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.
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.
Key Cast Members:
Ludwig van Beethoven
Countess Giulietta Guicciardi
Stephan von Breuning
Johanna van Beethoven
Himself - Presenter