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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 Works for Cello & Piano / Queyras, Melnikov
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902183   Number of Discs: 2
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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: Piano Trios Op 70 No 2,
Release Date: 02/11/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902125   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Romance for Violin and Orchestra no 2 in F major, Op. 50

Browse 1-25 of 152 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Kyung Wha Chung - Complete Decca Recordings [19 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002217700 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jean Sibelius,  Fritz Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Kyung-Wha Chung,  Phillip Moll,  Radu Lupu,  Myung-Wha Chung  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  André Previn,  Rudolf Kempe,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $94.49
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  • 2.
    Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Romances / Gatto, Levy, Orchestra De Chambre Pelleas
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 354 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Lorenzo Gatto
    Conductor:  Benjamin Levy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pelleas Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 3.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $159.98
    CD: $111.99
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  • 4.
    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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    CD: $32.99
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  • 5.
    My Favorite Beethoven
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5393 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Patricia Kopatchinskaya,  François-Frédéric Guy,  Helene Devilleneuve,  Antoine Dreyfuss  ... 
    Conductor:  Emmanuel Krivine,  Philippe Jordan
    CD: $19.99
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  • 6.
    Complete Vengerov: Recordings 1991-2007 [19 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 631514 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Itamar Golan,  Maxim Vengerov,  Alexander Markovich,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Kurt Masur,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Claudio Abbado  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $88.99
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  • 7.
    The Art Of Zino Francescatti
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9112 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Paul Ben-Haim  ... 
    Performer:  Zino Francescatti,  Eugenio Bagnoli,  Pierre Fournier
    Conductor:  André Cluytens,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Dimitri Mitropoulos,  Fernando Previtali
    CD: $19.99
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  • 8.
    Vadim Repin - Early Recordings
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 2121 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Eugčne Ysa˙e
    Performer:  Vadim Repin
    Conductor:  Arnold Katz
    CD: $18.99
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  • 9.
    Itzhak Perlman - 5 Classic Albums
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 939025 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Manuel de Falla,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Samuel Sanders
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  Lawrence Foster,  André Previn,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 10.
    Isaac Stern Plays Beethoven
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 826772 Release Date: 01/01/2014   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Eugene Istomin,  Leonard Rose
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  Eugene Ormandy,  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 11.
    Beethoven: Violin Concerto, Romances / Mutter [Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001935646 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 12.
    The Complete Recordings of Johanna Martzy on EMI & Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 81400 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Johanna Martzy,  Jean Antonietti
    Conductor:  Paul Kletzki,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Ferenc Fricsay,  Eugen Jochum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chamber Orchestra
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Brahms: Serenade No. 1; Beethoven: Romances
    Label: Onyx (Classical Label)   Catalog: 4101 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Augustin Dumay
    Conductor:  Augustin Dumay
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  • 15.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos; Romances / Rachel Barton Pine
    Label: Cedille Records   Catalog: 144 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rachel Barton Pine
    Conductor:  Christoph-mathias Mueller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gottinger Symphonie Orchester
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  • 16.
    Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Romances
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2395 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Adolf Busch
    Conductor:  Launy Grondahl,  Alfred Wallenstein
    On sale! $15.98
    CD: $12.99
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  • 17.
    Maxim Vengerov: 5 Classic Albums
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 844352 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Edouard Lalo,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Maxim Vengerov,  Yevgeni Voskoboinikov,  Alexander Gourvich,  Yevgeni Cheskis  ... 
    Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Antonio Pappano,  Mikhail Parkhomovsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Virtuosi
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    The Complete Beethoven: Symphonies; Concertos; Overtures [12-CD Set]
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501204 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Stefan Vladar,  Claire Rutter,  Matilde Wallevik,  Marta Fontanals-Simmons  ... 
    Conductor:  Béla Drahos,  Barry Wordsworth,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Kenneth Jean
    On sale! $59.99
    CD: $49.99
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  • 19.
    Lazy Day Classics
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1271 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Edvard Grieg,  Franz Schubert,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Christine Pendrill,  James Campbell,  Stephanie Chase
    Conductor:  Geoffrey Simon,  Roy Goodman
    CD: $17.99
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  • 20.
    Beethoven Masterworks Collection  [51-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001813172 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Janet Perry,  Agnes Baltsa,  Vinson Cole,  José Van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Carlos Kleiber,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $163.49
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  • 21.
    Beethoven, Godard, Chausson, Saint-Saens, Ravel / Oistrakh
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002032 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Godard,  Ernest Chausson,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
    CD: $18.99
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  • 22.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto; Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3; Beethoven: Two Romances
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1483 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Johanna Martzy
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Paul Kletzki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    On sale! $23.98
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  • 23.
    Label: Reflections   Catalog: 60301 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Michael Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    CD: $13.99
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  • 24.
    Jascha Heifetz Plays Beethoven: Concerto, Sonatas, Trios
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 1915552 Release Date: 08/07/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz,  Gregor Piatigorsky,  Jacob Lateiner,  Leonard Pennario  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Ferdinand Leitner Anniversary Edition
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 12019 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Monique Haas,  Deon Van der Walt,  Barbara Kilduff,  Edith Wiens  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg State Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $68.99
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