Sunday, December 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Beethoven

December 16, 1770 is the accepted date for the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, who grew up to become one of the great composers of classical music.  (He was baptized on the 17th.  Since babies were normally baptized within 24 hours of their birth during that era, the 16th is thought to be his actual birth date.)  He was born in the German city of Bonn, and later moved to Vienna, where for a while he took lessons from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and also worked under Franz Joseph Haydn.  He died in 1827, leaving behind nine symphonies, more than 30 piano sonatas, one opera and many other works.

My own childhood piano lessons included quite a few of Beethoven's compositions, including his 8th sonata, known by the French title of Sonaté Pathetique.  This is a rendition of its second movement, played (as it were) by Schoeder in the movie A Boy Named Charlie Brown.

Over a century after Beethoven died, rock and roll singer-guitarist Chuck Berry came out with a song named Roll Over Beethoven.  In 1973, the Electric Light Orchestra took Berry's song and combined it with Beethoven's fifth symphony.  If Beethoven ever heard this version, he probably would roll over.


  1. Wouldn't "Roll Over Beethoven" been just as good.

    Actually thanks for reminding us that today was his birthday.

    1. Findalis, I did include "Roll Over Beethoven". On the other hand, maybe I should have included something from that St. Bernard dog.