Maria van Beethoven

Maria Magdalena Keverich was the daughter of Heinrich Keverich, chief overseer of the kitchen at the palace of the Elector of Trèves at Ehrenbreitstein. Though her father in law viewed her as a chambermaid, in fact her family was well positioned and included court councillors and merchants.

At the age of 16, Maria married Johann Laym, valet to the Elector of Trèves. They had one son who did not survive infancy. Her husband also died within the first two years of their marriage and at 18, Maria was a widow.

Johann van Beethoven fell in love with the young Maria and they wed in 1767. Both families objected to the marriage. The reasons behind her family’s objections are unclear. From the van Beethoven side, the Kapellmeister, Johann’s father, made it clear that he thought they were beneath them in class standing. In actuality they were of the same class but Lodewijk felt that he was of a higher standing.

In July of 1787, Maria van Beethoven passed away. Johann had turned to alcohol more and more over the years and this is where much of his money went, leaving his family to try and survive on very little. A loving mother, she did what she could to make the best of a bad situation. Maria develop tuberculosis and did not survive.

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Filed under Composers, Mothers of Composers

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