Ludwig van Beethoven (pronounced ) (baptized December 17, 1770 - March 26, 1827) was a German composer and pianist. He is widely regarded as one of classical music's greatest composers, and was the predominant figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music. His reputation and genius have inspired - and in many cases intimidated - ensuing generations of composers, musicians, and audiences.
Born in Bonn, Germany, he moved to Vienna, Austria, in his early twenties, and settled there, studying with Joseph Haydn and quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. In his late twenties he began to lose his hearing, and yet continued to produce notable masterpieces throughout his life in the face of this personal disaster, even after his deafness became absolute. Unusually among his contemporaries, he worked as a freelance composer, arranging subscription concerts and being supported by a number of wealthy patrons who considered his gifts extraordinary.
Symphony No. 5 first movement (file info) Problems playing the files? See media help.