Ludwig van Beethoven

Biography

Born: 1770, Germany   Died: 1827, Austria   Period: Classical, Romantic
The events of Beethoven's life are the stuff of Romantic legend, evoking images of the solitary creator shaking his fist at Fate and finally overcoming it through a supreme effort of creative will. Born in the small German city of Bonn on or around December 16, 1770, he received his early training from his father and other local musicians. As a teenager, he earned some money as an assistant to his teacher, Christian Gottlob Neefe, then was Read more granted half of his father's salary as court musician from the Electorate of Cologne in order to care for his two younger brothers as his father gave in to alcoholism. Beethoven played viola in various orchestras, becoming friends with other players such as Antoine Reicha, Nikolaus Simrock, and Franz Ries, and began taking on composition commissions. As a member of the court chapel orchestra, he was able to travel some and meet members of the nobility, one of whom, Count Ferdinand Waldstein, would become a great friend and patron to him. Beethoven moved to Vienna in 1792 to study with Haydn; despite the prickliness of their relationship, Haydn's concise humor helped form Beethoven's style. His subsequent teachers in composition were Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and Antonio Salieri. In 1794, he began his career in earnest as a pianist and composer, taking advantage whenever he could of the patronage of others. Around 1800, Beethoven began to notice his gradually encroaching deafness. His growing despondency only intensified his antisocial tendencies. However, the Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," of 1803 began a sustained period of groundbreaking creative triumph. In later years, Beethoven was plagued by personal difficulties, including a series of failed romances and a nasty custody battle over a nephew, Karl. Yet after a long period of comparative compositional inactivity lasting from about 1811 to 1817, his creative imagination triumphed once again over his troubles. Beethoven's late works, especially the last five of his 16 string quartets and the last four of his 32 piano sonatas, have an ecstatic quality in which many have found a mystical significance. Beethoven died in Vienna on March 26, 1827.
Beethoven's epochal career is often divided into early, middle, and late periods, represented, respectively, by works based on Classic-period models, by revolutionary pieces that expanded the vocabulary of music, and by compositions written in a unique, highly personal musical language incorporating elements of contrapuntal and variation writing while approaching large-scale forms with complete freedom. Though certainly subject to debate, these divisions point to the immense depth and multifariousness of Beethoven's creative personality. Beethoven profoundly transformed every genre he touched, and the music of the nineteenth century seems to grow from his compositions as if from a chrysalis. A formidable pianist, he moved the piano sonata from the drawing room to the concert hall with such ambitious and virtuosic middle-period works as the "Waldstein" (No. 21) and "Appassionata" (No. 23) sonatas. His song cycle An die ferne Geliebte of 1816 set the pattern for similar cycles by all the Romantic song composers, from Schubert to Wolf. The Romantic tradition of descriptive or "program" music began with Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6. Even in the second half of the nineteenth century, Beethoven still directly inspired both conservatives (such as Brahms, who, like Beethoven, fundamentally stayed within the confines of Classical form) and radicals (such as Wagner, who viewed the Ninth Symphony as a harbinger of his own vision of a total art work, integrating vocal and instrumental music with the other arts). In many ways revolutionary, Beethoven's music remains universally appealing because of its characteristic humanism and dramatic power. Read less
Beethoven, Period. / Haimovitz, O'Riley
Release Date: 02/10/2015   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 186475   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 3, 4, 27 / Richter
Release Date: 01/17/2012   Label: Musical Concepts  
Catalog: 1158   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Sonata Op 111;  Schumann / Ivo Pogorelich
Release Date: 07/01/1983   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 4105202   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Sonatas Op 31 & 49 / Maurizio Pollini
Release Date: 01/06/2015   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002235102   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Trios
Release Date: 07/12/2011   Label: Musical Concepts  
Catalog: 1141   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 26-50 of 5981 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    100 Classical Masterworks
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002188102 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Edvard Grieg,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Lorin Maazel,  Neeme Järvi,  Herbert von Karajan,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Neeme Järvi,  Herbert von Karajan,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theater Violin Ensemble,  Ansbach Bach Week Soloists Union,  Salzburg Mozarteum Camerata Academica  ... 
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  • 27.
    Bach & Beethoven: Mostly Transcriptions 2 / Tien Hsieh
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1531 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ferruccio Busoni,  Franz Liszt,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Tien Hsieh
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  • 28.
    Beethoven: Sonatas Op 31 & 49 / Maurizio Pollini
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002235102 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
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  • 29.
    Kyung Wha Chung - Complete Decca Recordings [19 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002217700 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jean Sibelius,  Fritz Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Kyung-Wha Chung,  Phillip Moll,  Radu Lupu,  Myung-Wha Chung  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  André Previn,  Rudolf Kempe,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 30.
    Sviatoslav Richter - Complete Decca, Philips & DG Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002236002 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Mikhail Kopelman,  Valentin Berlinsky,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Wislocki,  Kurt Sanderling,  Witold Rowicki,  János Ferencsik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moragues Woodwind Quintet members,  Borodin String Quartet,  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 31.
    Beethoven: Easy Pianoworks, Vol. 1
    Label: Tuxedo Music   Catalog: 1043 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jörg Demus
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  • 32.
    Beethoven: Sonatas Op. 106 & 109 / Rubinova
    Label: Telos   Catalog: 193 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Evgenia Rubinova
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  • 33.
    Beethoven: Triple Concerto; Violin Concerto
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350082 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Svyatoslav Knushevitsky,  Lev Oborin,  David Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  André Cluytens
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  • 34.
    Decca - Vienna Philharmonic - The Orchestral Edition
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002227902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 65
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Tom Krause,  Werner Krenn,  Elly Ameling,  Werner Tripp  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux,  Herbert von Karajan,  Karl Münchinger,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Singverein  ... 
    On sale! $199.98
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  • 35.
    Karajan - 1980s
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002187902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 78
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Anton Bruckner,  Johannes Brahms,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  José Van Dam,  Barbara Hendricks,  Gösta Winbergh  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Domenico Bartolucci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein  ... 
    On sale! $259.98
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  • 36.
    Beethoven: The Creatures of Prometheus / Orpheus CO
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 419608 Release Date: 12/04/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Beethoven: Symphony 7, Great Fugue / Piano Duo Trenkner  Speidel
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9301861 Release Date: 12/02/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Evelinde Trenkner,  Sontraud Speidel
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  • 38.
    Charles Rosen - The Complete Columbia and Epic Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301476 Release Date: 12/02/2014   Number of Discs: 21
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Charles Rosen,  Paul Jacobs,  Robert Casadesus,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Conductor:  Frederik Prausnitz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert / Claudius Tanski
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9121866 Release Date: 12/02/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Claudius Tanski
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  • 40.
    Pierre Boulez - The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301333 Release Date: 11/24/2014   Number of Discs: 67
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Alexander Scriabin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alban Berg  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Dönch,  Isabel Strauss,  Walter Berry,  Fritz Uhl  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Anton Webern
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Camerata Singers,  Schola Cantorum New York  ... 
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  • 41.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Daniel Barenboim [5-DVD Set]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2066427 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    DVD: $54.49
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  • 42.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 9 / Furtwangler, Schwarzkopf, Cavelti, Haefliger, Edelmann
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 92641 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Otto Edelmann,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Elsa Cavelti,  Ernst Haefliger
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Lucerne Festival Chorus
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  • 43.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 9 / Furtwangler, Schwarzkopf, Cavelti, Haefliger, Edelmann
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 95641 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ernst Haefliger,  Elsa Cavelti,  Otto Edelmann,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Lucerne Festival Chorus
    CD: $14.99
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  • 44.
    Beethoven: The Late String Quartets Op. 130; Grosse Fuge Op. 133
    Label: Aeon   Catalog: 1438 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
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  • 45.
    Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Romances / Gatto, Levy, Orchestra De Chambre Pelleas
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 354 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Lorenzo Gatto
    Conductor:  Benjamin Levy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pelleas Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 46.
    Europakonzert 2008 From Moscow [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2056974 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Bruch,  Igor Stravinsky,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vadim Repin
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 47.
    Overtures For Organ Four Hands
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94954 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Pietro Pasquini,  Francesco Zuvadelli
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  • 48.
    Seiji Ozawa - The Philips Years: Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002185602 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Mariko Kobayashi,  Everett Firth,  Hiroshi Arimori,  Sawako Yasue  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Saito Kinen Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers  ... 
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  • 49.
    Beethoven: String Quartets Op. 18 / Quatuor Alcan
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 22491 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alcan String Quartet
    CD: $24.99
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  • 50.
    Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas / Ronald Brautigam
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2000 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ronald Brautigam
    SuperAudio CD: $87.49
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