Ludwig van Beethoven, A study in text and pictures by Hans Conrad Fischer

Ludwig cover

Here is another vintage book in my collection on Beethoven. I got this one free from Healthy Planet,  who as I have mentioned before give out books for free, thus saving them from landfill. it is remarkable that this book was there as it is out of print (published in 1970) and much sought after. It has some great illustrations and photos-  some of my favourites are included in this post.

I like this quote from Kaplan Carl Ludwig Junker ( a writer and music lover) who heard the 21 year old “attractive, gentle” Beethoven play the fortepiano and wrote an article for Boslers musikalischer Korrepondenz on 23rd November 1791:


Beethoven, around the age of 21:

youngLudwig BonnAbove: Bonn as Beethoven knew it

Below, his album with the famous quote by Count Waldstein:

his albummusicroomAbove: Count Razumovsky’s  grand looking music room in his palace. I expect the acoustics must have been marvellous, but it must have been very cold in winter!

sealAbove: some of Beethoven’s personal belongings.

Below: Beethoven lived in many apartments and houses.




Below: in one of his conversation books there are notes about house hunting:


Another of his conversation books below:


Here he has written an idea for the beginning of the Credo of Missa Solemnis in a conversation book, next to an address of a dentist!


I wonder if he actually went to this “dentist”? Whoever this “dentist” was, we today would certainly not call him such, and would not welcome his attentions to our teeth at all. (They were often barber-dentists). I expect Beethoven wasn’t too keen to visit him either ( though it could have been nephew Karl who had toothache not Ludwig). I recently read that Beethoven had a gold filling in one of his teeth. This is the kind of “drill” that barber dentists used back then:

(Picture credit: http://collectmedicalantiques.com/gallery/dental-instruments)

I don’t like the look of that thing at all!

Most dentists continued to use simple steel drills that they twirled between thumb and forefinger. The drill’s simplicity was not a virtue from the patient’s standpoint: A medium-sized cavity required at least half an hour of pressure and twirling, so it’s no surprise that many toothache sufferers chose extraction over filling.


That was equally horrible- the item of torture used to extract the unfortunate person’s tooth, was the tooth key:

toothkey(Picture credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tooth_key_for_removing_teeth,_1700s_to_early_1800s_-_Joseph_Allen_Skinner_Museum_-_DSC07855.JPG)

Visiting the dentist in the 1970s was scary enough- I remember my legs shaking when the dentist came to my primary school. I don’t know how Beethoven got the courage to go to the “dentist”-it must have been torturous. He wasn’t exactly known for his patience at times either- imagine sitting there with all that agonising twirling..

Here we can see what he thought of kings:

kingsSo I can’t imagine he was that fond of dentists..lol..