The genius on holiday

Ludwig van Beethoven: The world-renowned composer may have celebrated his greatest triumphs in Vienna, but he preferred to relax in Lower Austria.

Beethoven's life was a glittering success, but it was shadowed by illness. The most important composer of the First Viennese School alongside Mozart and Haydn spent many happy days in Baden and Mödling.

Beethoven was born into a family of musicians in Bonn in 1770. His father wanted to make the talented youngster into the next Mozart and when he was only seven years old, Ludwig was sent on concert tours. In 1792, following the death of his mother, he accepted an invitation from Joseph Haydn to move to Vienna and lived in the imperial city from this time on. He enjoyed amazing success as a composer and pianist in Vienna, although he was plagued by a worsening hearing impediment and periods of depression from 1802. He gave his last concert in 1815 and went completely deaf in 1818. Despite his condition, he continued to compose. He died of liver disease in 1827 at the age of 57.

Composers of the First Viennese School

Ludwig van Beethoven is considered the consummate composer of the First Viennese School and the pioneer of Romanticism. More specifically, his symphonies, piano sonatas and string quartets have greatly influenced music history. Even his contemporaries were aware of his amazing talent. Mozart and Hayden taught the young Beethoven; as a feted star, the composer was one of the highest-earning artists of his time. He also had royal patronage, which in many respects, is noteworthy. On the one hand, Beethoven was seen as a difficult rebel in his personal life. On the other, the composer took the music from courts and royal palaces and performed his pieces in civic concert halls.

Beethoven in Lower Austria

From 1804, Beethoven retreated to the countryside in summer preferring the spa resorts south of Vienna. In Baden, a town the composer visited fifteen times, he created many pieces, including the majority of the 9th Symphony. During the summers he spent in Mödling between 1818 to 1820, he composed his famous piano sonatas and worked on Missa solemnis. In both places, museums in the houses where Beethoven stayed are dedicated to the famous visitor. Baden is home to Beethovenhaus at Rathausgasse 10 and the memorial in Mödling can be found in Hafnerhaus at Hauptstraße 79.