Beethoven - George Upton

This children's biography of Beethoven focuses on the youth of the great composer, a period of hardship due mainly to the abuse his family suffered at the hands of his talented, but violent and alcoholic father. Beethoven's genius was apparent from an early age, and he received support from friends and admirers, yet his life included many struggles and much sadness. His tremendous achievements were a result of prodigious effort, resolve, and courage as well as talent, and this short biography covers just those dramatic episodes most likely to be of interest to young people.

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[Title Page] from Beethoven by George Upton
Beethoven and parents


[Copyright Page] from Beethoven by George Upton

Translator's Preface

The life-story of Beethoven, contained in these pages, is a résumé of the events of his childhood and youth, those of his maturer years being merely indicated in order to give symmetry to the narrative. It covers just that period of his life in which young readers are likely to be interested. Those who have the leisure and inclination to study the details of his entire career will find them in the biographies of Schindler, Ries, Marx, Thayer, and others, but it is questionable whether any of these will bring the reader as closely to the actual man and musician as this little story. And this is so not only because it is a story, but because it is a story true to life, with actual, not imaginary, personages, set in a social, domestic, and musical environment which is accurately reproduced, and dealing with historical events which are correctly stated. In a strict sense, therefore, it is not fiction, far less is it rhapsody; and to this extent it is valuable not alone for facts charmingly set forth, but for effects, which are realistic and which seem to bring the actual Beethoven before the reader.

It is the story of a sad struggle against obstacles which sometimes appeared almost insuperable; but its lesson for youth is the reward of world-wide fame which followed the exercise of industry, courage, honesty, self-respect, and self-devotion to his calling. The translator has endeavored to reproduce the story in an English setting without sacrificing its charming German characteristics.

G. P. U.

CHICAGO, September 1, 1904.

[Contents] from Beethoven by George Upton
[Illustrations] from Beethoven by George Upton


The following is a chronological statement of the principal events in the life of Ludwig van Beethoven, which was mostly spent in Vienna, and mainly devoted to composition:

1770    Born at Bonn, Prussia, Dec. 16.
1783    First composition, "Variations on a March."
1785    Appointed Court Organist.
1787    Sent to Vienna by Elector of Cologne to study with Mozart.
1792    Second visit to Vienna to study with Haydn.
1795    Composed three trios in Vienna, marked Opus 1, indicating that
he regarded all he had previously produced as of no consequence.
1796    Made an artistic tour in North Germany.
1797    First Symphony.
1798    Deafness began, and increased during the remainder of his life.
1802    Second Symphony.
1803    Oratorio of Mount of Olives "performed in Vienna.
1804    Third Symphony ("Eroica").
1805    Composed "Fidelio," his only opera.
1806    Fourth Symphony.
1808    Fifth Symphony.
1808    Sixth Symphony ("Pastoral").
1812    Seventh Symphony.
1812    Eighth Symphony ("The Little").
1822    Mass in D.
1823    Ninth Symphony ("Choral") .
1827    Died in Vienna, Dec. 26.