An 1815 portrait of Beethoven by Joseph Willibrord Mähler
Happy Beethoven's birthday!
Eric Wagner's final Beethoven reading group post will run tomorrow.
Eric had a striking statement in his last post: "I consider these quartets as perhaps the greatest music ever written."
Probably Beethoven's nine symphonies are his most popular works. The 32 piano sonatas are probably the works I listen to the most often.
As Robert Anton Wilson noted at least once (I can't give you a citation), the string quartets are what Beethoven worked on at the end of his life. The last symphony, the Ninth, premiered in 1824. The last piano sonata, the very interesting No. 32, opus 111, dates to 1822. String Quartet No. 16 dates to 1826. Beethoven died March 26, 1827. As this Jan Swafford piece notes, the last piece Beethoven completed was a new ending for the No. 16 quartet.
Update: Martin Wagner points out today is Philip K. Dick's birthday, too.