Ludwig van Beethoven, continued
Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany in 1770, to Johann van Beethoven (1740–1792), one of a line of musicians of Flemish ancestry, and Maria Magdalena Keverich (1744–1787), whose father had been overseer of the kitchen at Ehrenbreitstein. Beethoven was one of seven children born to them, of whom only Beethoven and two younger brothers would survive infancy. Beethoven was baptized on December 17, 1770. Although his birthdate is not known for certain, his family celebrated his birthday on December 16.
Beethoven is regarded as one of the greatest masters of musical construction, sometimes sketching the architecture of a movement before he had decided upon the subject matter. He was one of the first composers to systematically and consistently use interlocking thematic devices, or "germ-motives," to achieve inter-movement unity in long compositions. Equally remarkable was his use of "source-motives," which recurred in many different compositions and lent some unity to his life's work. He made innovations in almost every form of music he touched. For example, he diversified even the well-crystallized form of the rondo, making it more elastic and spacious, which brought it closer to sonata form.
Beethoven composed in a great variety of genres, including symphonies, concerti, piano sonatas, other sonatas (including for violin), string quartets and other chamber music, masses, an opera, lieder, and various other genres. He is viewed as one of the most important transitional figures between the Classical and Romantic eras of musical history.
As far as musical form is concerned, Beethoven worked from the principles of sonata form and motivic development that he had inherited from Haydn and Mozart, but greatly extended them, writing longer and more ambitious movements.
After Beethoven lost custody of his nephew, he went into a decline that led to his death on March 26, 1827 during a thunderstorm.
On August 29, 2007, a Viennese pathologist and forensic expert Christian Reiter (head of the Department of Forensic Medicine at Vienna Medical University) claimed that Beethoven's physician, Andreas Wawruch, inadvertently killed him by slowly overdosing him with lead in an attempt to heal him. Beethoven was very sick years before his 1827 death at 57.