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Beethoven's 9th Fell on His Own Deaf Ears



At the age of only 26 years old, Ludwig Van Beethoven began to lose his hearing. A severe form of tinnitus left him with a constant ringing in the ears that made it difficult for him to hear music as well as engage in everyday conversations. A well known story describes how he was unable to hear the applause when the 9th Symphony premiered and had to be turned around to see the tumultuous applause of the audience. A Straight Dope Classic describes:

The Ninth Symphony had its first performance on May 7, 1824, at Vienna's Karntnertorm Theater. By this time Beethoven was totally deaf, so there could be no question of his conducting the premiere. However, he did stand next to the conductor during the performance to indicate the proper tempi. The music was received with a great deal of emotion, not only by the audience but, more unusually, by the orchestra (some of the players reportedly wept)...





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