Beethoven’s fame during his lifetime reached its peak in 1814. The enthusiastic response from the public to his music at this time was focused on showy works, such as Wellington’s Victory. During the last decade of his life, Beethoven had almost completely lost his hearing, and he was increasingly socially isolated. Plagued at times by serious illness, Beethoven nevertheless maintained his sense of humour and he often amused himself with jokes and puns.
He continued to work at a high level of creativity until he contracted pneumonia in December 1826. He died in Vienna in March 1827. Beethoven’s music is generally divided into three main creative periods. The first, or early Period extends to about 1802, when the composer made reference to a “new manner” or “new way” in connection with his art. The second, or middle, period extends to about 1812, after the completion of his seventh and eighth symphonies. The third, or late, period emerged gradually; Beethoven composed its pivotal work, the Hammerklavier Sonata.