Beethoven, Ludwig van lŭd´wĭg văn bā´tōvən, Ger. lo͝ot´vĭkh fän bāt´hōfən [key], 1770–1827, German composer. He is universally recognized as one of the greatest composers of the Western European music tradition. Beethoven's work crowned the classical period and also effectively initiated the romantic era in music. He is one of the few artists who genuinely may be considered revolutionary.
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