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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: Complete String Quartets / Tokyo SQ
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 807641   Number of Discs: 8
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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No 1-3, 5-10, 12-18, 23, 30-33 / Glenn Gould
Release Date: 10/30/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 541286   Number of Discs: 6
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Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Bruggen
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002161102   Number of Discs: 7
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The Beethoven Journey - Piano Concertos No 1-5 / 	Leif Ove Andsnes
Release Date: 10/27/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 305887   Number of Discs: 3
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Beethoven: Complete Works for Cello & Piano / Queyras, Melnikov
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902183   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 26-50 of 6008 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    The Complete Warner Classics Recordings
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 4622737 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Hélčne Grimaud
    Conductor:  David Zinman,  Kurt Sanderling,  Kurt Masur,  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin,  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 27.
    Lorin Maazel: The Cleveland Years - Complete Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002217602 Release Date: 11/10/2014   Number of Discs: 19
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Performer:  Kenneth Riegel,  Lynn Harrell,  Pascal Rogé,  Ivan Davis
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Beethoven: Fidelio; Weber: Der Freischuetz; Schumann: Genoveva / Harnoncourt [blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 108129 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  László Polgár,  Peter Seiffert,  Cheyne Davidson,  Matti Salminen  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Opera Chorus,  Zurich Opera Orchestra,  Zurich Opera House Orchestra  ... 
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 29.
    Great Symphonies
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5132 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  David Wilson-Johnson
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Guido Cantelli,  Ataulfo Argenta  ... 
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  • 30.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 31.
    Phase 4 Stereo - Stereo Concert Series
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002188302 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Charles A. Zimmerman,  Francis S. Van Boskerck,  George Norton  ... 
    Performer:  Stanley Black,  David Parkhouse,  Alan Loveday,  Robert Merrill  ... 
    Conductor:  Rodney Bashford,  Stanley Black,  Bernard Herrmann,  Edward Downes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grenadier Guards Band,  London Festival Orchestra,  London Festival Recording Ensemble  ... 
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  • 32.
    The Beethoven Journey - Piano Concertos No 1-5 / 	Leif Ove Andsnes
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 305887 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes
    Conductor:  Leif Ove Andsnes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
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  • 33.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from DG
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002171502 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Pierre Fournier,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  David Oistrakh,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Franz Konwitschny,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
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  • 34.
    Maria Callas Sings Mozart, Beethoven, Weber Arias
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634010 Release Date: 10/21/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Carl Maria von Weber
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
    CD: $12.99
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  • 35.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Bruggen
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002161102 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Eike Wilm Schulte,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Jard Van Nes,  Lynne Dawson  ... 
    Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century,  Gulbenkian Foundation Chorus Lisbon
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  • 36.
    Beethoven: Symphonies 2 & 8 / Gardiner, Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique
    Label: Soli Deo Gloria Records   Catalog: 721 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
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  • 37.
    Love Is Strange [original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
    Label: Madison Gate Records   Catalog: 40640 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alfred Schnittke,  Daniel Indart  ... 
    Performer:  Sylvia Cápová,  Dovie Currin,  Idil Biret,  Ralf Gothóni  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Breiner
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  • 38.
    Beethoven, Schubert
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5385 Release Date: 09/30/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Aaron Pilsan
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  • 39.
    Beethoven:  Complete Piano Sonatas Vol 8  / Timothy Ehlen
    Label: Azica   Catalog: 71295 Release Date: 09/30/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Timothy Ehlen
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  • 40.
    Beethoven: Complete String Quartets / Belcea Quartet
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 72668 Release Date: 09/30/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Krzysztof Chorzelski,  Corina Belcea,  Axel Schacher,  Antoine Lederlin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Belcea String Quartet
    DVD: $78.99
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  • 41.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 5 / Freire, Chailly
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002153402 Release Date: 09/30/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Nelson Freire
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Beethoven: The Last Three Sonatas / Eric Le Sage
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 607 Release Date: 09/30/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Eric Le Sage
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  • 43.
    50 Great Arias / Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002153502 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Jana Sibera,  Michael Volle,  Margarete Joswig  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Claudio Abbado,  Donald Runnicles,  Antonio Pappano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Mahler Chamber Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus  ... 
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  • 44.
    Maria Callas Remastered - Complete Studio Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633991 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 70
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Richard Wagner,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Gianni Poggi,  Fedora Barbieri,  Paolo Silveri  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile,  Antonino Votto,  Gabriele Santini,  Tullio Serafin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Italian Radio Chorus Turin,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
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  • 45.
    Kirill Kondrashin: 3 Classic Albums
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002131202 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin
    Performer:  Kyung-Wha Chung,  Herman Krebbers
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 46.
    The Beethoven Journey - Piano Concerto No. 5
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 305886 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Alessio Bax Plays Beethoven
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 397 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Alessio Bax
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  • 48.
    An Die Geliebte  / Pregardien, Schnackertz
    Label: Myrios Classics   Catalog: 12 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Strauss,  Hugo Wolf
    Performer:  Julian Prégardien,  Christoph Schnackertz
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  • 49.
    Annie Fischer Essential Collection
    Label: Hungaroton   Catalog: 32730 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Annie Fischer
    Conductor:  Ervin Lukács
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Symphony Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Badura-Skoda Plays Beethoven
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 14331 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Paul Badura-Skoda
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