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Anton Felix Schindler was born to a poor family. He first started studying law and only focused on music as a leisure activity. In 1822, however, he gave up his law education and became a professional musician. He obtained the position of first violinist at the Vienna Josephsstädter Theater. It was around this time that his short acquaintance with Beethoven deepened into a closer relationship. Schindler now became Beethoven's unpaid secretary. In spite of the contact losing its closeness between 1825 and 1826, Schindler remained part of Beethoven's circle of friends until the composer's death. Soon after Beethoven had died, Schindler left Vienna and moved to Münster where he worked as a musical director. He later moved to Aachen.
In 1840 he published the first Beethoven biography.
After Beethoven's death Schindler received a number of manuscripts from the composer's bequest, among them 140 booklets in which Beethoven had noted down conversations of his last years. Schindler added several entries to give the impression that his friendship with Beethoven had begun around 1815. The first original entry is, however, from November 1822.
Since Schindler was indeed a close and devoted friend of Beethoven, his statements about the composer were seen as highly reliable. The last few decades have proven, though, that many of his observations and remarks are wrong, some facts even made up completely. Therefore, modern research does not trust his reports, unless they are confirmed otherwise.(S.B.)
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