Ludwig van Beethoven, the great deaf one, is an absolute giant in the history of music. Some label him a Classical composer, including him in the great Viennese school with Haydn and Mozart. Others call him the first great Romantic composer. Many history texts deal with Beethoven in a class by himself, starting with one foot in the Classical era. With the other foot he shatters the conventions of the Classical era, laying the foundation for the next generation of musical Romantics. Whatever chapter you want to include old grumpy Ludwig in, his musical genius is a looming shadow over everyone who has tried to write music since. His string quartets are a foundation of the chamber music repertoire.
Beethoven wrote cycles of piano sonatas, symphonies, and string quartets among many other masterpieces. Piano was his main instrument, and many of his innovations were first worked out in…
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