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 / Belcea Quartet
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Zig Zag  
Catalog: 344   Number of Discs: 8
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Beethoven, Mozart: Violin Concertos / Schneiderhan
Release Date: 02/13/1996   Label: Dg The Originals  
Catalog: 447403   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas 8, 14 & 23 / Alfred Brendel
Release Date: 10/25/1990   Label: Philips  
Catalog: 411470   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: The Late Piano Sonatas / Igor Levit
Release Date: 11/05/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 370387   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Complete Works For Solo Piano Vol 13: The Rage Over A Lost Penny / Brautigam
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1892   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 26-50 of 6355 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    The Silver Album / Mutter, Orkis
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002054902 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Fritz Kreisler,  Gabriel Fauré,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Lambert Orkis
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  • 27.
    100 Great Symphonies
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002054602 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Giovanni Battista Sammartini,  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Johann Christian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Hanna Schwarz,  René Kollo,  Kurt Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Kevin Mallon,  Christopher Hogwood,  Thomas Füri,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aradia Ensemble,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Camerata Bern  ... 
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  • 28.
    Beethoven: Symphonies 7 & 8 / Abbado, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002069402 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 29.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 9, Overtures, Grosse Fuge / Ansermet, Suisse Romande
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002069602 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Norma Procter,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Anton Dermota
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Choeur Du Brassus,  Choeur Des Jeunes De L’église National De Vandoise
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  • 30.
    Label: Telarc (Label)   Catalog: 35342 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Erik Satie,  George Frideric Handel,  Domenico Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Jacques Loussier,  André Arpino,  Vincent Charbonnier,  Benoit Dunoyer DeSegonzac
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  • 31.
    Annie Fischer - The Centennial Collection
    Label: Hungaroton   Catalog: 41011 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Annie Fischer
    Conductor:  Heribert Esser,  Ervin Lukács
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Symphony Orchestra
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  • 32.
    Beethoven: Leonore / Blomstedt, Moser, Cassilly
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94868 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Helen Donath,  Edda Moser,  Siegfried Lorenz,  Gunter Emmerlich  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Chorus,  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 33.
    Beethoven: String Trio; Serenade / Trio Zimmermann
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2087 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Zimmermann
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  • 34.
    Brahms, Schoenberg, Beethoven / Fujimura, Abbado, Lucerne Festival Orchestra
    Label: Accentus   Catalog: 20282 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mihoko Fujimura
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lucerne Festival Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Brahms, Schoenberg, Beethoven / Fujimura, Abbado, Lucerne Festival Orchestra [blu-ray]
    Label: Accentus   Catalog: 10282 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mihoko Fujimura
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lucerne Festival Orchestra
    On sale! $39.99
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  • 36.
    Karajan And His Soloists, Vol. 2 (1969-1984)
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633624 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Jules Massenet,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris
    On sale! $64.99
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  • 37.
    Howard Karp: Concert Recordings (1962-2007)
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1492 Release Date: 05/20/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Liszt,  Leon Kirchner,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Howard Karp
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  • 38.
    Giulini In Vienna [15-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002037702 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli,  Andreas Schmidt,  Barbara Bonney,  Lazar Berman  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 39.
    Piano / Myung-whun Chung
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 002054102 Release Date: 05/19/2014  
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Myung-Whun Chung
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  • 40.
    Strauss Conducts Strauss, Mozart, Beethoven [7-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002037802 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Reitz,  Enrico Mainardi,  Philipp Haass,  Oswald Uhl  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Strauss
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian State Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Beethoven: Piano Trios, Vol. 3 / Gould Piano Trio
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 135 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Alice Neary,  Benjamin Frith,  Robert Plane
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gould Piano Trio
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  • 42.
    In The Night / Stephen Hough
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67996 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Stephen Hough
    Performer:  Stephen Hough
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  • 43.
    Karajan 1947-1958: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms - Choral Music
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633629 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Nicolai Gedda,  Marga Höffgen,  Heinz Rehfuss  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $29.99
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  • 44.
    Oscar Shumsky
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 8031 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Oscar Shumsky
    On sale! $59.98
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  • 45.
    Perspectives 6: Beethoven, Berio, Schumann
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2293 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Luciano Berio,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Andreas Haefliger
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  • 46.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 2
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 300350 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Byron Janis,  Gary Graffman,  Vladimir Horowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Krips,  Fritz Reiner,  Pierre Monteux,  Charles Munch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony of the Air,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $125.98
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  • 47.
    Alfred Brendel: 3 Classic Albums
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002044602 Release Date: 05/06/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel,  James Van Demark
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Cleveland String Quartet members
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  • 48.
    Beaux Arts Trio: 3 Classic Albums
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002044502 Release Date: 05/06/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ernest Chausson,  Maurice Ravel,  Antonín Dvorák,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Menahem Pressler,  Isidore Cohen,  Bernard Greenhouse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 49.
    Claudio Arrau: 3 Classic Albums
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002044402 Release Date: 05/06/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Claudio Arrau
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Animals In Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 578281 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  George Frideric Handel,  Edvard Grieg,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  John Artore,  Balazs Szkolay,  Giorgio Koukl,  Takako Nishizaki  ... 
    Conductor:  Kees Bakels,  Peter Breiner,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  David Lloyd-Jones  ... 
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