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: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 / Subdin, Vanska, Tapiola Sinfonietta
Release Date: 04/07/2017   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2078   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Kissin
Release Date: 09/08/2017   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002712902   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Missa solemnis / Janowski, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 06/02/2017   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186565   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos 1 & 4 / Kubelik
Release Date: 09/15/2017   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186248   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven, Period. / Haimovitz, O'Riley
Release Date: 02/10/2015   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 186475   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 26-50 of 5289 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Wilhelm Furtwängler & The Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Biddulph   Catalog: 006 Release Date: 09/01/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner,  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Edwin Fischer
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 27.
    Beethoven: Diabelli Variations / Gorini
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 296 Release Date: 08/25/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Filippo Gorini
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  • 28.
    Daniel Barenboim: The Solo Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797371 Release Date: 08/25/2017   Number of Discs: 39
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alban Berg,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Antony Pay
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
    CD: $138.99
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  • 29.
    Horn Fusion / China Horn Ensemble
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 1870 Release Date: 08/25/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Anton Bruckner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  China Horn Ensemble
    CD: $19.99
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  • 30.
    Leonard Bernstein, Vol. 1
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 743008 Release Date: 08/25/2017   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Claude Debussy,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Hans Sotin,  Judith Blegen,  Claes-Hakan Ahnsjo  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Keith Lockhart,  John T. Williams,  Stefan Asbury  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 31.
    Rudolf Serkin: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985404062 Release Date: 08/25/2017   Number of Discs: 75
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin,  Adolf Busch,  Hermann Busch,  Pablo Casals  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Bruno Walter,  Eugene Ormandy,  Pablo Casals  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Busch String Quartet  ... 
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  • 32.
    A Bouquet of Beethoven / Rangell
    Label: Steinway & Sons   Catalog: 30080 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Andrew Rangell
    CD: $24.99
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  • 33.
    Beethoven, Brahms, Suk & More: Works for Cello and Piano / Ginzel, Weisbrod
    Label: Tyxart   Catalog: 17088 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Popper,  Josef Suk,  Bohuslav Martinu,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Reiner Ginzel,  Annette Weisbrod
    CD: $18.99
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  • 34.
    Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies / Barenboim, Staatskapelle Berlin
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 563142 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Berlin
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  • 35.
    Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas & Bagatelles / Kovacevich
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 563129 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich
    CD: $22.99
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  • 36.
    Daniel Barenboim: A Retrospective / Various
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985393632 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 46
    Composer:  Alban Berg,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Carl Stamitz  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Saschko Gawriloff,  Halina Lukomska,  Pinchas Zukerman  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Daniel Barenboim,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 37.
    De Meglio 1826 / Piricone
    Label: Ayros   Catalog: 3 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Muzio Clementi,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Giacomo Gotifredo Ferrari
    Performer:  Antonio Piricone
    CD: $17.99
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  • 38.
    Glenn Gould in Russia
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: WS121.326 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Alban Berg,  Anton Webern,  Ernst Krenek  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
    Conductor:  Ladislav Slovák
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 39.
    Joshua Bell: The Classical Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 539520 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Alexander Courage,  George Gershwin,  Nicholas Maw,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Joshua Bell,  John T. Williams,  Craig Ogden,  Gregory Knowles  ... 
    Conductor:  John T. Williams,  Roger Norrington,  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  David Zinman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 40.
    Minor Major / Oslo String Quaret
    Label: Two-l   Catalog: 2L-135-SABD Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo String Quartet
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  • 41.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 9 / Costa
    Label: Claudio   Catalog: 5579 Release Date: 08/11/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Sequeira Costa
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  • 42.
    Ashkenazy: Complete Concerto Recordings / Various
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4831752 Release Date: 08/04/2017   Number of Discs: 48
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Keith Puddy,  Fou Ts'ong,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari,  Lorin Maazel,  Kiril Kondrashin,  David Zinman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 43.
    Beethoven, Brahms & Rossini: Horn Works / Blonk, Polman, Fukuda
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3558 Release Date: 08/04/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Stefan Blonk,  Riko Fukuda,  Franc Polman
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  • 44.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 & Leonore Overture No. 3 / Solti, Ashkenazy, Chicago Symphony [Vinyl]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4832254 Release Date: 08/04/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    LP: $32.99
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  • 45.
    DG 111: The Conductors / Various
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797477 Release Date: 08/04/2017   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Alexander Scriabin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Gaston Litaize,  Alain Moglia,  Luben Yordanoff,  Christa Ludwig  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Leonard Bernstein,  Karl Böhm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $138.99
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  • 46.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Paschenko
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 365 Release Date: 07/28/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Olga Pashchenko
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  • 47.
    Beethoven: String Trio, Op. 3 & Serenade, Op. 8 / Ssens Trio
    Label: Lawo Classics   Catalog: 1122 Release Date: 07/28/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ssens Trio
    CD: $17.99
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  • 48.
    Grand Opening Concert / Hengelbrock, NDR Elbphilharmonie
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 741408 Release Date: 07/28/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Henri Dutilleux,  Emilio de Cavalieri,  Bernd Alois Zimmermann  ... 
    Performer:  Kalev Kuljus,  Philippe Jaroussky,  Margret Koll,  Iveta Apkalna  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Hengelbrock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra,  Ensemble Praetorius,  NDR Choir  ... 
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  • 49.
    Grand Opening Concert / Hengelbrock, NDR Elbphilharmonie [Blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 741504 Release Date: 07/28/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Henri Dutilleux,  Emilio de Cavalieri,  Bernd Alois Zimmermann  ... 
    Performer:  Kalev Kuljus,  Philippe Jaroussky,  Margret Koll,  Iveta Apkalna  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Hengelbrock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra,  Ensemble Praetorius,  NDR Choir  ... 
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  • 50.
    Beethoven: Diabelli Variations - Ryu: Suite for Pianoforte / Hur
    Label: Dux Records   Catalog: 1312 Release Date: 07/21/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Jeajoon Ryu
    Performer:  Won-Sook Hur
    CD: $19.99
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