A facsimile of the Heiligenstadt Testament, 1802
The Heiligenstadt Testament is a letter written by Ludwig van Beethoven to his brothers Carl and Johann at Heiligenstadt (today part of Vienna) on 6 October 1802. It reflects his despair over his increasing deafness and his desire to overcome his physical and emotional ailments in order to complete his artistic destiny. Beethoven kept the document hidden among his private papers for the rest of his life, and probably never showed it to anyone. It was discovered in March 1827, after Beethoven’s death, by Anton Schindler and Stephan von Breuning, who had it published the following October.