Biography

Who the Hell Am I?

How about we play another fun and exciting game of Who the Hell Am I?

In this game you get 10 clues to guess the name of a famous person. These clues are numbered countdown-style, 10 to 1, with the first clue numbered 10. Your score is determined by the highest numbered clue that evokes the correct answer.

At the end of the clues you can click a link for the answer. However, the link is numbered zero, so if you haven’t figured out the answer by the time you click it, you get no points.

Who the hell am I?

10. I was born in Bonn, Germany, in December, 1770. I’m named after my grandfather, who was a pre-eminent musician in Bonn. His son, my father Johann, was alcoholic and very abusive. He pushed the family tradition of music heavily on me, which often left me traumatized and in tears. He also promoted me as a child prodigy, and would lie about my age to make me seem younger than I was. But all the pushing paid off, as I was able to publish my first musical work in 1783, at age 13.

9. In 1791, at age 21, I moved to Vienna, where I quickly became renowned as a virtuoso pianist. I was regarded by the Viennese as the successor to Mozart, who had died the same year I arrived in Vienna.

8. My friend, the German playwright Johann Goethe, once wrote the following about me: “His talent amazed me; unfortunately he is an utterly untamed personality, who is not altogether wrong in holding the world to be detestable, but surely does not make it any more enjoyable … by his attitude.”

7. I never married, but had many heart throbs. In 1801, I fell in love with a young countess named Julie Guicciardi, but due to class differences I did not pursue her. However, I did dedicate my famous Moonlight Sonata to her. And in 1810, at age 40, I proposed to the 19-year-old niece of my doctor. But she rejected me. For her, I wrote the short piano piece, FΓΌr Elise.

Josephine Brunsvik

6. After my death, a 10-page, unsent love letter was discovered in my estate, addressed to my “Immortal Beloved.” Scholars have debated for many years as to the identity of this person. Many believe it was a young widow named Josephine Brunsvik. I had fallen hopelessly in love with Josephine in 1799, but she was an aristocrat and could not marry me. In 1994, a movie was produced entitled “Immortal Beloved,” which portrayed the addressee of this letter as my sister-in-law, Johanna Reiss.

5. In 1798, at age 28, I got into a quarrel with a singer, and fell into a fit. It was at this time that I first noticed that I was losing my hearing. By the time I was 31, my growing deafness led me to contemplate suicide. So I moved to a small town in Austria, where I spent six months trying to come to terms with my condition. At this time I became determined that if I should “seize Fate by the throat; it shall certainly not crush me completely.” I continued on as a musician, and was open to the public about my condition. I maintained most of my ability to hear speech and music normally until age 42. But I never went completely deaf. Even up to my death, I could still hear low tones and sudden loud sounds.

4. My First Symphony premiered in 1800, when I was 30. I would go on to compose nine major orchestral pieces in my lifetime. In 1803, I composed my Third Symphony, in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte, whom I greatly admired. But shortly after giving it the title, Bonaparte, I learned he had declared himself the Emperor of France. This ran contrary to the democratic and anti-monarchical ideals of the French Revolution, and in a rage I ripped his name from the title. It was renamed, Eroica.

3. My Fifth Symphony was the last piano concerto that I would compose. I composed it in Vienna in 1809, while Napoleon was besieging the city. To protect my deteriorating hearing from drums, cannonfire, shelling, and other loud war noises, I hid in a cellar much of the time, and covered my ears with pillows. However, by the time this symphony premiered in public in 1811, I had lost so much of my hearing, I could not perform at the piano. This symphony was given the title, The Emperor, by others, but I do not approve of this, because I did not like Napoleon.

2. I composed my final symphony, Symphony #9, while I was almost completely deaf. Critics have lauded it as one of the supreme achievements in the history of music. This is the first ever major symphonic composition that incorporated choral music, and the words to the music were taken from a poem by Friedrich Schiller, entitled Ode to Joy. It premiered in Vienna on May 7, 1824. In spite of my deafness, I insisted on helping the official conductor, but I didn’t know that he had instructed the musicians and singers to ignore me. I was still conducting after it ended, and had to be physically turned around to see the standing ovation my symphony was receiving.

1. Over my lifetime, I composed many famous musical pieces. I died on March 26, 1827, at age 56, and have been decomposing ever since. I was a heavy drinker during my life, much like my father. I was bedridden from an illness for three months before I died and ironically, my doctor treated this illness with alcohol. An autopsy revealed significant liver damage, so I probably succumbed to cirrhosis of the liver.

0. Still can’t guess my name? You can click on this link and read all about me on Wikipedia. But let’s face the music: you get zero points.

If you want to hear some of my music, here’s Lang Lang performing FΓΌr Elise, the short bagatelle I composed for a 19-year-old woman who rejected my marriage proposal:

Categories: Biography

82 replies »

          • It’s a pretty badass piece of music, even on a piano. The sheet music for the third movement looks like someone emptied a machine gun at the page. My mom could play it… though I couldn’t testify as to how well.

            You know, a lot of these composers were the edgy musicians of their time, breaking old traditions. Concerts weren’t what we think of as the “classical” performances of today either… often more like intoxicated mass picnics.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I think you’d have to be a pretty damn good musician to play Beethoven’s stuff.

              Yeah, Beethoven was considered edgy. He’s credited with initiating the Romantic era of classical music, with some of his pieces.

              So, the audience members were like roadhouse customers? I wonder if the performers had a net for blocking any beer bottles tossed at them.

              Liked by 1 person

  1. since I only know three classical musicians, and you eliminated Mozart with the second clue, I had it narrowed down to one of two people at that point. I finally narrowed it down to one of them on clue number four.

    loved all the puns in the comments…

    on a related note, my favorite classical painter is one of the three stooges. I love Moe’s Art…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Suspected at 10, nearly confirmed by 9. 8 did nothing to help, and knew for sure by 7. I cannot even begin to explain why I know any of this… I must have retained something from all the years of not learning anything musical in music classes

    Liked by 1 person

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