Ludwig van Beethoven's love life has been the cause of ceaseless nattering since well before the composer's death in 1827. Very little is known. Although he may have had affairs with some of his well-bred female fans, there never seemed to be a great "love of his life".

That is, until Anton Schindler, Beethoven's secretary and later biographer, found a now-famous letter while going through Beethoven's correspondence after his death. The two-page letter is Beethoven's attempt to explain to his "Immortal beloved" why he is late for a rendezvous:

July 6, in the morning
My angel, my all, my very self - Only a few words today and at that with pencil (with yours) - Not till tomorrow will my lodgings be definitely determined upon - what a useless waste of time - Why this deep sorrow when necessity speaks - can our love endure except through sacrifices, through not demanding everything from one another; can you change the fact that you are not wholly mine, I not wholly thine - Oh God, look out into the beauties of nature and comfort your heart with that which must be - Love demands everything and that very justly - thus it is to me with you, and to your with me....
He goes on to explain that his coach broke down on the road during a rainstorm. There are two other letters, one written the evening of July 6 and the other the morning of the following day.

No-one has ever been able to determine the identity of the object of Beethoven's affection. Of course that stops no-one from putting forth theories. Schindler's biography identified Countess Giuletta Guicciardi but there is really no evidence as to this. Scholars have decided that the only suitable Monday, July 6 was in 1812.

Immortal Beloved is also the title of a 1994 Columbia/TriStar movie, starring Gary Oldman, Jeroen Krabbe, and Isabella Rossellini, and directed by Bernard Rose, which makes up events from the life of Ludwig van Beethoven and confabulates them with real events from the composer's life.

Although the movie may portray many of the events of Beethoven's life as they happened, it also plays fast and loose with the truth for dramatic effect. Specifically, they put forward a startling theory as to the identity of Beethoven's great love.

At any rate, the movie is so corny, you will only need to bring melted butter and an empty container into the theater.

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