Beethoven has always been one of my favourites of the great composers. He crossed over the classical period into the Romantic era with his compositions and for that reason, among others, he is seen to be quite versatile.
I love to introduce the kids to Beethoven’s music via Beethoven Lives Upstairs, which has Ludwig van Beethoven moving upstairs in the house of a bereaved boy, Christoph, and turns his life upside down. Christoph has just lost his father and is in no mood for the tail-spin his house has been thrown into by this mad composer. Initially he resents their new eccentric tenant, Mr. Beethoven, but slowly he comes to understand and admire the genius of the man, the torment of his deafness and the beauty of his music. In the end he is won over by the music and true incidents from the great composer’s life.
What kids will learn:
Biography, introduction to classical music, grieving, responsibility and caring, learning about disabilities, and recognizing one’s Talent through it all!
“Ludwig van Beethoven was baptized on December 17th 1770 at Bonn. His family originated from Brabant, in Belgium. His father was musician at the Court of Bonn, with a definite weakness for drink. His mother was always described as a gentle, retiring woman, with a warm heart. Beethoven referred to her as his “best friend”.”lvbeethoven.com
Here’s the Moonlight Sonata from Beethoven Lives Upstairs for your listening pleasure.
Beethoven composed this Sonata in 1801 and dedicated it to his pupil, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi. Shortly after their first few lessons, the two fell in love. After dedicating the Moonlight Sonata to her, it is believed that Beethoven gave his proposal of marriage. Although she was willing to accept Beethoven’s proposal, one of her parents forbade the marriage, probably due to Beethoven’s rank in life and temperament, and it did not come to pass.
Strangely enough, the original title of the sonata was not “The Moonlight Sonata.” It was “Quasi una fantasia” (almost a fantasy). The popular title of Moonlight Sonata actually did not come about until a few years after Beethoven’s death. In 1836, German music critic, Ludwig Rellstab wrote that the sonata put him in mind of the reflected moonlight off Lake Lucerne. Since then, Moonlight Sonata has remained the “official” unofficial title of the sonata.