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Ludwig van Beethoven was, and remains today, an Olympian figure in the history of classical music. His influence on the last 150 years of music is unequalled; while generaly a member of the Classicist fold, he was in fact the first Romantic, and pre-figured virtually all music that followed the Romantic era ....

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.... on court appointments or private patrons for his livelihood. He did receive stipends from admirers and friends, but he remained independent of the shackles of conditional patronage that frustrated so many of his contemporaries. Beethoven was lucky in one sense; he rose to prominence in the musical world at a time when social strata were becoming more flexible, and the emerging power of the middle class provided him many opportunities for performances of his music for public audiences. This, combined with lucrative publishing arrangements, allowed him to live relatively well. He was not ignora ....

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