BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, June 12, 1820

On this date, June 12, 1820, Beethoven’s sister-in-law Johanna van Beethoven (Karl’s mother), gives birth to an illegitimate daughter. Beethoven does not learn of the birth until significantly later; even in early July she will be described in the conversation books as “expecting.” Beethoven will use this pregnancy and birth to support his claim that Johanna is an immoral woman not fit to be Karl’s guardian, and he also attempts to use it as a wedge between Karl and his mother. Probably to irritate the composer, with whom she had long-running hostilities, Johanna named the illegitimate daughter Ludovika Johanna.