Beethoven: The Man and the Artist by Ludwig van Beethoven. This long-esteemed book offers the reader a highly interesting glimpse of Beethoven, the man. Beethoven's relation to art might almost be described as personal. Art was his goddess to whom he made petition, to whom he rendered thanks, whom he defended. He praised her as his savior in times of despair; by his own confession it was only the prospect of her comforts that prevented him from laying violent hands on himself. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is widely considered to be one of the pre-eminent classical music figures of the Western world. This German musical genius created numerous works that are firmly entrenched in the repertoire. Except for a weakness in composing vocal and operatic music (to which he himself admitted, notwithstanding a few vocal works like the opera "Fidelio" and the song "Adelaide,"), Beethoven had complete mastery of the artform. He left his stamp in 9 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, 10 violin sonatas, 32 piano sonatas, numerous string quartets and dozens of other key works.