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
Berg: Violin Concerto - Beethoven: Romance in F Major / Zukerman, Mehta, London Philharmonic
Release Date: 06/24/2016   Label: Biddulph  
Catalog: 80251   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach & Beethoven / Vengerov, Golan
Release Date: 01/29/2013   Label: Wigmore Hall Live  
Catalog: 56   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Barenboim
Release Date: 08/28/2012   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 04421   Number of Discs: 10
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Beethoven: Symphony No 7, Etc / Haitink, London So, Et Al
Release Date: 07/11/2006   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 578   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Complete String Quartets / Alban Berg Quartet
Release Date: 08/28/2012   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 4413   Number of Discs: 7
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Browse 26-50 of 5324 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies (1963 Recording) / Karjan, Berlin Philharmonic [Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002506446 Release Date: 07/01/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Gundula Janowitz,  Hilde Rössl-Majdan,  Waldemar Kmentt,  Walter Berry
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
    Blu-ray Audio: $32.49
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  • 27.
    Beethoven: The Last Three Sonatas / Rose
    Label: Medici Classics   Catalog: 20012 Release Date: 07/01/2016  
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jerome Rose
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  • 28.
    Andras Schiff at Mozartwoche
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 736508 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  András Schiff
    Conductor:  András Schiff
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Andrea Barca
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  • 29.
    Andras Schiff at Mozartwoche [Blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 736604 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  András Schiff
    Conductor:  András Schiff
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Andrea Barca
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  • 30.
    Beethoven, Grieg, Liszt & Preiss: Piano Works / Preiss
    Label: Tyxart   Catalog: 16071 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Edvard Grieg,  Franz Liszt,  Christoph Preiss
    Performer:  Christoph Preiss
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  • 31.
    Beethoven: Piano Works / Gould
    Label: Idis   Catalog: 6714 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
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  • 32.
    Beethoven: Sonatas for Fortepiano & Violin, Vol. 2 / Watson, Ogata
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16143 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ian Watson,  Susanna Ogata
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  • 33.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 554167 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ernst Haefliger,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Marga Höffgen,  Otto Edelmann
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Berg: Violin Concerto - Beethoven: Romance in F Major / Zukerman, Mehta, London Philharmonic
    Label: Biddulph   Catalog: 80251 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alban Berg,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Flauto d'amore / Petrucci, Pisa
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95289 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Paul Aegidius Martini,  Maria Theresia Paradis,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Saverio Mercadante  ... 
    Performer:  Ginevra Petrucci,  Paola Pisa
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  • 36.
    Purple Classics Presents: Elegant Dinner Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578328-29 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Wolfgang Rübsam,  István Tóth,  Jenö Jandó,  Dong-Suk Kang  ... 
    Conductor:  Petter Sundkvist,  Béla Drahos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra,  Kodály String Quartet,  Auer String Quartet  ... 
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  • 37.
    Purple Classics Presents: Favorite Overtures
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578330-31 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Michael Halász,  Pinchas Steinberg,  Pier Giorgio Morandi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Zagreb Festival Orchestra,  Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 38.
    Purple Classics Presents: The Classical Music Collection
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578336-37 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Edvard Grieg,  Franz Liszt,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Hĺvard Gimse,  Jenö Jandó,  Lucy Van Dael
    Conductor:  Richard Edlinger,  Bjarte Engeset,  Alexander Rahbari,  Barry Wordsworth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 39.
    Purple Classics Presents: The String Quartet Collection
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578326-27 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johannes Brahms
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kodály String Quartet,  Éder String Quartet,  Ludwig String Quartet
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  • 40.
    Purple Classics Presents: Timeless Piano Favorites
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578324-25 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Maurice Ravel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Balázs Szokolay,  Jenö Jandó,  François-Joël Thiollier,  Idil Biret
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  • 41.
    Romantic Piano Concertos
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95300 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Johann Baptist Cramer,  Carl Czerny,  Ferdinand Ries,  Muzio Clementi  ... 
    Performer:  Akiko Sagara,  Michael Ponti,  Maria Littauer,  Felicja Blumental  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Cao,  Paul Angerer,  Alois Springer,  Alberto Zedda  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Luxembourg Radio/Television Symphony Orchestra,  Southwest German Chamber Orchestra,  Hamburg Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 42.
    20 Most Beautiful Classical Pieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556102 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Christian Zacharias,  David Fray,  Fabio Biondi,  Natalie Dessay  ... 
    Conductor:  David Zinman,  André Cluytens,  Riccardo Muti,  Mariss Jansons  ... 
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  • 43.
    40 Most Beautiful Classical Pieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556099 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Samson François,  Maria Tipo,  Martha Argerich,  Dmitri Alexeev  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  William Christie,  John E. Gardiner,  David Zinman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants,  Emmanuelle Haďm (Conductor/Harpsichord),  Le Concert D'Astrée  ... 
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  • 44.
    Beethoven: Overtures / Neumann, Czech Philharmonic
    Label: Exton   Catalog: 68 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Václav Neumann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 45.
    Beethoven: Violin Concerto & Romances / Kino, Hungarian Symphonic Orchestra
    Label: Exton   Catalog: 65 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Masayuki Kino
    Conductor:  Peter Illenyi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hungarian Symphony Orchestra
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  • 46.
    Complete Chamber Music Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon / Pires
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002500602 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Edvard Grieg,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Augustin Dumay,  Maria-Joao Pires,  Jian Wang,  Renaud Capuçon  ... 
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  • 47.
    Miyuji 2012: Bartok Piano Sonata
    Label: Exton   Catalog: 71 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Béla Bartók,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Miyuji Kaneko
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  • 48.
    The Sound of Simon Rattle
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556096 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Gustav Holst,  Claude Debussy,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Kate Royal,  Magdalena Kozená
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus
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  • 49.
    Beethoven, Herzogenberg & Dohnanyi: String Trios / Aleksic String Trio
    Label: Gramola   Catalog: 99093 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Heinrich Herzogenberg,  Ernö von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aleksic String Trio
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  • 50.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4, Symphonies Nos. 3 & 7 / Backhaus, Knappertsbusch
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 901162 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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