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Classic talk: A dishevelled Beethoven finds himself behind bars

Don’t you know who I am?’ cut no ice with officers when the composer got lost after a woodland stroll

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Ludwig van Beethoven in later life

Ludwig van Beethoven in later life

Ludwig van Beethoven in later life

Unrivalled as a creator of matchless music, peerless as a performer, a gilded star of the Viennese musical scene.... and yet life for Ludwig van Beethoven was by no means plain sailing.

Most obvious was the deafness that began to afflict him in his twenties and left him completely without hearing by the time of death in 1827 aged 56. It is almost inconceivable that he was able to compose his ninth symphony, one of the most significant works in the classical canon, without being able to register a single note.


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