When he lodged in Heiligenstadt, during the summer of 1802, Beethoven did not only have to come to terms with losing his hearing and related to this, his career as a highly sought after conductor – he also lost the woman he loved. Countess Guiletta Guicciardi was a piano pupil of Beethoven. She fell in love with him for a time, and in 1802, he dedicated his Moonlight piano sonata to her, after she had refused his marriage proposal and went on to marry someone else.
As a matter of fact, Giuletta was not the woman addressed as “immortal beloved ” by Beethoven in the three letters found after his death. They were written in 1812 and are known as the “Immortal Beloved Letters”. It is not known who they were meant for.
Good morning, on July 7
Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us – I can live only wholly with you or not at all – Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits – Yes, unhappily it must be so – You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart – never – never – Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. And yet my life in V is now a wretched life – Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men – At my age I nedd a steady, quiet life – can that be so in our connection? My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day – therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once – Be calm, only by a clam consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm – love me – today – yesterday – what tearful longings for you – you – you – my life – my all – farewell. Oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
(Immortal Beloved Letter # 3)
It appears that one calamity after the other threw the successful composer and conductor Beethoven off his promising career track. He had to give up everything – health, income, marriage. He became a recluse but his compositions reached a depth and a profound passion, never heard before or after.