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Given the relatively small number of compositions by Beethoven – compared to the output of his two great contemporaries Haydn and Mozart – they stand as the greatest body of music ever composed, says John Suchet.
The former British Prime Minister James Callaghan was asked late in his long life whether there was anything he regretted not achieving. He replied that he wished he could have written Beethoven’s nine symphonies. Picture: Thinkstock
Beethoven completed five Piano Concertos in under 20 years, but from the age of 38 he would never finish one again as his deafness stopped him from performing. Picture: Getty
If Haydn is today called the ‘father’ of the String Quartet, and Mozart took the form to new heights, then Beethoven – characteristically – took hold of it and completely transformed it.
Of all the musical genres, the Piano Sonata is the only one that Beethoven worked on more or less consistently throughout his life. No large gaps as with the Symphonies or String Quartets.
Yes, just one. But what a gestation, what a struggle! It had begun life as the opera on which he agreed to collaborate with Schikaneder at the Theater an der Wien. Picture: Getty
Surprisingly Beethoven only wrote one violin concerto and it proved so popular that he transcribed it for the piano too.
Considered by many - including John Suchet - to be Beethoven's most beautiful Piano Trio, Archduke Trio marked a turning point in the composer's performing public life. Picture: Thinkstock
Beethoven's Diabelli Variations is a monumental work that stands alongside Bach’s Goldberg Variations as one of the two greatest sets of variations for piano ever composed. Picture: Getty
One of Beethoven’s most daunting works, Missa Solemnis was described by a composer and critic more than a century ago as one of the greatest masterworks in the realm of music. Picture: Getty
A personal favourite of John Suchet's, Beethoven's Egmont Overture powerfully and beautifully tells the story of Count Egmont through Beethoven's exquisite music. Picture: Getty