More than music

Ludwig van Beethoven's collected works comprise over 650 compositions. Perhaps the most well-known piece worldwide is the 9th Symphony. It is played all over the world, and its melody has been adopted as the European Anthem. The original handwritten composition is part of UNESCO's World Heritage List.

Of Beethoven's works, 138 are numbered by opus number (op.), and 205 are counted without opus numbers (WoO).  Beethoven wrote down ideas, drafts, and elaborations for all of his compositions. He kept his working papers in meticulous order and as a result, several thousand sheets (70 sketchbooks as well as single sheets) remain. Sadly, after Beethoven's death, the sketchbooks were torn apart by autograph and souvenir hunters so that barely any of them are intact today. The Beethoven House in Bonn holds the most extensive collection of Beethoven’s documents in its archives. 

An early teacher, Christian Gottlob Neefe, arranged the publication of Beethoven's first piano compositions as early as 1783: Nine Variations on a March by Dressler WoO 63, and the so-called Kurfürsten Sonatas WoO 47, which Beethoven dedicated to his employer the Elector Maximilian Friedrich. Neefe praised the young composer in the March issue of the »Magazin der Musik« as a second Mozart, thus bringing early attention to Beethoven's talent.

But there’s more to Beethoven than the 9th Symphony. Countless other works are world famous.  Among them, all nine symphonies, five piano concertos, a violin concerto, 16 string quartets, 32 piano sonatas, the opera Fidelio, the Mass in C major op. 86, and the Missa Solemnis op. 123.