Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827), Emotional Crisis

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05 LAST20111216Donald Macleod introduces music from 1812 - a year of family crises and emotional torment.

Donald Macleod introduces music by Beethoven from 1812 - a year of family crises and emotional torment revealed in one of the most famous love letters in the history of music. Thanks to his unfulfilled passion for this mystery woman, described only as the 'Immortal beloved' in his letter to her, Beethoven was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Perhaps because of his disturbed state of mind, he tried to prevent his brother Johann from marrying a woman he regarded as completely unsuitable, just as he had with his other brother Caspar Carl six years earlier. But on a happier note, Beethoven did get to meet his hero Goethe that year, whose words have inspired many of his loveliest songs, including two for chorus and orchestra - 'Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage.' Time and time again, Beethoven rose above personal crises, often writing some of his best music at such times. His eighth symphony was no exception. Described, along with his seventh, by the eminent critic Ernest Newman as giving voice to "a mood of joyous acceptance of life and the world".