Beethoven’s First Composition

I watched a very cool documentary last night on TVO called “In Search Of Beethoven”, about the life of enigmatic genius Ludwig van Beethoven. He was born into a musical family (his father and grandfather were court musicians), and gave his first public performance at the age of 7. This is his first published composition, written when he was around 12. One of the musicologists in the documentary talks about how there is almost “too much piano” in this piece. The young Beethoven was clearly showing off his incredible natural talent. As was common at the time, it’s based on an earlier work by another composer, but Ludwig takes it to a higher level.

Here is “9 Variations in Cm, on a march by Ernst Dressler”:

Part Two of the documentary airs tonight on TVO. I highly recommend it. These famous composers really were just like rock stars: they drank and ate expensively, moved in elite circles, conned their employers out of money, developed substance abuse problems, had affairs with beautiful women, and everything else that we associate with the rock star mythos. These guys did it all first, and Ludwig was definitely one of the most “rock and roll” classical composers.


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