Last Months of Beethoven's Life

The last months of Beethoven's life were eventful.  On the 29th of July, 1826, his nephew Karl tried to commit suicide.  He survived a self-inflicted shot to his head.  Fortunately, the bullet just grazed his temple.

Already ill himself, Beethoven accepted his brother Johann's invitation to visit his estate at Gneixendorf (in lower Austria).  A two-day journey from Vienna, Beethoven thought the change of scenery would be good for Karl.

The brothers, however, had serious arguments - on various issues - and Ludwig decided to abruptly leave on December 1, 1826.  The only vehicle available for his return was an open milk cart.  Disregarding what that could mean, during the frigid weather, Ludwig decided to proceed anyway.  He fell ill during the journey.

Arriving home, in Vienna, Beethoven rarely left his bed.  Advancing liver disease created fluid build-ups in his abdomen, causing him to suffer greatly. 

Beethoven died, in his Vienna apartment, on the 26th of March, 1827.  He was fifty-six years old.

Credits

Clip from “Beethoven,” a 2005 BBC television production, featuring Charles Hazlewood and starring Paul Rhys as Beethoven. 

Online, via BBC Worldwide Channel at YouTube.  Copyright, BBC, all rights reserved.  Clip provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the program.

Director:
Ursula Macfarlane

Key Cast Members:

Paul Rhys
Ludwig van Beethoven

Jack Shepherd
Joseph Haydn

David Bamber
Prince Lichnowsky

Alice Eve
Countess Giulietta Guicciardi

Nicholas Farrell
Stephan von Breuning

Tom Goodman-Hill
Anton Schindler

Gareth David-Lloyd
Older Karl

Casper Harvey
Young Karl

Sarah Hadland
Johanna van Beethoven

Christian Coulson
Archduke Rudolph

Charles Hazlewood
Himself - Presenter

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