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
Bruno Walter Conducts Beethoven
Release Date: 11/13/2015   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 88875123912   Number of Discs: 7
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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: Symphonies 5 & 7 / Honeck, Pittsburgh
Release Date: 11/13/2015   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 718   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven & Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos
Release Date: 02/26/2016   Label: Accentus  
Catalog: 20345   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4, Symphonies Nos. 3 & 7 / Backhaus, Knappertsbusch
Release Date: 06/10/2016   Label: Orfeo  
Catalog: 901162   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 26-50 of 5150 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    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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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    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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  • 31.
    Beethoven: String Trios, Piano Trios, Quintet, Sextets & Octet / L'Archibudelli
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 796262 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  William Purvis,  Ayako Oshima,  Charles Neidich,  Stewart Rose  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Neidich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozzafiato,  L'Archibudelli
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  • 32.
    Beethoven: Works for Piano / Henriot
    Label: Dux Records   Catalog: 1231 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jean-Claude Henriot
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  • 33.
    Berliner Philharmoniker: Great Symphonies
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002500502 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Anton Bruckner,  Antonín Dvorák,  César Franck  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay,  Eugen Jochum,  Claudio Abbado,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Brahms, Schubert & Beethoven / Kletzki, Swiss Festival Orchestra
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 5070003 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Paul Kletzki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swiss Festival Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Classical 2016
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555937 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giovanni Pacini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Antonio Pappano,  Anja [Soprano Vocal] Harteros,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Nello Santi,  Gianandrea Noseda,  Carlo Rizzi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pygmalion,  Arcangelo,  L'arpeggiata  ... 
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  • 36.
    Pictures / Yuko Batik
    Label: Gramola   Catalog: 99083 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Yuko Batik
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  • 37.
    Beethoven: Serenata & Gran Trio / Ardinghello Ensemble
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9031953 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Annette Rehberger,  Sebastian Wohlfarth,  Gesine Queyras,  Karl Kaiser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ardinghello Ensemble
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  • 38.
    Early Recordings / Argerich
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002496102 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
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  • 39.
    Martha Argerich: The Complete Sony Classical Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 532035 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  César Franck,  Robert Schumann,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Martha Argerich,  Ivry Gitlis
    Conductor:  Martha Argerich,  Claudio Abbado
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  • 40.
    Piano Centric / Tremills, Trio D'Argento, Soloists of Canadian Brass
    Label: Opening Day   Catalog: 7439 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Jacques Ibert,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Performer:  Peter Stoll,  Achilles Liarmakopoulos,  Kathryn Tremills,  Sibylle Marquardt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio d'Argento
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  • 41.
    Ode to Joy: Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 / Laycock, Vienna Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Pbs Home Video   Catalog: 601 Release Date: 05/31/2016  
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  William Burden,  Leah Wool,  Mark S. Doss,  Ah Young Hong
    Conductor:  Mark Laycock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra,  Westminster Symphonic Choir
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  • 42.
    Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky & Bruch: Violin Concertos / Milstein
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 153 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Nathan Milstein
    Conductor:  William Steinberg,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Leon Barzin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 43.
    Beethoven: Diabelli Variations / Gulda [Vinyl]
    Label: Mps   Catalog: 0300722MSW Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Friedrich Gulda
    LP: $19.99
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  • 44.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 29 & 30 / Guy
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1951639 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  François-Frédéric Guy
    CD: $9.99
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  • 45.
    Beethoven: Violin Sonatas / Irnberger, Korstick
    Label: Gramola   Catalog: 99106 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Thomas Albertus Irnberger,  Michael Korstick
    SuperAudio CD: $58.99
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  • 46.
    Discover Beethoven
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300691 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mari Kodama,  Dieter Zechlin,  Günter Kootz,  Karl Suske  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt,  Kent Nagano,  Franz Konwitschny,  Heinz Bongartz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra  ... 
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  • 47.
    Discover Film Classics
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300716 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Paul Dukas,  Yann Tiersen  ... 
    Performer:  Jeroen van Veen,  Douw Fonda,  Theo Adam,  Helena Doese  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Heinz Rogner,  Erhard Mauersberger,  Rudolf Mauersberger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  German Brass,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 48.
    Discover Opera
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300715 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Ritzmann,  Theo Adam,  Sylvia Geszty,  Ingeborg Springer  ... 
    Conductor:  Manfred Honeck,  Heinz Rögner,  Otmar Suitner,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 49.
    Discover Piano Classics
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300719 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Erik Satie,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Friedrich Gulda,  Andrej Hoteev,  Jeroen van Veen,  Matthias Kirschnereit  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 50.
    Discover Symphonic Music
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300718 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana,  Maurice Ravel,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Conductor:  Václav Neumann,  Günther Herbig,  Rolf Kleinert,  Otmar Suitner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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