Beethoven, Ludwig van

[ (bay-toh-vuhn) ]

A German composer of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, whose works spanned the classic and romantic musical traditions (see romanticism). Considered one of the greatest composers of all time, he is particularly well known for his Moonlight Sonata and other sonatas for piano; for his string quartets; for his concertos; and for his nine symphonies. The Third Symphony (Eroica), Fifth Symphony, and Ninth Symphony (“Choral”) are the most famous.

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Beethoven began to grow deaf midway through his career but continued to compose great works.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.