Classical Music Ludwig Van Beethoven

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1 Non-fiction: Classical Music Ludwig Van Beethoven Classical Music Ludwig Van Beethoven When Beethoven met Mozart in Vienna in 1787, Mozart said, You will make a big noise in the world. Mozart was right. Today Beethoven is known as one of the best composers of all time. Some of his most famous pieces are his Fifth and Ninth Symphonies, Für Elise, and the Moonlight Sonata. Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany on December 16, Beethoven had a big temper. He wasn t mad all of the time; he was just moody. 1 He would explode at someone, and then he would ask forgiveness and be very generous. He was also very impulsive. 2 Sometimes the famous composer would not finish writing the piece of music he was working on until the day of the performance. This gave his players almost no time to practice. Beethoven had a lot of friends, but he never married. His greatest passion in life was music. He poured his love into the notes he wrote. Some of his music falls into the category of Romanticism. This type of music, like Beethoven, is impulsive. It is based more on emotion than on structure and patterns. Have you ever heard of Napoleon, the emperor of France? At first, Beethoven was very impressed by Napoleon s revolutionary 3 ways. The end of the French monarchy excited him. He decided to dedicate one of his symphonies to Napoleon. But then, in 1804, Napoleon declared himself emperor. An absolute ruler ruled France. It was like a monarchy all over again! Beethoven was furious. He felt that Napoleon had betrayed the French people. He was so mad that he tore up the title page of his symphony. 1 moody affected by changeable and gloomy moods 2 impulsive acting on sudden feelings rather than by thoughtful reasoning 3 revolutionary relating to the overthrow of one government and the substitution of another by the governed 1

2 Non-fiction: Classical Music Ludwig Van Beethoven Later in his life, Beethoven was giving a concert. He heard a nobleman start whispering during his performance. Beethoven looked up and stopped playing. He said, For such pigs I do not play! and refused to start again. Back then, wealthy people listened to music for entertainment. Concerts were like a hobby to them. There were no recordings. But Beethoven insisted that they take his music seriously. Around 1801, Beethoven began to lose his hearing. For a while he kept writing music. He wrote his first and only opera. He wrote one of his most famous symphonies, Number 5 in C minor during this time. He described the symphony as fate knocking at the door. He felt that his loss of hearing was a sign that death was coming for him. Even though he knew what was happening to him, Beethoven was horrified. He did not want to admit to his rival 4 musicians that he was losing his hearing. He thought that they might question his ability to write music. In the last decade of his life, Beethoven lost his hearing completely. Even though he could not hear, Beethoven could probably feel the vibrations of music. Shut off from the world of sound, Beethoven entered more and more into the world of notes in his head. All he wanted to do was play music. He began to be careless about taking care of himself. Sometimes he wouldn t bathe. Sometimes he wouldn t even dress. If friends came to visit him while he was writing music, he would not acknowledge them. Beethoven s last symphony took six years to compose. He wrote it to go with the words to a poem called Ode to Joy by a German poet. When the symphony was finished, Beethoven was almost completely deaf. Still, he insisted on conducting the piece himself. When all the instruments had stopped, he kept conducting because he could not hear that the piece had ended. Finally, one of 4 rival competitor; someone fighting for the same reward 2

3 Non-fiction: Classical Music Ludwig Van Beethoven the singers let him know that the piece was over. He turned around slowly to see an audience applauding crazily with appreciation of his piece. On March 26, 1827, Beethoven died. Three days later, 20,000 people lined the streets for his funeral. He was very well known during his lifetime. He said once, Composers do not cry. Composers are made of fire. His songs still give this fire to his listeners today. 3

4 Questions: Classical Music Ludwig Van Beethoven Name: Date: 1. The last symphony Beethoven wrote was inspired by a. a poem. b. a friend. c. a book. d. another piece of music. 2. When Beethoven tore up the title page of his symphony dedicated to Napoleon, he wanted to show that a. he respected Napoleon as the new emperor. b. he was against Napoleon declaring himself emperor. c. he did not think that title pages are an important part of music. d. he wanted the old monarch to take control from Napoleon. 3. When Mozart said, You will make a big noise in the world, he probably meant that Beethoven would a. never write anything of very good quality. b. write music to be played very loudly. c. become a very important musician. d. travel the world to perform his music. 4. Read the following sentences: His greatest passion in life was music. He poured his love into the notes he wrote. The word passion most nearly means a. obsession b. enemy c. fear d. influence 5. The main idea of this passage is that a. Beethoven fought with other people about how to enjoy music. b. people who love something can fight through obstacles. c. Beethoven is one of the greatest composers ever. d. listening to music too much caused Beethoven to go deaf. 4

5 Questions: Classical Music Ludwig Van Beethoven 6. Explain how Beethoven s feelings for Napoleon changed over time. 7. Explain what Beethoven meant when he said, Composers are made of fire. Use examples from the text to support your answer. 8. The question below is an incomplete sentence. Choose the answer that best completes the sentence. Beethoven expected others to take music seriously, the people attending his concerts. a. instead b. especially c. often d. since 9. Read the following sentence. After he had gone deaf, Beethoven composed and conducted symphonies because he loved music so much. Answer the questions below based on the information provided in the sentence you just read. One of the questions has already been answered for you. 1. Who? Beethoven 2. What did Beethoven do? 3. Why? 4. When? 5

6 Questions: Classical Music Ludwig Van Beethoven 10. Vocabulary Word: impulsive: acting on sudden feelings rather than by thoughtful reasoning Use the vocabulary word in a sentence: 6

7 Answers: Classical Music Ludwig Van Beethoven Passage Reading Level: Lexile 660 Teacher Guide and Answers Featured Text Structure: Descriptive the writer explains, defines or illustrates a concept or topic Passage Summary: Ludwig van Beethoven was an emotional and talented composer. During his lifetime he wrote many symphonies and an opera. He continued to write music even after he had gone completely deaf. 1. The last symphony Beethoven wrote was inspired by a. a poem. b. a friend. c. a book. d. another piece of music. 2. When Beethoven tore up the title page of his symphony dedicated to Napoleon, he wanted to show that a. he respected Napoleon as the new emperor. b. he was against Napoleon declaring himself emperor. c. he did not think that title pages are an important part of music. d. he wanted the old monarch to take control from Napoleon. 3. When Mozart said, You will make a big noise in the world, he probably meant that Beethoven would a. never write anything of very good quality. b. write music to be played very loudly. c. become a very important musician. d. travel the world to perform his music. 4. Read the following sentences: His greatest passion in life was music. He poured his love into the notes he wrote. The word passion most nearly means a. obsession b. enemy c. fear d. influence 7

8 Answers: Classical Music Ludwig Van Beethoven 5. The main idea of this passage is that a. Beethoven fought with other people about how to enjoy music. b. people who love something can fight through obstacles. c. Beethoven is one of the greatest composers ever. d. listening to music too much caused Beethoven to go deaf. 6. Explain how Beethoven s feelings for Napoleon changed over time. Suggested answer: At first Beethoven was impressed by Napoleon s revolutionary ways. He was glad that Napoleon was getting rid of the monarchy that existed in France. Later, Beethoven was furious that Napoleon had declared himself emperor, or the sole ruler of France. 7. Explain what Beethoven meant when he said, Composers are made of fire. Use examples from the text to support your answer. Suggested answer: Beethoven meant that composers must have a lot of energy, love, and passion for music. The fact that he continued to compose after losing his hearing, and that he once refused to keep going because a nobleman was talking during a performance are evidence that he was extremely passionate about his music. 8. The question below is an incomplete sentence. Choose the answer that best completes the sentence. Beethoven expected others to take music seriously, the people attending his concerts. a. instead b. especially c. often d. since 9. Read the following sentence. After he had gone deaf, Beethoven composed and conducted symphonies because he loved music so much. Answer the questions below based on the information provided in the sentence you just read. One of the questions has already been answered for you. 8

9 Answers: Classical Music Ludwig Van Beethoven 1. Who? Beethoven 2. What did Beethoven do? composed and conducted symphonies 3. Why? because he loved music so much 4. When? after he had gone deaf 10. Vocabulary Word: impulsive: acting on sudden feelings rather than by thoughtful reasoning. Use the vocabulary word in a sentence: answers may vary. 9

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