An interesting bit on Beethoven and the piano from the Guardian's web site. Thought it might be of interest to others:
From the article:
"History has paid little attention to Beethoven's abiding concern with his instrument. Among the first generation to grow up as pure pianists, he placed great importance on new ways of playing and writing."
"Like Mozart, he used his piano reputation to create a public for his compositions. He was a powerful player notorious for breaking hammers and strings, celebrated for his unheard-of colorations, the velocity of his scales, his singing legato, his double and triple trills."
"By the mid-1810s, as deafness encroached, the performing was all over. Visitors found his pianos had strings shredded by his frantic pounding in a desperation to hear. He removed the legs from one piano, so he could sit on the floor and feel the vibrations. Yet to the end he would improvise for hours, though he could not hear a note he played. The image is heartbreaking, and revealing. He still needed the instrument. Improvisation at the keyboard was wedded to his inspiration. And this was one of the secrets of how Beethoven managed to compose when he was all but stone deaf. As he played his pianos, which were wildly out of tune and with missing strings, he heard the music through his fingers." Article can be found here