The Story Behind Beethoven’s Rage Over A Lost Penny

Beethoven’s rage was as famous as his cantankerous household habits.

He moved dozens of times, often the result of a dispute with the landlord.

Once Beethoven cut a hole in the wall of his RENTAL apartment, because he thought there was a fine view of the Cathedral that he was missing.

His landlord was a little perturbed, having not been told of Beethoven’s whimsical alterations.

Beethoven’s reaction was to get mad at the landlord, and immediately move to another apartment, leaving the huge hole in wall.

Beethoven was also known to play the piano loudly, and many complaints were registered by neighbors about the great composer’s strange hours.

He was famous for his disputes with his housekeepers, and had trouble finding anyone who would work in a household in such constant turmoil.

There were complaints by neighbors of loud crashing noises as Beethoven threw plates and books at the maids he had hired to serve him.

Beethoven often accused the maids of stealing coins from him.

And the Maestro’s dining habits left much to be desired.

One housekeeper would bring him a tray of food only to find that it was untouched weeks later. Uneaten trays of food piled up in the corner, right next to stacks of scores of the great genius’s symphonies.

But Beethoven was more likely to eat at the neighborhood pub than his lonely apartments.

He was a fixture at the local bar and would drink red wine in his private booth.

At one point Beethoven was composing his famed RONDO CAPRICCIO, a booming and boisterous piece that exuded energy and vitality.

One night a neighbor heard a loud dispute.

Beethoven was in a rage, accusing a maid of stealing a gold penny, and he was screaming. The maid ran out, never to be heard from again.

The neighbor then heard furniture crashing, and he could only conclude that the great Maestro was tipping over furniture, madly looking for the lost gold penny.

The story spread through the neighborhood, and became part of the legend of Beethoven’s bad moods and curmudgeonly behavior.

But more remarkable is the fact that the piece Beethoven was composing at the time of this story, the RONDO CAPRICCIO, became nicknamed the RAGE OVER A LOST PENNY for its rollicking, pounding enthusiasm.


It remains one of Beethoven’s most cherished masterpieces.




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