250 Years of Beethoven: Beethoven and the aristocracy

Presented by Andy Bromberger as part of the 250 years of Beethoven series, this session explores Beethoven and the aristocracy. Beethoven lived in a time when one’s social class indicated one’s place in society. But even with his revolutionary views fuelled by the French Revolution of 1789 and the rise of Napoleon, Beethoven knew that to succeed one needed the support, both financially and socially, of the upper classes. This created an interesting relationship with his ‘superiors’. He said “Prince, what you are, you are through chance and birth; what I am, I am through my own labour. There are many princes and there will continue to be thousands more, but there is only one Beethoven.”