Ludwig the virtuoso
- Ludwig was annoyed at a Berlin audience for weeping over his performance. He complained to a friend, “That’s not what we artists wish. We want applause!”
- Carl Czerny recorded how Beethoven mocked his audiences for breaking out into sobs and emotional displays after his improvisations. “You are fools! Who can live among such spoiled children?”
- In Beethoven’s twenties, the piano was still a delicate, all-wooden instrument. Ludwig once broke so many strings while performing a Mozart concerto that his friend Anton had to untangle broken strings from the piano as he played.
- Friedrich Himmel, royal pianist of the court of Prussia, once improvised for Beethoven. After Friedrich had played for a moment, Ludwig snapped, “Well, when are you going to start?” He explained later, “I thought Himmel had just been preluding a bit.”
- In 1797, Ludwig dedicated a four-hand piano sonata to Countess von Browne, who gave him a horse in thanks. He rented space for it at a stable and forgot about it until he was shocked and infuriated by a huge feed bill.
- Ludwig lived across the street from his student Babette. He showed up for her morning piano lessons in a sleeping cap, dressing gown, and slippers. He dedicated several pieces of music to her, including the passionate Grande Sonata op. 7, nicknamed “The Beloved.”
- An amateur pianist named Carl described Ludwig: “Whoever sees Beethoven for the first time and knows nothing about him would surely take him for a malicious, ill-natured and quarrelsome drunk who has no feeling for music.”
source : BEETHOVEN : anguish and triumph