On this day in 1827, Beethoven passed away quietly in his bed in Vienna, at the age of 56 -- ill for many years and totally deaf. There's probably nothing to the claim that thunder struck, he raised his fist to shake it at the sky, and then died.
However, there's this: When Beethoven, late in his life, and fully deaf, survived a serious illness, he wrote a slow movement for one of his fabled final string quartets, calling it a "convalescent's holy song of Thanksgiving," now known as the Heiliger Dankgesang. I am not alone in considering it one of the greatest and most profound pieces of music ever written. Plus latest on our film and book about Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.