If 2020 has been an annus horribilis thus far, then surely the best thing about it is now upon us: it marks the 250th anniversary of the year of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). December 17, 1770 is when he was christened, according to local parish records in Bonn. His actual birthday could have been at most a day or two earlier (those staunch Protestants — and Catholics — did not waste a moment in getting their infants properly baptized in those days, due to the high rates of infant mortality). Traditionally, therefore, the day which Beethoven himself celebrated — December 16 — has been accepted as his birthday.
This blog has always had a special interest in Beethoven, since his great Eroica Symphony (No. 3, op. 55, in E-Flat Major) was the subject of my honors thesis for the Music Department at Harvard, which in 2018 I greatly expanded and published as a book:
This is a short summary, which appears on the back cover:
For some of the previous blog posts in celebration of Beethoven, please follow these links: