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: The Complete Symphonies; Concertos; Overtures
Release Date: 04/30/2013   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8501204   Number of Discs: 12
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Beethoven: Fidelio / Altmeyer, Masur, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Release Date: 04/29/2016   Label: Eurodisc  
Catalog: 88875194822   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Piano Concertos / Kempff
Release Date: 08/26/2016   Label: Apr Recordings  
Catalog: APR6019   Number of Discs: 2
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The Late Beethoven Sonatas / Kempff
Release Date: 08/26/2016   Label: Apr Recordings  
Catalog: APR6018   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Complete String Quartets, Vol. 6 / Quartetto di Cremona
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Audite  
Catalog: AUD92685   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Sonata for Piano no 26 in E flat major, Op. 81a "Les Adieux"

Browse 1-25 of 131 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Late Beethoven Sonatas / Kempff
    Label: Apr Recordings   Catalog: APR6018 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
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  • 2.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 5 / Costa
    Label: Claudio   Catalog: 5575 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Sequeira Costa
    CD: $17.99
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  • 3.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503227 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Roy Harris,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Jussi Björling,  Frederick Schauwecker,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Serge Koussevitzky,  Bruno Walter,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
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  • 4.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Jumppanen
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1290 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Paavali Jumppanen
    CD: $17.99
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  • 5.
    Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas, Vol. 2 / Buchbinder
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 734308 Release Date: 02/26/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas, Vol. 2 / Buchbinder [Blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 734404 Release Date: 02/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    Blu-ray Video: $34.99
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  • 7.
    Alfred Brendel: Complete Philips Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434302 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 114
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel,  Imogen Cooper,  Sylvia McNair,  Eduard Brunner  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Bernard Haitink,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $308.99
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  • 8.
    Emil Gilels - The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002436502 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Edvard Grieg,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Norbert Brainin,  Peter Schidlof,  Martin Lovett  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum,  Karl Böhm,  Dmitri Kabalevsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet members,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 9.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 10.
    The Florilegium Series - Classical & Early Romantic
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 002386502 Release Date: 10/15/2015   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Luigi Boccherini,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Domenico Cimarosa  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Hacker,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Emma Kirkby,  Michael George  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  Simon Preston,  Alan Hacker,  Arnold Östman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  The Music Party,  Oxford New College Choir  ... 
    CD: $148.49
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  • 11.
    Decca Sound  – Mono Years 1944 -1956
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002280602 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Clifford Curzon,  Alfredo Campoli,  Henry Datyner  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Roger Desormičre,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
    CD: $213.99
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  • 12.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Maurizio Pollini
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002235002 Release Date: 02/24/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
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  • 13.
    Beethoven: Sonatas, Opp. 78, 81a, 90, 101
    Label: Musica Omnia   Catalog: 510 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Penelope Crawford
    CD: $14.99
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  • 14.
    Beethoven: The 32 Piano Sonatas / Daniel-ben Pienaar
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2320 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel-Ben Pienaar
    CD: $74.49
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  • 15.
    Walter Gieseking Plays All Piano Sonatas By Beethoven, Vol. 2, No. 16-32 (Less No. 22)
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9124 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking
    CD: $14.99
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  • 16.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Daniel Barenboim [5-DVD Set]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2066427 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    DVD: $54.49
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  • 17.
    Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas / Ronald Brautigam
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2000 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ronald Brautigam
    SuperAudio CD: $87.49
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  • 18.
    Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas / Mari Kodama
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 186490 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mari Kodama
    SuperAudio CD: $88.99
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  • 19.
    A Beethoven Odyssey, Vol. 3 / James Brawn
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1467 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  James Brawn
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  • 20.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection, Vol. 1
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 541497 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Jacques Ibert,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Berj Zamkochian,  John Weicher,  Philip Farkas,  Jascha Heifetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Fritz Reiner,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  New England Conservatory Alumni Chorus  ... 
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  • 21.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Abdel Rahman El Bacha
    Label: Mirare   Catalog: 187 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Abdel Rahman El Bacha
    CD: $69.99
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  • 22.
    Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas / Francois-Frederic Guy
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 333 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  François-Frédéric Guy
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  • 23.
    Beethoven - Complete Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94630 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 86
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Helena Döse,  Marga Schiml,  Peter Schreier,  Theo Adam  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt,  David Zinman,  Gérard Oskamp,  Carl-August Bünte  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden State Opera Chorus,  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $148.99
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 21, 26 & 29
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001909602 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
    CD: $6.99
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  • 25.
    Alfred Brendel - The Legendary Mozart & Beethoven Recordings
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94430 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel,  Walter Klien
    Conductor:  Antonio Janigro,  Paul Angerer,  Willfried Boettcher,  Heinz Wallberg  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Zagreb,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra,  Vienna Pro Musica Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $58.99
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