Did you know?

Thank goodness…

Two meaningful events helped determine the course of Beethoven's life and work.

  • In 1770, his father Johann had the opportunity to join the ensemble of the St. Lambert’s Cathedral in Liége, which he was keen on.  The Elector didn't allow the move, however, so Johann stayed in Bonn.  If they had moved, then Ludwig would not have been born in Bonn, and he would have grown up in a different environment with different opportunities…
  • Maximilian Franz would have liked to have employed Mozart as music director in Bonn in 1785 - but nothing came of it.  For Beethoven, that would have opened lots of doors - but it would also have meant always standing in the shadow of the awe-inspiring Mozart.  

Two symphonies closely linked

Beethoven composed another symphony parallel to the 5th Symphony – the “Pastoral”, which was finished only a few months after he finished the “Destiny Symphony” in the summer of 1808. That both symphonies premiered December 22, 1808, is therefore no coincidence. Both are dedicated to the same aristocrat and were printed one year later with consecutive opus numbers 67 and 68.  Furthermore, they are thematically very closely linked with each other: while the “Destiny Symphony" recounts mankind's fight against its own fate, which it wins, the “Pastoral” symphony embodies beauty, enjoyment of life, and gratitude.

The influence of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Beethoven's “coach” and mentor was Christian Gottlob Neefe, who became the court organist in Bonn in 1782. Neefe was strongly influenced by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - and he passed this influence on to Beethoven. His work formed Beethoven's strong conviction that good music is the limitless expression of the whole individual.