Happy birthday, Ludwig van Beethoven

Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler
(1820) Wikimedia Commons

OK, so, he was no Tom Waits, but still, credit where credit is due. The man made some music, as my piano teachers felt compelled to remind me whenever I groused that I wanted to play some modern rock ’n’ roll, not some dead old German dude.

The New York Times has a sampler here.



19 Responses to “Happy birthday, Ludwig van Beethoven”

  1. JD Says:

    Eroica, Symphony #5, and Ode to Joy! Simply magnificent! 🙂

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    He’s no Tom Waits? WTFO? I guess Waits is like double IPA. I just don’t understand either one.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    The song? Si. Patty Griffin’s cover? Muy bien.

  4. Jon Paulos Says:

    I remember reading an article about his role in what passed for the music industry back then. Before Beethoven classical music was performed and then pretty much forgotten unless the composer “recycled” it like JS Bach did with his cantatas. Beethoven’s stuff was so memorable, so earth-shattering, that his work was performed over and over all over Europe. Even his one-offs were amazing. He only composed one violin concerto (compared to Vivaldi’s I-don’t-know-how-many), but that’s one of the main benchmarks for violinists with pretensions to glory. That’s why we all can whistle the opening bars to his Fifth Symphony, and if you ask about Bach’s Cantatas, the response is “what’s a cantata”?

  5. Shawn Says:

    I suspect Ludwig had a jubilant side as well. I can imagine him rocking out to Freddie Mercury’s Bohemian Rhapsody a la Wayne’s World. You know, Ludwig in the backseat of the Pacer singing “Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?”

  6. Stan Thomas Says:

    Da da da daah…

    Even got a mention from Chuck Berry so must be a great.

  7. Ira Says:

    Here’s an interesting documentary on how Ludwig influenced modern music https://youtu.be/il4N9v92T50

  8. Ira Says:

    This one too https://youtu.be/Ls5XWu4PhSs

  9. khal spencer Says:

    • khal spencer Says:

      I have the 1963 Berlin Philharmonic/Karajan Nine Symphonies set and another complete set from circa 1980 on DG. yeah, I love the stuff.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I have the “Eroica” (David Zinman and Tonhalle Orchester Zürich); Piano Concerto No. 5 (Rudolf Serkin, Seiji Ozawa, Boston Symphony Orchestra); Symphonies 5 and 7 (Vienna Philharmonic and Carlos Kleiber); and of course the Ninth (Berlin Philharmonic, Herbert von Karajan).

      There’s a bunch of Bach and Mozart around here too, some Samuel Barber, and like that there. Sundays are reserved for classical in these parts. And generally weekday mornings (“Performance Today” on KUNM).

  10. Peter W. Polack Says:

    Call me a Philistine, but I couldn’t care less about Ludwig.

    However, Frank Zappa’s birthday is Monday and THAT’S something to celebrate!

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