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: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 / Subdin, Vanska, Tapiola Sinfonietta
Release Date: 04/07/2017   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2078   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Kissin
Release Date: 09/08/2017   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002712902   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Missa solemnis / Janowski, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 06/02/2017   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186565   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos 1 & 4 / Kubelik
Release Date: 09/15/2017   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186248   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven, Period. / Haimovitz, O'Riley
Release Date: 02/10/2015   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 186475   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Piano Concerto no 4

Browse 1-25 of 254 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Sir Georg Solti: The Complete Chicago Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4831375 Release Date: 09/15/2017   Number of Discs: 108
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $373.99
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  • 2.
    Rudolf Serkin: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985404062 Release Date: 08/25/2017   Number of Discs: 75
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin,  Adolf Busch,  Hermann Busch,  Pablo Casals  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Bruno Walter,  Eugene Ormandy,  Pablo Casals  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Busch String Quartet  ... 
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  • 3.
    Daniel Barenboim: A Retrospective / Various
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985393632 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 46
    Composer:  Alban Berg,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Carl Stamitz  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Saschko Gawriloff,  Halina Lukomska,  Pinchas Zukerman  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Daniel Barenboim,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 4.
    Ashkenazy: Complete Concerto Recordings / Various
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4831752 Release Date: 08/04/2017   Number of Discs: 48
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Keith Puddy,  Fou Ts'ong,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari,  Lorin Maazel,  Kiril Kondrashin,  David Zinman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 5.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 & Leonore Overture No. 3 / Solti, Ashkenazy, Chicago Symphony [Vinyl]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4832254 Release Date: 08/04/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    LP: $32.99
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos / Minnaar, Vriend, Netherlands Symphony
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72763 Release Date: 07/07/2017   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Hannes Minnaar
    Conductor:  Jan Willem de Vriend
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Symphony Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $34.99
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  • 7.
    Andre Cluytens: The Complete Orchestral & Concerto Recordings
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 562261 Release Date: 06/16/2017   Number of Discs: 65
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Raoul Laparra,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Monique de la Bruchollerie,  Marcelle Meyer,  Zino Francescatti,  Jeanne-Marie Darré  ... 
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire,  Le Grand Orchestre Symphonique Columbia,  Orchestre du Theatre National de l'Opera-Comique  ... 
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  • 8.
    Karl Bohm: The Early Years
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 561986 Release Date: 06/02/2017   Number of Discs: 19
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Jan Dahmen,  Max Zimolong,  Elisabeth Höngen,  Josef Herrmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Dresden,  Dresden State Opera Chorus,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 9.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 - Brahms: Symphony No. 2 / Jarvi, Randalu, Estonian National Symphony
    Label: Estonian Rec Productions   Catalog: 9516 Release Date: 05/19/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Kalle Randalu
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 10.
    Arthur Rubinstein Plays Great Piano Concertos
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88883737172 Release Date: 05/12/2017   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Eugene Ormandy,  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 11.
    The Murray Perahia Awards Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985413952 Release Date: 05/12/2017   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Murray Perahia
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  • 12.
    Artur Schnabel: The RCA Victor Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985389712 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Artur Schnabel
    Conductor:  Frederick Stock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $23.99
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  • 13.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5 / Szell, Gilels, Cleveland Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 559442 Release Date: 02/10/2017   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
    CD: $16.99
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  • 14.
    Beethoven Barenboim
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 558505 Release Date: 12/02/2016   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Itzhak Perlman  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin State Opera Chorus  ... 
    CD: $77.49
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  • 15.
    Beethoven: The Solo Concertos / Vladar, Van Kuelen, Speckel, Wiener Kammerorchester
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 7210 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Stefan Vladar,  Julian Steckel,  Isabelle van Keulen
    Conductor:  Stefan Vladar
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  • 16.
    Klemperer: Long Journey Through His Times & The Last Concert
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109289 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Daniel Adni
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $94.99
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  • 17.
    Maurizio Pollini: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002578510 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Arnold Schoenberg  ... 
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini,  Andreas Esders,  Gabriele Lechner,  Gretchen Eder  ... 
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann,  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung  ... 
    CD: $254.49
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  • 18.
    Vivarte Collection, Vol. 2
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 2367 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Markus Schäfer,  Jonas Will,  Johannes Pohl,  Harry Van der Kamp  ... 
    Conductor:  Konrad Ruhland,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Frieder Bernius,  Bruno Weil  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Niederaltaich Scholars,  Tölz Boys Choir,  Baroque Orchestra  ... 
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  • 19.
    Emil Gilels: 100th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002433 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Alexander Alyabyev,  Arno Babadjanyan,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    CD: $499.99
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  • 20.
    Julius Katchen: The Complete Decca Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002543002 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Julius Katchen,  Thea King
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  • 21.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos / Kempff
    Label: Apr   Catalog: 6019 Release Date: 08/10/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
    Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen,  Peter Raabe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra,  Deutsche Opera Orchestra Berlin  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 22.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos; Violin Concerto; Cello Sonatas
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88725463902 Release Date: 07/08/2016   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jos van Immerseel,  Vera Beths,  Anner Bylsma
    Conductor:  Bruno Weil
    CD: $21.99
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  • 23.
    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
    CD: $19.99
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  • 24.
    A Tribute to Hans Knappertsbusch
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109212 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Claire Watson,  Fritz Uhl,  Josef Greindl  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 25.
    A Tribute to Hans Knappertsbusch [Blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109213 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Claire Watson,  Fritz Uhl,  Josef Greindl  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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