 16th 1783 at Bonn

Maria Margarita Josepha van BEETHOVENBaptised May 5th 1786 at Bonn

Died November 26th 1787 at Bonn

Karl van Beethoven marries Karoline Barbara Naske on July 16th 1832. He is 26 years old and is a second lieutenant. She is 24.They are to have five children, the only descendants of this branch of Beethoven’s family, of which there is only one boy, who immigrates to the USA (under, it would seem, the name of Louis von Hoven).

The children of Karl and Karoline are to have, between them, 20 children. There will be 13 in the next generation and very few after that…


Daguerréotype du neveu de Ludwig,
Karl van Beethoven…

Karoline Johanna van BEETHOVENBaptised November 5th 1831 at Vienna

Died August 30th 1919 at Vienna

Married November 25th 1854 at Vienna

to Franz de Paula Carolus Magnus WEIDINGER (1823-1882, brother of Paul ErnstVinzenz Ignaz)

Eight children: six boys and two girls

– Franz Karl Josef WEIDINGER (1855-1932)

married Hermine SCHALL (Vienna 1881)

they are to have three boys and a girl…

– Karl Eduard Paul WEIDINGER (1856-1930)

married Leopoldine Elisabeth JANSEN (Vienna 1882) then Josefa KUNET (Vienna 1922)

they will have two girls…

– Paul Adolf Robert WEIDINGER (1858-1940)

married Sidona Ludowika UHER (Vienna 1882)

they will have a girl and a boy…

– Eugenie Karoline WEIDINGER (1859-1893)

single and without descendants

– Gustav WEIDINGER (1862-1944)

married Julie Emma Wilhelmine RITTNER (Vienna 1895)

they will have one girl and then two boys…

– Karoline Johanna WEIDINGER (1863-1865).

– Robert Franz Karl WEIDINGER (1865-1920)

single and without descendants

– Hugo Robert Paul WEIDINGER (1866-1894)

married Karoline Justina Maria WEBER (Vienna 1894)

No descendants

Marie Anna van BEETHOVENBaptised August 31st 1835 at Niklowitz

Died September 29th 1891 at Vienne

Married February 23rd 1857 at Vienne

to Paul Ernst Vinzenz Ignaz WEIDINGER (1828-1904, brother of Franz de Paula Carolus Magnus)

Three children: two girls and one boy

– Marie Josefine WEIDINGER (1859-1936)

single and without descendants

– Hermann Franz Karl WEIDINGER ( 1861-1932)

married Marie Caroline TOTZ (Vienna 1892)

they will have one girl (who in turn has two children)…

– Helene WEIDINGER (1863-1863).

Ludwig Johann van BEETHOVENBaptised March 31st 1839 at Vienna

Died between 1890 and 1916, in France or Belgium

Married February 27th 1865 at Vienna

to Maria Anna Philippina NITSCHE (1846-1917)

Six children: the family emigrated to the USA around 1871 (under the name Louis von Hoven):

– Marie van BEETHOVEN (1865-1865).

– Karl Julius Maria van BEETHOVEN (1870-1917)

single and without descendants

– Heinrich van BEETHOVEN (1871-1872), in the USA.

– Meta van BEETHOVEN (1874- before 1890), in the USA.

– and two other children, perhaps the only ones who still carry the name van BEETHOVEN and descend from Ludwig’s brother?

Ludwig Johann van Beethoven and his wife Maria Anna Philippina
Karl Julius Maria van Beethoven
Gabriele van BEETHOVENBaptised March 24th 1844 at Vienna

Died October 10th 1914 at Vienna

Married May 14th 1864 at Vienna

to Robert Franz HEIMLER (1833-1910)

Two children: one boy and one girl

– Gabriele Maria Ludowika HEIMLER (1865-1903)

married Emil ZIMMERMANN (Vienna 1891)

they will have a girl…

– Raoul HEIMLER (1876-1948)

married Alice Maria Nora STERN (Vienna 1913)

no descendants

Hermine van BEETHOVENBaptised July 31st 1852 at Vienna

Died April 7th 1887 at Vienna

Married July 18th 1876 at Vienna

to Emil AXMANN (1850-1935)

One boy:

– Egon AXMANN (1886-1926)

single and without descendants


Hermine van Beethoven

The family can be traced back to the 15th century. Some of Beethoven’s ancestors came from the Flemish province of Brabant, and on the maternal side from the Rhine and Moselle area. The earliest van Beethovens were from an area bounded by Brussels, Leuven and Mechelen. Beethoven had 4 siblings who died in infancy: Ludwig Maria (02.04.1769 – 08.04.1769). Anna Maria Francisca (23.02.1779 – 27.02.79). Franz George (17.01.1781 – 16.8.1783). Maria Margaretha Josepha (05.05.1786 – 26.11.1787).

Michel Van Beethoven (great-grandfather) appears to have been a colourful character. He was a master baker in Mechelen; he also dealt in lace and property speculation and eventually had to flee to Bonn to avoid his many creditors!

His son Lodewijk (Beethoven’s grandfather) had been a choirboy at Mechelen cathedral. The Elector Arch-bishop of Cologne transferred him to the court chapel at Bonn in 1733 (the same year he married Maria Poll).

Their son Johann (father) was the only one of 3 children to survive. He became a tenor in the court chapel at Bonn and married the 21 year old widow Maria Keverich on 12 Nov 1767.

Seven children were born of this union, but only 3 survived – one of whom was the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, who never married.

The Beethoven line continued through his brother Kaspar Karl, whose only child Karl was Beethoven’s nephew. Karl.v.Beethoven joined the army (1827), married in 1832 and had 5 children.


Beethoven aged 50

The exact date of Beethoven’s birth is unknown, but as he was baptised on the 17th Dec 1770 and the custom was for this to take place within 24 hours of birth, it is likely that he was born on 16th December 1770 in Bonn. Most of the information that we have of Beethoven’s early years comes down through an account known as the ‘Fischer manuscript’ which was written by Gottfried Fischer and his sister Cäcilie Fischer who both lived in the house known as the Fischerhaus in the Rheingasse, where the Beethoven family also had lodgings intermittently from 1776-1786. When the Beethoven monument was unveiled in Bonn in 1845, the Fischers were still living in the Rheingasse. From their account, we learn that Beethoven attended elementary school in the Neugasse, he then went to the school attached to Bonn cathedral and subsequently to a school in the Bongasse.

                                                    His father, Johann (a Court Tenor) gave him instructions in piano, Violin and possibly Viola. His first public concert was 0n 26th March 1778 when he was aged 7 (the same day he was to die 49 years later). Realising the boy’s talents and his own limitations as a teacher, Johann found other tutors for Ludwig and the most notable of these was C.G.Neefe who was responsible for introducing Beethoven to the music of J.S.Bach. In 1782 Beethoven was assisting Neefe as deputy court organist and his first work, a set of variations on a march by Dressler was published. Soon he was playing the Viola in the court orchestra, gaining invaluable knowledge of orchestral music and the art of writing for the orchestra.

Beethoven had first visited Vienna in 1787 with the intention of studying with Mozart. Barely had he arrived when he was summoned back to Bonn to his dying mother. In 1792 a second visit was arranged, this time to study with Joseph Haydn (Mozart having died in 1791). Beethoven may not have known it at the time, but Vienna was to remain his home for the rest of his life. It was as a pianist rather than a composer that the young man first began to make an impression, with his virtuoso technique and dramatic improvisations. Beethoven was also meeting many influential people, particularly amongst the aristocracy – in this he was aided by the ‘van’ in his name, which many mistook to represent nobility (as with the German ‘Von’).

Beethoven playing in Lichnowsky palace
Beethoven’s compositions are generally divided into 3 stylistic periods. His first period works although showing the influences of composers such as Haydn, Mozart, C.P.E.Bach and Clementi, reveal a marked originality with bold modulations, frequent unexpected turns of phrase and the replacement of the Minuet with the Scherzo. Beethoven also develops piano technique by placing greater demands on the performer. There is no sudden change of style as such, rather a natural progression which is probably best observed in the 32 Piano Sonatas.


The first period covers the early works up until c.1802 and includes about 10 of the Piano Sonatas, the first 2 Symphonies, the ballet ‘Creatures of Prometheus’, the op.18 String quartets and the first three Piano concertos.

1802 is a significant date as it is the year of the so-called ‘Heiligenstadt testament’ in which Beethoven writes of his despair over his increasing deafness (which he had first noticed 5 or 6 years earlier) in a letter to his brothers that was never sent, but found (along with the letters to the ‘Immortal beloved’) amongst his possesions after his death. The work that really marks the start of the middle period is the Symphony no.3 ‘Eroica’ (1803). In this work, Beethoven expands the dimensions of the Symphony considerably and introduces many novelties and complexities which baffled the ears of many at its first public performance. The following Symphonies up to and including no.8 (1812) all belong to the middle period, as do many of Beethoven’s best loved works – ‘Razumovsky’ quartets, ‘Waldstein’ sonata, ‘Appasionata’ sonata, ‘Archduke’ trio, the opera ‘Fidelio’, Piano concertos 4&5 and the Violin concerto.

About 1813 there is a marked slowing in Beethoven’s output of major works, and for the next 6 years or so, he produced mainly smaller pieces, songs and song arrangements. There are many reasons for this; his deafness by now was quite advanced (he had ceased giving public performances as a pianist) and this isolation was producing an inner transformation (spiritually). He was also taking more time over his works, with major compositions taking sometimes many years to perfect. In 1815, another burden in the form of his nephew Karl came into his life. For the next 5 years Beethoven was involved in legal disputes with Karl’s mother for sole custody of the boy. Karl was to prove a source of anxiety to Beethoven from then on, resulting finally in Karl’s failed suicide attempt of July 1826.

The late period works (from about 1816) include the last 6 Piano sonatas, Symphony no.9 ‘Choral’, last 5 String quartets, and the ‘Missa Solemnis’. Characteristic of the late period are a meditative quality, with the working out of themes and motives to their utmost potential. There is also an increase in the importance of contrapuntal textures. New sonorities are created, with wide spacing of parts (Piano sonatas). Trills are also of more significance as are silences. Beethoven no longer adheres to traditional classical forms and works may have just 2 movements (Sonata op.111) or as many as 7 (String quartet op.131).

Beethoven’s funeral

Beethoven’s method of composition changed as he developed. Particularly from the middle period on, he would refine an original idea, sometimes many times and over a period of years before he was satisfied. These working outs would be written in sketch-books (which he often carried around with him whilst out walking) and are fascinating to study as they demonstrate the many transformations a work would go through.


Dr.Gerhard von Breuning describes Beethoven’s appearence

Beethoven’s outward appearance , due to his quite peculiar nonchalance in the matter of dress, had something uncommonly conspicuous about it in the street. Usually lost in thought and humming to himself, he often gesticulated with his arms when walking by himself. When in company,he would speak quite animatedly and loudly, and, since his companion then had to write his rejoinder in the conversation book, an adbrupt halt would have to be made; this was conspicuous in itself, and was still more so when the rejoinder was communicated in mime. And so it happened that most of the passers-by would turn around to stare at him; the street urchins also made their gibes and shouted after him.For that reason his nephew Carl refused to go out with him and once told him straight out that he was ashamed to accompany him in the street because of his “comical appearance” ; at this, so he told us,he was greatly insulted and hurt. For my part, I was proud to be able to show myself with a man of his importance.

Count Von Keglevics writes about his aunt, Princess Odescalchi 

The Sonata (Op.7) was composed for her by Beethoven when she was still a girl. He had the whim – one of many – since he lived across from her, of coming to give her lessons clad in a dressing-gown, slippers and a peaked nightcap.

Antonie von Arneth speaks of Baroness von Ertmann 

After the funeral of her (Baroness Ertmann’s) only child she could not find tears …….General Ertmann brought her to Beethoven. The master spoke no words but played for her until she began to sob, so her sorrow found an outlet and comfort.

Beethoven’s opinion of Napoleon:

Even with that Bastard I made a mistake.

Max Ring speaks of his visit to Grätz castle :

The old castellan, was firmly convinced that Beethoven was not quite right in his mind; he would often run, bareheaded, without a hat, around in the great park of the castle hours on end, even if it were raining with lightning and thunder. On other occasions, he would sit for whole days shut up in his room without seeing anybody and not speaking a word. But the most insane behaviour occurred when the French occupied Grätz after the battle of Austerlitz (1806). The prince had aroused the hopes of the French general of meeting the celebrated composer and to hear him play on the piano-forte. To this end, a great musical soiree was arranged at the castle and the composer was to play his latest compositions. Beethoven, however, refused although the Prince repeatedly and earnestly requested him to do so. Nevertheless, the Prince sill hoped to persuade the obstinate musician, and invited the French general and other distinguished guests. On the appointed evening Beethoven was nowhere to be seen. Finally the news came that the artist had secretly left the castle and fled on foot to the town of Grätz in the cold winter night – only a letter to the Prince had been found in his room. In it he explained that he could not play to enemies of his country and added “Prince! what you are,you are by circumstance and by birth. What I am, I am through myself. Of Princes there have been and will be thousands. Of Beethovens there is only one..”

Ignaz Mosheles about Beethoven in 1814 :

I went early to see Beethoven. He was still in bed. On this day he was in an exceptionally good humour, jumped out of bed and, quite as he was, went and stood by the window, which overlooked the Schottenbastei. Quite naturally all the dear street urchins gathered under the window, until he exclaimed “those damned boys,what do they want?” I pointed smilingly at him. “Yes, yes, you are right” he said, and quickly put on a dressing gown.

Ludwig Rellstab on Beethoven’s deafness :

Beethoven :”This is a beautiful piano! I got it as a gift from London. Look at the name!” He pointed with his finger to the strip of wood above the keyboard.”It is a wonderful present, “said Beethoven looking at me ” and it has a beautiful tone,” he continued turning towards the piano without taking his eyes off me. He struck a chord softly. Never will another chord pierce me to the quick with such sadness and heartbreak. He has played C major in the right hand and B natural in the bass; he looked at me steadily and repeated the false chord several times to let the mild tone of the instrument sound, and the greatest musician on earth could not hear the dissonance!

Ferdinand Ries on Beethoven’s irritability :

One day we were dining at the Swan; the waiter brought him the wrong dish. Beethoven had scarecly said a few choice words about it, which the waiter had answered perhaps not quite so politely as he should, when Beethoven laid hold of the dish (it was so-called “Lugenbratel” {a type of Roast beef} with lots of sauce) and flung it at the waiter’s head. The poor fellow still had on his arms a large number of plates containing various dishes (a dexterity which Viennese waiters possess to a high degree) and could do nothing to help himself; the sauce ran down his face. He and Beethoven shouted and cursed at each other, while all the other guests laughed out loud. Finally Beethoven began laughing at the sight of the waiter, who lapped up with his tongue the sauce that was running down his face, tried to go on hurling insults, but had to go on lapping instead, pulling the most ludicrous faces the while, a picture worthy of Hogarth.

Letter about Beethoven from Goethe to his wife, 19July 1812 :

I have never before seen a more comprehensive, energetic or intense artist. I understand very well how strange he must appear to the outside world.

Louis Spohr describes Beethoven conducting 

Beethoven was playing a new piano concerto of his, but already at the first tutti, forgetting that he was soloist, he jumped up and began to conduct in his own peculiar fashion. At the first Sforzando he threw out his arms so wide that he knocked over both the lamps from the music stand of the piano. The audience laughed and Beethoven was so beside himself over this disturbance that he stopped the orchestra and made them start again. Seyfried, worried for fear that this would happen again, took the precaution of ordering two choirboys to stand next to Beethoven and hold the lamps. One of them innocently stepped closer and followed the music from the piano part. But when the fatal Sforzando burst forth, the poor boy received from Beethoven’s right hand such a slap in the face that he dropped the lamp to the floor. The other, more wary boy, who had been anxiously following Beethoven’s movements, succeeded in avoiding the blow by ducking in time. If the audience had laughed the first time, they now indulged in a truly bacchanalian riot. Beethoven broke out in such a fury that when he struck the first chord of the solo, he broke six strings. Every effort of the true music-lovers to restore calm and attention remained unavailing for some time; thus the first Allegro of the Concerto was completely lost to the audience.

Ferdinand Ries describes the concert of 22Dec 1808 

Beethoven gave a large concert in the Theater an der Wien at which were performed for the first time the 5th and 6th Symphonies as well as his Fantasia for Piano/orchestra and chorus. In this last work, at the place where the last theme already appears in a varied form, the clarinet player made, by mistake, a repeat of 8 bars. Since only a few instruments were playing, this error was all the more evident to the ear. Beethoven leapt up in a fury, turned round and abused the orchestra players in the coarsest terms and so loudly that he could be heard throughout the auditorium. Finally he shouted “From the beginning!”. The concert was a great success, but afterwards the artists remembering only too well the honourable title which Beethoven had bestowed on them in public swore never to play for Beethoven again – this went on until Beethoven composed something new and their curiosity got the better of them.

Ferdinand Ries recalls the piano contest with Stiebelt 

Stiebelt again played a quintet with much success and in addition (and this was quite evident) had prepared a brilliant improvisation, choosing as the theme the subject of the variations of Beethoven’s trio (Op.11). This outraged not only Beethoven’s supporters but also the composer himself. He now had to seat himself at the piano in order to improvise. He went in his usual, I must say ungracious, manner to the instrument as if half lunging towards it, grabbing as he passed, the ‘cello part of Stiebelt’s quintet, placed it (intentionally?) upside down on the music stand and from the opening notes drummed out a theme with one finger. Offended and stimulated at the same time, he improvised in such a manner that Stiebelt left the room before Beethoven had finished. He refused ever to meet him again; in fact he made it a condition that Beethoven should not be invited anywhere where his company was requested.

There are two stories relating to the origins of the phrase ‘Muss es sein? Es muss sein!’ (‘Must it be? It must be!’)

The first, told to us by Schindler, relates to Beethoven’s housekeeper’s constant requests for money. This was not an easy task for her as Beethoven was always busy and constantly needed reminding. When Beethoven noticed her (‘Frau Schnapps’ as he called her) standing by him waiting for the housekeeping money, he would say, or even sing: ‘Must it be?’. The old woman would nod and reply ‘It must be!’ Schindler said that this joke was repeated almost every Saturday (payday) and was a source of great amusement for Beethoven. Evidence of this exists in the conversation book of 1823, where a person identified by Schindler as the housekeeper, puts the same request in writing.

A later story comes to us from Karl Holz and Schindler. In 1826, violinists Joseph Bohm and Joseph Mayseder wished to play Beethoven’s latest quartet (op.130) at one of the quartet parties they held at the house of Ignaz Dembscher. However Beethoven would not provide Dembscher with the quartet manuscripts because Dembscher had not subscribed to an earlier performance of the piece by the Schuppanzigh Quartet. Distraught by this, Dembscher begged Holz to find some way to change Beethoven’s mind. Holz suggested that Demscher send Schuppanzigh 50 florins, which was the subscription fee. To this suggestion Demscher laughingly asked ‘Must it be?’ When Holz told Beethoven of this Beethoven laughed as well and immediately wrote a canon (WoO196) on the following words: ‘Es muss sein! Ja. Heraus mit dem beutel! (It must be! Yes. Out with the money!) Beethoven made the most of this joke for some time also, and it is mentioned in the conversation books.

The joke finally played its part in Beethoven’s last quartet op135, in the final movement which he entitled ‘Der schwer gefasste Entschluss’ (roughly ‘the hard won decision’). Here, on the dark Grave section Beethoven writes ‘Muss es sein?’, and on the following humorous Allegro he writes ‘Es muss sein!’. Much has been made of what he meant by all this in its quartet context. It’s an ironic joke that only Beethoven could make, and perhaps can be seen as a reflection of his general philosophy of life, summing up his struggles and his faith.

Mälzels hearing aids

There are various theories circulating today regarding Beethoven’s health and hearing loss. It has been suggested that Beethoven was suffering from Syphilis (now discredited) or that he was poisoned. I have listed the presently accepted causes of his ailments and death, though tests are being carried out on his hair and should prove the matter conclusively.

Further test results on the Guavera lock of Beethoven’s hair have been published :

“The second test was a trace metals analysis conducted by Dr. William Walsh at the HRI & Pfeiffer Research Center in Naperville, Illinois. This test will reveal the presence of any trace heavy metals. The following results of this test were announced by Dr. Walsh on Tuesday, October 17th 2000:

Tragically Beethoven was completely deaf when the 9th symphony was first performed in 1824

High lead concentrations in Beethoven’s hair were found in independent analyses by McCrone Research Institute & Argonne National Laboratory. This is evidence that Beethoven had plumbism (lead poisoning) which may have caused his life-long illnesses, impacted his personality, and possibly contributed to his death. Distinctive trace-metal patterns associated with genius, irritability, glucose disorders, and malabsorption were not present in the Beethoven samples tested by McCrone Research Institute. Very low (undetectable) mercury levels were reported independently by McCrone Research Institute and Argonne National Laboratory. These results provide no evidence that Beethoven received medical treatment for syphilis, usually treated in the 1820’s with mercury compounds. This supports the consensus of Beethoven scholars who believe that Beethoven never had syphilis. Rumors that Beethoven suffered from syphilis have been discounted in all serious musicological literature for the last thirty years.”

The spa towns

Baden, the spa town near Vienna which Beethoven frequented

The use of mineral waters for treatment of various ailments goes back to ancient times, when the Romans developed places for taking a cure around existing mineral springs. In the Middle Ages kings and princes rediscovered the benefit of drinking waters with therapeutic properties to cure various ailments. In the 18th and 19th centuries the aristocracy developed resorts around the sources of these waters at which they gathered to relax and meet each other. Some of the oldest spas in continous existence are located in Central Europe, in present day Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary. 

Only 26 kilometers south of Vienna, Baden offers a rich variety of baths and springs, parks and coffeehouses. It was the favourite summer residence of Beethoven, and he stayed there many times over the years. Mozart had also frequented the spa. The origin of Baden lies in the healing powers of the sulphur springs. The Romans experienced and enjoyed the waters, calling the place “Aquae”. Its thermal water, which emerges from the springs at a temperature of 36°C, is rich in valuable minerals. Every day, about 4 million litres of superior thermal sulphur water are used in Baden. After the devastating fire of 1812, Baden was rebuilt in the Biedermeier style.

1796 First signs of deafness
1801 Complains of buzzing in ears in letter to Wegeler and Amenda
1802 “Heiligenstadt testament” – Beethoven writes of his despair at worsening hearing
1804 Serious illness in the spring, slow convalescence
1807 Rheumatic troubles. Stays in Teplitz and Franzensbaden.
1810 Eye pain. Due to nearsightedness, he uses glasses.
1813 Serious intestinal illness
1814 Further deterioration of hearing. Last public appearance as pianist
1816-18 Use of ear trumpets
1818 Conversation books. (Conversation had to be written)
1821 Jaundice, goes to Johannesbad.
1823 Almost totally deaf (left ear not as bad as right)
1824-25 Intestinal illness. Recovery in July
1826 Final illness; Chirohsis/dropsy. (5 operations to drain fluid)
1827 Dies (26th Mar-4.45p.m.) 28th Mar: Autopsy performed by Dr.Johann Wagner. Petrous portion of the temporal bone was sawn through and removed. Cause of death Cirrhosis of the liver accompanied by dropsy.

The ear

The cause of Beethoven’s deafness is generally thought to have been Otosclerosis – the abnormal growth of bone of the inner ear. This bone prevents structures within the ear from working properly and causes hearing loss.

Otosclerosis is a disease, which results in new bone formation either in the area of the stapes bone or in the cochlea housing the hearing nerve; or it can be a combination of both. When the bony deposits infiltrate the stapes bone, this bone is unable to vibrate and pass the sound into the inner ear. This results in what is called a conductive hearing loss, i.e., the sound is not being properly “conducted” into the inner ear. As a general rule, the thicker the bony deposit the greater the hearing loss, and the longer the hearing loss, the greater is the amount of deposits. The fixation of the stapes usually follows a slow and relentless course with progressively worsening hearing.

wp375318faHüttenbrenner: “In the last moments no one  except myself and frau Beethoven [probably the housekeeper Sali] were present. Beethoven lay in the final agony, unconscious and with the death rattle in his throat, from 3pm when I arrived until 5.00pm; then there was suddenly a loud clap of thunder accompanied by a bolt of lightning which illmunated the death chamber with a harsh light (there was snow outside). After this unexpected phenomenon, Beethoven opened his eyes , raised his right hand and , his fist clenched, looked upwards for several seconds with a very grave, threatening countenance as though to say “I defy you, powers of evil! Away, God is with me”. As he let his hand sink down onto the bed again, his eyes half closed. My right hand lay under his head, my left hand rested on his breast. There was no more breathing, no more heartbeat.

The great composer’s spirit fled from this world of deception into the kingdom of truth..

I shut the half open eyes of the deceased, kissed them, and then his forehead , mouth and hands. At my request frau Van Beethoven cut a lock of his hair and gave it to me as a sacred relic of Beethoven’s last hour.”

The painter Josef Danhauser (1805–1845) drew a portrait of the dead master and made a death mask. Before this, bones of an ear had been taken during the post mortem in order to discover the cause of deafness. 

The Funeral

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Images of the funeral

The funeral was arranged for the afternoon of 29th March. Shortly afterwards Beethoven’s publisher, Tobias Haslinger, wrote a preface to an arrangement of Beethoven’s Equale that he entitled Trauer-Gesang bey Beethoven’s Leichenbegängnisse in Wien den 29 März 1827:

A vast crowd collected before and inside the residence of the deceased -outside the Schotten Gate, in the Glacis, in the Schwarzspanierhaus – both spectators as well as mourners, the latter in complete mourning-garb, clothed in black, gloves too, and fluttering crepe on the left sleeve. At three o’clock, the corpse, which eight opera singers from the Royal and Imperial Court Opera Theatre had volunteered to carry on their shoulders, Messrs Eichbeyger, Schuster, Cramolini, Ad. Miiller, Hofmann, Rupprecht, Borschitzky, and Ant. Wranitzky (orchestra member), was put to lie in state in the courtyard. A half-hour later the high clergy for the solemn escort appeared; following the prayers spoken over the mortal remains, the aforesaid singers intoned an earnest, solemn chorale by B. A. Weber, whereupon the whole procession, in the order given below, started to move:

I. The cross-bearer,

II. Four trombonists, Messrs Böck (brothers), Weidi, and Tuschky,

III. The choirmaster, Mr. Assmayer, under whose direction

IV. A choir of singers, made up of Messrs Tietze, Schnitzer, Gross, Sykora, Frühwald, Geissler, Rathmeyer, Kokrement, Fuchs, Nejebse, Ziegler, Perschl, Leidl, Weinkopf, Pfeiffer, and Seipelt, performed the Miserere in alternation with the trombone quartet. This ambulant orchestra was followed by

V. The high clergy

VI. The sumptuously adorned coffin flanked by Messrs Kapellmeisters Eybier, Hummel, Seyfried, and Kreutzer on the right: Weigl, Gyrowetz, Gänsbacher, and Würfel on the left, who held the white ribbons that hung down from the richly embroidered pall

VII. In rows on either sides, from the front of the procession to the coffin, were the torchbearers, thirty-six in number, made up of friends of the arts, poets, authors, composers, actors, and musicians, among them Messrs Anschiitz, Bernard, Jos. Böhm, Castelli, Carl Czerny, Sigr. David, Grillparzer, Conr. Graf, GriAhbaum, Haslinger, Hildebrand, Holz, Katter, Krall, Sigr. Lablanche, Baron Lannoy, Linke, Mayseder, Mr. Meric, Merk, Mechetti, Meier, Sigr. Paccini, Piringer, Radicchi, Raimund, Riotte, Schoberlechner, Schubert, Schickh, Schmidl, Streicher, Schuppanzigh, Steiner, Weidmann, Wolfmayer, and many others, all in mourning-dress with white roses and lily bouquets fastened on the sleeve with crepe, and with burning wax torches. In addition, one caught sight in the procession (which moved at an extremely slow pace because of the undulating throng) of many esteemed dignitaries: Messrs Privy Councillors von Musel and Breuning (the latter being the deceased’s childhood friend and executor); Beethoven’s brother; the pupils of the Conservatory; the students of the thoroughbass teacher at St. Anna’s, Mr. Kapellmeister Drechsler, etc., etc., all of them deeply mourning a loss shared by anybody receptive to the almighty power of the musical art. Having arrived at the church, the aforementioned sixteen singers began, during the consecration, to sing the Libera me Domine de morte Aeterna by Mr Kapellmeister von Seyfried, originally intended for use in performances of the Mozart Requiem, and composed for four voices with organ accompaniment (score and parts published by Tob. Haslinger), but here, as demanded by the occasion, simply rewritten as a vocal chorale for four mens’ voices ‘a cappella’.

After this the four-in-hand ceremonial hearse drove off to the Währing Cemetery. Many equipages followed it out across the custom-line. Before the cemetery, Royal and Imperial Court Actor Mr Anschütz recited a text written by Grillparzer in memory of the deceased. Mr Haslinger handed three laurel wreaths to Mr Hummel, Court Kapellmeister of the Grand-Duchy of Weimar, who lowered them on to the coffin. The grieving friends of the departed remained until the earth was levelled off. Both of the aforementioned musical works, Miserere and Libera, were given in the Augustinian Court Parish Church on the occasion of the office for the dead held for L. van Beethoven, on 3rd April (Mozart’s Requiem), organised by the association of local music dealers, and on 26th of the same month (Cherubini’s Requiem) by the Society of the Friends of Music, where it was repeated by popular request during the functions of the high clergy at the catafalque, at the end of the requiem.


We who stand here at the grave of the deceased are in a sense the representatives of an entire nation, the whole German people, come to mourn the passing of one celebrated half of that which remained to us from the vanished brilliance of the fatherland. The hero of poetry in the German language and tongue still lives — and long may he live. But the last master of resounding song, the gracious mouth by which music spoke, the man who inherited and increased the immortal fame of Handel and Bach, of Haydn and Mozart, has ceased to be; and we stand weeping over the broken strings of an instrument now stilled. 


An instrument now stilled. Let me call him that! For he was an artist, and what he was, he was only through art. The thorns of life had wounded him deeply, and as the shipwrecked man clutches the saving shore, he flew to your arms, oh wondrous sister of the good and true, comforter in affliction, the art that comes from on high! He held fast to you, and even when the gate through which you had entered was shut, you spoke through a deafened ear to him who could no longer discern you; and he carried your image in his heart, and when he died it still lay on his breast. 


He was an artist, and who shall stand beside him? As the behemouth sweeps through the seas, he swept across the boundaries of his art. From the cooing of the dove to the thunder’s roll, from the subtlest interweaving of wilful artifices to that awesome point at which the fabric presses over into the lawlessness of clashing natural forces — he traversed all, he comprehended everything. He who follows him cannot continue; he must begin anew, for his predecessor ended where art ends. 


Adelaide and Leonore! Commemorations of the heroes of Vittoria and humble tones of the Mass! Offspring of three and four-part voices. Resounding symphony, “Freude, schöner Götterfunken”, the swansong. Muses of song and of strings, gather at his grave and strew it with laurel! 


He was an artist, but also a man, a man in every sense, in the highest sense. Because he shut himself off from the world, they called him hostile; and callous, because he shunned feelings. Oh, he who knows he is hardened does not flee! (It is the more delicate point that is most easily blunted, that bends or breaks.) 


Excess of feeling avoids feelings. He fled the world because he did not find, in the whole compass of his loving nature, a weapon with which to resist it. He withdrew from his fellow men after he had given them everything and had received nothing in return. He remained alone because he found no second self. But until his death he preserved a human heart for all men, a father’s heart for his own people, the whole world. 


Thus he was, thus he died, thus he will live for all time! 


And you who have followed his escort to this place, hold your sorrow in sway. You have not lost him but won him. No living man enters the halls of immortality. The body must die before the gates are opened. He whom you mourn is now among the greatest men of all time, unassailable forever. Return to your homes, then, distressed but composed. And whenever, during your lives, the power of his works overwhelms you like a coming storm; when your rapture pours out in the midst of a generation yet unborn; then remember this hour and think: we were there when they buried him, and when he died we wept! 

After Beethoven’s Death

wpb65984faOct13th 1863 – First exhumation of both Schubert and Beethoven in order to better preserve the body by placing it in a metal casket within a bricked-in vault. Gerhard Breuning (who as a 13 year old boy had known Beethoven) was present, and noted the compact thickness of Beethoven’s skull in comparison to the ‘almost feminine thinness’ of Schubert’s. Another striking feature was the presence of a fine gold filling in the last left molar – a rarity for the 1820’s. Both skulls were photographed by J.B.Rottmayer and plaster casts were made by Wittman. As a member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Gerhard Breuning had custody of Beethoven’s skull – In his own words ” what stormy feelings passed through my mind evoking such powerful memories, as I had possession of that head for a few days, cleaned from it bits of dirt, took plaster casts of the base of the skull for Professor Romeo Seligmann, kept it by my bedside overnight, and in general proudly watched over that head from whose mouth, in years gone by, I had so often heard the living word!”

The original graves of Schubert and Beethoven in the Wahring cemetery (now The Schubert park)

June 22nd 1888 – 4 pm – During the second disinterment, the casket was opened and scientists were allowed twenty minutes to examine and measure the bones. Photographs were again taken. The composer Anton Bruckner was present and Bruckner was a very traditional Catholic with a reverence for relics, such as the remains of saints. For him composers like Beethoven were “saints,” and when Beethoven and Schubert’s remains were exhumed for reburial close to each other in the Central Cemetery in Vienna, Bruckner insisted upon being present and in handling the remains of Beethoven, even being the one to put Beethoven’s skull back in the casket after examination by physicians. Afterwards he was proud of the fact that he might have lost a lens out of his pince nez glasses in handling Beethoven’s bones and that the lens might have ended up being buried with Beethoven!

Heiligenstädter Testament

O ye men who think or say that I am hostile, stubborn or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me!”


After Beethoven’s death in March 1827, this very moving document was found amongst his possessions (along with the letters to the ‘Immortal beloved’) – It was written at Heiligenstadt (now a suburb of Vienna) in Oct 1802 at a time when Beethoven aged 31, had given up all hope of his hearing improving. It was never sent, but in it he reveals his soul and the inner torment he was suffering. 

The house in Heiligenstadt, where Beethoven wrote the Testament

“…ah it seemed impossible to leave the world until I had produced all that I felt called upon me to produce, and so I endured this wretched existence.”

The Testament serves, as does his music as an inspiration to mankind – that no matter whatever adversity we are facing there is always hope and in Beethoven’s belief, ultimate triumph.

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After Beethoven’s death in March 1827, this very moving document was found amongst his possesions (along with the letters to the ‘Immortal beloved’) – It was written at Heiligenstadt (now a suburb of Vienna) in Oct 1802 at a time when Beethoven aged 31, had given up all hope of his hearing improving. It was never sent, but in it he reveals his soul and the inner torment he was suffering. It serves, as does his music, as an inspiration to mankind – that no matter whatever adversity we are facing there is always hope and in Beethoven’s belief, ultimate triumph.


For my brothers Carl and [Johann] Beethoven

O ye men who think or say that I am hostile, stubborn or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me! You do not know the secret reason why I seem to you to be so. From childhood onward my heart and soul were disposed to the gentle feelings of good will, I was even ever eager to accomplish great deeds. But reflect, for the past six years I have been in an incurable condition, aggravated by incomptetent physicians. From year to year I have hoped to be cured, but in vain and at last finally compelled to face the prospect of a permament infirmity (whose cure will take years or, perhaps, be quite impossible). Born with a fiery and lively temperament, even susceptible to the diversions of society, I was compelled early to isolate myself, to live in solitude. When at times I tried to forget all this, O how harshly was I repulsed by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing; yet it was impossible for me to say : speak louder, shout, for I am deaf. Ah how could I possibly admit such an infirmity in the one sense which should have been more perfect in me than in others, a sense which I once possessed in highest perfection, a perfection such as few surely in my profession enjoy or have enjoyed – O I cannot do it, so forgive me if you see me draw back from your company which I would so gladly share. My misfortune is doubly painful because it must lead to my being misunderstood, for me there can be no recreation in the society of others, no intelligent conversation, no mutual exchange of ideas; only just as little as the greatest needs command may I mix with society. I must live like an exile, if I approach near to people a hot terror seizes upon me, a fear that I may be subjected to the danger of letting my condition be observed – thus it has been during the past year which I spent in the country, commanded by my intelligent physician to spare my hearing as much as possible, in this almost meeting my natural disposition, although I sometimes ran counter to it yielding to my inclination for society, but what a humiliation when one stood beside me and heard a flute in the distance and I heard nothing, or someone heard the shepherd singingand again I heard nothing, such incidents brought me to the verge of despair, but little more and I would have put an end to my life – only art it was that withheld me, ah it seemed impossible to leave the world until I had produced all that I felt called upon me to produce, and so I endured this wretched existence – truly wretched, an excitable body which a sudden change can throw from the best into the worst state – Patience – it is said that I must now choose for my guide, I have done so, I hope my determination will remain firm to endure until it please the inexorable parcae to break the thread, perhaps I shall get better, perhaps not, I am prepared. Forced already in my 28th year to become a philosopher, O it is not easy, less easy for the artist than for anyone else – Divine One thou lookest into my inmost soul, thou knowest it, thou knowest that love of man and desire to do good live therein. O men, when some day you read these words, reflect that ye did me wrong and let the unfortunate one comfort himself and find one of his kind who despite all obstacles of nature yet did all that was in his power to be accepted among worthy artists and men. You my brothers Carl and [Johann] as soon as I am dead if Dr. Schmid is still alive ask him in my name to describe my malady and attach this document to the history of my illness so that so far as possible at least the world may become reconciled with me after my death. At the same time I declare you two to be the heirs to my small fortune (if so it can be called), divide it fairly, bear with and help each other, what injury you have done me you know was long ago forgiven. to you brother Carl I give special thanks for the attachment you have displayed towards me of late. It is my wish that your lives be better and freer from care than I have had, recommend virtue to your children, it alone can give happiness, not money, I speak from experience, it was virtue that upheld me in misery, to it next to my art I owe the fact that I did not end my life with suicide. -Farewell and love each other – I thank all my friends, particularly Prince Lichnowskyand Professor Schmid – I desire that the instruments from Prince L. be preserved by one of you but let no quarrel result from this, so soon as they can serve you better purpose sell them, how glad will I be if I can still be helpful to you in my grave – with joy I hasten towards death – if it comes before I shall have had an opportunity to show all my artistic capacities it will still come too early for me despite my hard fate and I shall probably wish it had come later – but even then I am satisfied, will it not free me from my state of endless suffering? Come when thou will I shall meet thee bravely. – Farewell and do not wholly forget me when I am dead, I deserve this of you in having often in life thought of you how to make you happy, be so –

Ludwig van Beethoven
Heiligenstadt, October 6, 1802.

For my brothers Carl and [Johann] to be read and executed after my death.

Heiligenstadt, October 10, 1802, thus do I take my leave of you- and indeed sadly – yes that beloved hope – which I brought with me when I came here to be cured at least in a degree – I must wholly abandon, as the leaves of autumn fall and are withered so hope has been blighted, almost as I came – I go away – even the high courage – which often inspired me in the beautiful days of summer – has disappeared – O Providence – grant me at least but one day of pure joy – it is so long since real joy echoed in my heart – O when – O when, O Divine God – shall I find it again in the temple of nature and of men – Never? – No, that would be too hard.

The letters to the “Immortal beloved”

wp2f9e188c“My Angel, my all, my other self…”


The 3 letters to an unknown recipient at Karlsbad – the ‘Immortal beloved’ (Eternally beloved would be more accurate) were discovered along with the Heiligenstadt Testament  immediately after Beethoven’s death and they have been a source of endless speculation and intrigue ever since – who was this women who meant so much to Beethoven ? Theories abound, and for a while the date of the letters was not even certain, but eventually through research it was ascertained that they must have been written in July 1812 whilst Beethoven was staying at Teplitz.  

The letters were addressed to someone at K. – most scholars have interpreted this as Karlsbad, where the Brentanos were staying and where Beethoven himself went to join them on July 25th. Although this is the most likely,  there are other possibilities such as Klosterneuberg 10k north of Vienna, or numerous other towns in the Czech republic beginning with K. When Beethoven wrote his letter to the beloved stating, “we shall probably see each other soon,” he had no intention of going to Karlsbad himself three weeks later. That is evident in the letter he wrote to a young child called Emilie on July 17th. He also wrote to the Archduke Rudolph on August 12. “….however, my physician, Staudenheim, commanded me to go to Karlsbad and from there to here (Franzenbad) —- What excursions! and yet but little certainty touching an improvement in my condition.”. At the time Beethoven actually wrote his letter his plans were stay in Teplitz till the middle of August. So when he wrote, “we shall probably see each other soon,” he more likely meant that his beloved would be coming to Teplitz to see him, not that he was going to meet her.

Beethoven’s destination on leaving Vienna (June 28/29) was Teplitz where he was to meet Goethe. On July 1st he arrived in Prague. On the 2nd he had a meeting with Karl Varnhagen von Ense who was negotiating his annuity settlement. On the 3rd, the Brentanos arrived in Prague en route for Karlsbad and Beethoven failed to attend a pre-arranged meeting with Varnhagen that evening. He left Prague on the morning of July 4th and arrived in Teplitz at 4 a.m on July 5th. On the 6th and 7th the three famous letters were written to the ‘eternally beloved’. Between the 19th and 25th Beethoven was with Goethe, but left Teplitz soon after to stay in the same guest house as the Brentanos at Karlsbad. On August 6th Beethoven and the violinist Polledro gave a benefit concert in aid of victims of a fire in Baden. He went with the Brentanos from Karlsbad to Franzensbad on the 7th August. On September 8th Beethoven returned alone to Karlsbad and again met with Goethe. On September 16th Beethoven was back again in Teplitz where he fell ill, and was tended by the singer Amalie Sebald. In October Beethoven visited his brother in Linz and complained to the police about his brother’s immoral relationship with his housekeeper. In response, his brother promptly married her! In November the Brentanos left Vienna to settle in Frankfurt and Beethoven returned to Vienna.  

The letters to the ‘Immortal beloved’ written in 1812

July 6, in the morning
My angel, my all, my very self – Only a few words today and at that in pencil (yours) – I shan’t be certain of my rooms here until tomorrow – what an unnecessary waste of time is all this – Why this deep sorrow when necessity speaks – can our love endure without sacrifices, by not demanding everything from one another; can you alter the fact that you are not wholly mine, I not wholly yours – Oh God, look at nature in all her beauty and calm your heart with that which must be – Love demands all and rightly so – thus it is 
for me with you, for you with me – But you forget so easily that I must live for me and for you; if we were wholly united you would feel this pain as little as I do – My journey was a dreadful one and I did not reach here until 4 o’clock yesterday morning. As there were few horses the mail coach chose another route, but what an awful one; at the stage before the last I was warned not to travel at night; attempts were made to frighten me about a forest, but that only tempted me to proceed – and I was in the wrong. The coach broke down of course on the wretched road, no more than a country track. Without those two postilions I had with me I should have been stranded on the way – Esterhazy, who took the normal road here, met the same fate with eight horses that I had with four – Yet I got some pleasure out of it, as I always do when I successfully overcome difficulties – Now let me turn quickly from outer to internal experiences. No doubt we shall meet soon; and today also time prevents me from sharing with you the thoughts I have had during these last few days about my life – If our hearts were always closely united, I would entertain no such thoughts. My heart is full of so many things to tell you – oh – there are moments when I feel that speech is quite inadequate – Be cheerful – remain my faithful, one and only treasure, my all as I am yours. The gods must send us the rest, what for us must and shall be –
Your faithful LUDWIG

Evening, Monday, July 6
You are suffering, you, my most precious one – I have noticed this very moment that letters must be posted very early on Monday – or on Thursday – the only days when the mail-coach goes from here to K. – You are suffering – Oh, where I am, you are with me – I will see to it that you and I, that I can live with you. What a life!!!! as it is now!!!! without you – pursued by the kindness of people here and there, a kindness that I think – that I wish to deserve just as little as I deserve it -man’s homage to man – that pains me – and when I consider myself in the setting of the universe, what am I and what is that man – whom one calls the greatest of men – and yet – on the other hand therein lies the divine element in man – I weep when I consider that you will probably not receive the first news of me until Saturday – However much you love me – my love for you is even greater – But do not ever conceal yourself from me – good night – As I am taking the baths I must go to sleep – Dear God – so near! so far! Is not our love truly founded in heaven -and what is more, as strongly cemented as the firmament of heaven? –

Good morning, on July 7
Even though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear our prayer – To face life I must live altogether with you or never see you – Yes, I am resolved to be a wanderer abroad until I can fly to your arms and say that I have found my true home, and enfolded in your arms can let my soul be wafted to the realm of blessed spirits – alas, unhappily it must be so – You will become composed, the more so as you know that I am faithful to you; No one else can ever possess my heart – never – never – Oh God, why must one be separated from her who is so dear. Yet my life in V at present is a miserable life – Your love has made me the happiest and the unhappiest of mortals – At my age I need stability and regularity in my life – can that coexist with our relationship? – Angel, I have just heard that the mailcoach goes every day – therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once – Be calm; for only by calm consideration of our lives can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm – love me – Today -yesterday – what tearful longing for you – for you – you – my life – my all – all good wishes to you. Oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your lover.
ever yours
ever mine
ever ours


The Candidates

The women listed below have all been considered possible candidates at one time or another – it is possible that the Immortal beloved was none of these.

wp4d141e95Antonia Brentano (von Birkenstock) (1780–1869)

The portrait on the left (Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Collection H.C. Bodmer) was found amongst Beethoven’s possessions. Toni (as she was known) married Franz Brentano in 1798 and according to Maynard Solomon, She was the ‘Immortal beloved’. She was living in Vienna from 1809-1812 and had met Beethoven in 1810 and a strong friendship developed between them. Toni Brentano was in Prague with her husband and daughter from July 1st to July 4th 1812 at exactly the same time as Beethoven. The Brentanos were also in Karlsbad from July 5th onwards. Toni is the only woman who meets the requirement of arriving in Karlsbad shortly after Beethoven’s arrival in Teplitz. Beethoven arrived in Karlsbad on July 25th and stayed in the same guesthouse as the Brentanos. There are a number of other clues that point towards Antonie Brentano. ‘An die Geliebte’ (To the Beloved) WoO 140, was composed by Beethoven in December 1811; in the corner of the manuscript, in Antonie’s writing are the words “Requested by me from the author on March 2nd, 1812”. After Beethoven’s death, two portraits were discovered in his desk – One is of the Countess Giuletta Guicciardi and the other was previously thought to be Countess Erdody but is now considered to be Antonie Brentano.

The argument against her being the Immortal beloved is that Beethoven would have had to have been carrying on this affair right under her husband’s nose -Franz Brentano was present throughout at Prague and Karlsbad with Antonie, along with their daughter. Beethoven had the greatest respect (as did Antonie) for Franz and he regarded him as a personal friend – is it likely that he would have written to him in 1817 “I greatly miss your company and that of your wife and your dear children” if he had been having an affair with his wife? Nor could Beethoven have been discussing the prospect of marriage with her since the Austrian government would not have granted a divorce – her husband had no criminal convictions, and their is no evidence of adultery in either case. Having children made it even more unlikely they would have received a divorce. Beethoven is also known to have condemned adultery on many occasions and is surely unlikely to have regarded the affair as “truly founded in heaven – and what is more, as strongly cemented as the firmament of heaven” if it were adulterous? In the first letter Beethoven also says “remain my faithful, one and only treasure, my all as I am yours” – how was this possible when she was already married?

wp2873068fJosephine von Brunswick (1779–1821)

Beethoven first became acquainted with the Brunsvik family in May of 1799. After the death of her first husband Count Deym in 1804, Josephine continued living in Vienna until the summer of 1808. During this period, her friendship with Beethoven intensified, and the composer became very much in love with her and probably entertained hopes of marriage. In 1949, 13 previously unknown letters from Beethoven to Josephine were discovered – written in 1807, they are of a passionate nature similar in style to the letters to the ‘Immortal Beloved’, however there is one important difference; throughout the letters to Josephine, the formal ‘Sie’ instead of the intimate ‘Du’ (used in the ‘Immortal beloved’ letters of 1812) is used. For a long time Josephine was considered (and still is by some) to be the ‘Immortal Beloved’ – the fact that 9 months after the ‘Immortal beloved’ letters were written, Josephine gave birth to a daughter, Minona on 9th April 1813 ( who later turned out to be a fine musician and piano teacher) added fuel to the speculation. Josephine had however remarried in 1810 to Count Von Stackelberg, but the marriage was disastrous and the couple separated in 1813.

wp3a24cc48Therese von Brunswick (1775–1861)

(Picture: Beethoven-Haus, Bonn) She too was considered a candidate to be the ‘Immortal beloved’. However, she wrote in her diary 12 July 1817 : ‘Josephine must suffer remorse on account of Luigi’s sorrow – his wife ! What could she not have made of this hero !’ and much later on 4th Feb 1846 : ‘…Beethoven! It seems like a dream that he was the friend, the intimate of our house – a stupendous spirit! Why did not my sister J., as the widow Deym, accept him as her husband ? She would have been much happier than she was with St[ackelberg]. Maternal love caused her to forgo her own happiness.’ Therese never married and her own diaries imply that she considered her sister Josephine to be the Immortal beloved.

wp9638f017Countess Giulietta Guicciardi (1784–1856)

(Picture: Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Collection H.C. Bodmer). A cousin of the Brunsvik’s , Giulietta was 17 when she became for a time a pupil of Beethovens, and he fell in love with her. He dedicated the ‘Moonlight’ sonata to her, but it was not actually written with her in mind, so not too much emphasis should be placed on that. She married Count Gallenberg in 1803 and disappeared from Beethoven’s life – though he never forgot her, as an amusing entry in the conversation books many years later proves. She is not considered to be the Immortal beloved today, though until the date of the letters (1812) was properly established, she was indeed thought to be a strong candidate – Schindler claimed that the letters had been written to her at a Hungarian spa in 1801.

wp4b8b14b1Dorothea von Ertmann (1781–1849)

(Picture: Beethoven-haus, Bonn) She was a gifted pupil of Beethoven’s from 1803. He referred to her as Dorothea Caecilia and she was a particularly fine interpreter of his works – she received the dedication to the sonata Op.101 in A (1816). She had married Baron Stephan Von Ertmann in 1798, and they left Vienna in 1824 to settle in Milan.

wp35bd5552Countess Anna Marie Erdödy (1779–1837)

She married the Hungarian count Peter Erdödy in 1796. She was an excellent pianist and admirer of Beethoven’s works. She gave private concerts in her apartment in the Krugerstrasse at which his works were constantly performed; for a time in the Autumn and winter of 1808/9 Beethoven had rooms in this apartment. Beethoven often visited the Erdödy family country estate at Jedlersee (nr. Vienna) . The countess settled in Croatia in 1815 and then Padua in 1816, after 1820, she appears to have left Austria for good. Beethoven dedicated the 2 piano trios Op.70 and the 2 ‘cello sonatas Op.102 to her.

wp5fa258ecAmalie Sebald (1770–1827)

She was a singer from Berlin and had met Beethoven at Teplitz in 1811 and 1812 – they developed a friendship and several letters to her are in existence. One dated 16th Sept 1812 is completely different in tone to the Immortal beloved letters, he simply signs himself as ‘your friend, Beethoven’.

wp51a50f08Therese Malfatti (1792–1851)

Her father was the cousin of Dr.Giovanni Malfatti (who had become a friend of Beethoven’s in 1808 and treated him in his final illness of 1827). It is possible that Beethoven had hoped to marry Therese in 1810 and that the famous piece ‘Fur Elise’ was written for her. There were strong objections to the union from her family and she later married Baron Von Drosdick in 1816.


Beethoven on Nature

On The Kahlenberg Sept 1812

Almighty One 

In the woods

I am blessed.

Happy every one

In the woods.

Every tree speaks

Through Thee.

O God!

What glory in the


On the Heights

is Peace,–

Peace to serve


To Baroness Von Drossdick

“How happy I am to be able to wander among bushes and herbs, under trees and over rocks; no man can love the country as I love it. Woods, trees and rocks send back the echo that man desires.”


Baden – July 1814

“My miserable hearing does not trouble me here. In the country it seems as if every tree said to me: ‘Holy! holy!’ Who can give complete expression to the ecstasy of the woods! O, the sweet stillness of the woods!”

Copied into his Tagebuch 1818 from Sturm’s “Betrachtungen uber die Werke Gottes in der Natur.

“Nature is a glorious school for the heart! It is well; I shall be a scholar in this school and bring an eager heart to her instruction. Here I shall learn wisdom, the only wisdom that is free from disgust; here I shall learn to know God and find a foretaste of heaven in His knowledge. Among these occupations my earthly days shall flow peacefully along until I am accepted into that world where I shall no longer be a student, but a knower of wisdom.”

Beethoven on his deafness

October 6th 1802; Heiligenstadt Testament

“It was impossible for me to say to others: speak louder;shout! for I am deaf. Ah! was it possible for me to proclaim a deficiency in that one sense which in my case ought to have been more perfect than in all others, which I had once possessed in greatest perfection, to a degree of perfection, indeed, which few of my profession have ever enjoyed?”

October 6th 1802; Heiligenstadt Testament

“How great was the humiliation when one who stood beside me heard the distant sound of a shepherd’s pipe, and I heard nothing; or heard the shepherd singing, and I heard nothing. Such experiences brought me to the verge of despair;–but little more and I should have put an end to my life. Art, art alone deterred me.”

November 16th, 1800 or 1801 to Wegeler 

“My defective hearing appeared everywhere before me like a ghost; I fled from the presence of men, was obliged to appear to be a misanthrope although I am so little such.”

Tagebuch 1816

“Live alone in your art! Restricted though you be by your defective sense, this is still the only existence for you.”

1815 to Brauchle, tutor in the house of Countess Erdody

“Dissatisfied with many things, more susceptible than any other person and tormented by my deafness, I often find only suffering in the association with others.”

Tagebuch 1815

“Perfect the ear trumpets as far as possible, and then travel; this you owe to yourself, to mankind and to the Almighty! Only thus can you develop all that is still locked within you;– and a little court,–a little chapel,–writing the music and having it performed to the glory of the Almighty, the Eternal, the Infinite—“

Tagebuch 1812

“You must not be a man like other men: not for yourself, only for others; for you there is no more happiness except in yourself, in your art.–O God, give me strength to overcome myself, nothing must hold me to this life.” 

May 2nd 1810 to Wegeler

“Had I not read somewhere that it is not pending man to part voluntarily from his life so long as there is a good deed which he can perform, I should long since have been no more, and by my own hand. O, how beautiful life is, but in my case it is poisoned.”

Beethoven on other people

BACH, Johann Sebastian

“The Father of harmony”

“His name ought not to be Bach (brook), but ocean, because of his inexhaustible wealth of tonal combinations and harmonies”

HANDEL, George Frederick

“Handel is the greatest composer who ever lived. I would uncover my head and kneel down at his tomb”



“Of all our contemporaries, I have the highest regard for him”

MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus

“I have always counted myself amongst the greatest admirers of Mozart and shall remain so until my last breath”


“Truly, in Schubert there is a divine spark!”

GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von

“When you write to Goethe about me search out all the words

which can express my deepest reverence and admiration. I am

myself about to write to him about ‘Egmont’ for which I have

composed the music, purely out of love for his poems which make

me happy”

“Goethe is too fond of the atmosphere of the court; fonder

than becomes a poet. There is little room for sport over the

absurdities of the virtuosi, when poets, who ought to be looked

upon as the foremost teachers of the nation, can forget

everything else in the enjoyment of court glitter”

NAPOLEON, Bonaparte

“He, too, then, is nothing better than an ordinary man! Now

he will trample on all human rights only to humor his ambition;

he will place himself above all others,–become a tyrant!”

Beethoven on composing

Feb 13th 1814 to Count Brunswick in Buda

“As regards me, great heavens! my dominion is in the air; the tones whirl like the wind, and often there is a like whirl in my soul.”

1815 to Charles Neate in Baden

“I always have a picture in my mind when composing, and follow its lines.”

A remark in the sketches for the Pastoral Symphony

“Carried too far, all delineation in instrumental music loses in efficiency.”

From notes in the instruction book of Archduke Rudolph 

“Good singing was my guide; I strove to write as flowingly as possible and trusted in my ability to justify myself before the judgment-seat of sound reason and pure taste.” 

From notes in the instruction book of Archduke Rudolph

“Many assert that every minor piece must end in the minor. Nego! On the contrary I find that in the soft scales the major third at the close has a glorious and uncommonly quieting effect. Joy follows sorrow, sunshine–rain. It affects me as if I were looking up to the silvery glistering of the evening star.”

“Rigorists, and devotees of antiquity, relegate the perfect fourth to the list of dissonances. Tastes differ. To my ear it gives not the least offence combined with other tones.”

Reported by Karl Hirsch, (grandson of Beethoven’s former teacher Albrechtsberger) 1816

“My dear boy, the startling effects which many credit to the natural genius of the composer, are often achieved with the greatest ease by the use and resolution of the diminished seventh chords.”

July 1st 1823 to Archduke Rudolph

“Continue, Your Royal Highness, to write down briefly your occasional ideas while at the pianoforte. For this a little table alongside the pianoforte is necessary. By this means not only is the fancy strengthened, but one learns to hold fast in a moment the most remote conceptions. It is also necessary to compose without the pianoforte; say often a simple chord melody, with simple harmonies, then figurate according to the rules of counterpoint, and beyond them; this will give Y. R. H. no headache, but, on the contrary, feeling yourself thus in the

midst of art, a great pleasure.”

June 1st 1816 to Dr.Karl Von Bursy

“I never write a work continuously, without interruption. I am always working on several at the same time, taking up one, then another.”

To Louis Schlosser 1822/3

“I carry my thoughts about me for a long time, often a very long time, before I write them down; meanwhile my memory is so faithful that I am sure never to forget, not even in years, a theme that has once occurred to me. I change many things, discard, and try again until I am satisfied. Then, however, there begins in my head the development in every direction, and, in as much as I know exactly what I want, the fundamental idea never deserts me,–it arises before me, grows,–I see and hear the picture in all its extent and dimensions stand before my

mind like a cast, and there remains for me nothing but the labour of writing it down, which is quickly accomplished when I have the time, for I sometimes take up other work, but never to the confusion of one with the other.

You will ask me where I get my ideas. That I cannot tell you with

certainty; they come unsummoned, directly, indirectly,–I could

seize them with my hands,–out in the open air; in the woods;

while walking; in the silence of the nights; early in the morning;

incited by moods, which are translated by the poet into words, by

me into tones that sound, and roar and storm about me until I have

set them down in notes.”

Feb 19th 1813 to George Thomson

“I am not in the habit of rewriting my compositions. I never did it because I am profoundly convinced that every change of detail changes the character of the whole.”

July 13th 1809 in an announcement of several compositions 

“The unnatural rage for transcribing pianoforte pieces for string instruments (instruments that are in every respect so different from each other) ought to end. I stoutly maintain that only Mozart could have transcribed his own works, and Haydn; and without putting myself on a level with these great men I assert the same thing about my pianoforte sonatas. Not only must entire passages be elided and changed, but additions must be made; and right here lies the rock of offence to overcome which one must be the master of himself or be possessed of the same skill and inventiveness. I transcribed but a single sonata for string quartet, and I am sure that no one will easily do it after me.”

Beethoven on God

Tagebuch 1816

“It was not the fortuitous meeting of the chordal atoms that made the world; if order and beauty are reflected in the constitution of the universe, then there is a God.”


“He who is above,–O, He is, and without Him there is nothing.”

August 1823 to Archduke Rudolph

“There is no loftier mission than to approach the Divinity nearer than other men, and to disseminate the divine rays among mankind.”

Copied into the Tagebuch 1816 from an unidentified work with the remark: “From Indian Literature”

“God is immaterial, and for this reason transcends every conception. Since He is invisible He can have no form. But from what we observe in His work we may conclude that He is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.”

Wordly wisdom

From notes in the instruction book of Archduke Rudolph

“Every day is lost in which we do not learn something useful. Man has no nobler or more valuable possession than time; therefore never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”

Tagebuch 1816

“This is the mark of distinction of a truly admirable man: steadfastness in times of trouble.”

Conversation book 1819

“Force, which is a unit, will always prevail against the majority which is divided.”

August 15th 1812 to Bettina Von Arnim

“Kings and Princes can create professors and councillors, and confer orders and decorations; but they can not create great men, spirits that rise above the earthly rabble; these they can not create, and therefore they are to be respected.”

Tagebuch 1816

“Follow the advice of others only in the rarest cases.”

Conversation book 1825

“Only the praise of one who has enjoyed praise can give pleasure.”

August 15th 1812 to Bettina Von Arnim

“The world must give one recognition,–it is not always unjust. I care nothing for it because I have a higher goal.”

Baden July 24th 1804 to Ries

“The foundation of friendship demands the greatest likeness of human souls and hearts.”


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