Ludwig van Beethoven liked to finish work in the early afternoon. Late afternoon and evening were devoted to relaxation. Find out what a typical day in the life of Ludwig van Beethoven looked like in this article.
What you will read in this article:
Beethoven's Daily Routine – First Work, Then Pleasure
Many composers divide their working time into two parts: they compose for 3 to 4 hours in the morning and sit down at the desk again after a longer lunch break. This is how Benjamin Britten did it, for example. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart also worked similarly, but was forced to divide his composing time into three parts.
Beethoven’s preferred rhythm of work was different and can be very aptly described by the well-known phrase: “First work, then pleasure.”
Take a look at Beethoven’s typical daily routine here:
Beethoven's First Half of the Day
Beethoven got up early, had coffee and breakfast, and then began work immediately afterwards. He then managed a massive block of work of 8 hours at a stretch. However, he interrupted work several times for short walks. According to his own statement, these stimulated his creativity.
Beethoven's Second Half of the Day
After this “forced march,” Beethoven then rang in the end of the day at 3 p.m. with a late lunch. He hated to occupy himself with his music in the afternoon or evening.
He preferred to fill the remaining hours of the day with a long walk. On the way, he liked to stop at a tavern, where he read the daily newspapers. Afterwards, he met acquaintances or went to a concert or the opera. In winter, he preferred to stay home and read in the evening hours.
Beethoven ended the day with a late-night soup, after which he treated himself to a glass of beer and a pipe of tobacco. Then he went to sleep to continue the next day with the busy first half of the day.
Everything in Balance
It is rare to observe daily schedules of artists as balanced as Beethoven’s. Work and rest times are exactly in balance. This is in this “purity” (the strict limit runs at lunch) a difference to most other composers and completely opposite to the daily routine of a “workaholic” like Mozart.