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 Sonatas - Moonlight, Pathetique... / Gieseking
Release Date: 10/17/1995   Label: Emi Seraphim  
Catalog: 69019   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Rage Over a Lost Penny - Solo Piano Pieces / Brautigam
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1892   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 3; Mozart: Piano Concerto No 24 / Sudbin, Vanska
Release Date: 02/25/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1978   Number of Discs: 1
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The Russian Archives - Richter Plays Beethoven
Release Date: 10/30/2012   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94399   Number of Discs: 3
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Beethoven: Nine Symphonies / Vanska, Juntunen, Minnesota Orchestra
Release Date: 10/27/2009   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1825/6   Number of Discs: 5
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Work: Piano Concerto no 4

Browse 1-25 of 301 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos 3 & 4 / Pires, Harding, Swedish Radio Orchestra
    Label: Onyx (Classical Label)   Catalog: 415 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maria-Joao Pires
    Conductor:  Daniel Harding
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Beethoven: Complete Fortepiano Concertos / Schoonderwoerd, Ensemble Cristofori
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 820 Release Date: 07/29/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Arthur Schoonderwoerd
    Conductor:  Arthur Schoonderwoerd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Cristofori
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  • 3.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos / Ingrid Jacoby
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5126 Release Date: 06/24/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ingrid Jacoby
    Conductor:  Jacek Kaspszyk
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
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  • 4.
    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
    CD: $64.49
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  • 5.
    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  ... 
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  • 6.
    Leonard Bernstein Collection Vol 1 [59 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 2027800 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Leonard Bernstein,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Kurt Moll,  Hanna Schwarz  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: The Piano Concertos, Diabelli Variations, Bagatelles, 8 Sonatas / Kovacevich
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002028102 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Karajan And His Soloists, Vol. 1 (1948-1958)
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633625 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Dinu Lipatti,  Walter Gieseking,  Dennis Brain,  Bernard Walton  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Lucerne Festival Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Beethoven - Recordings During Wartime / Wilhelm Furtwangler
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5061 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Erich Röhn,  Conrad Hansen
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos / Perahia, Marriner, ASMF [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 3085294 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Murray Perahia
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 11.
    Glenn Gould Plays Beethoven
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7685272 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann,  Leonard Bernstein,  Leopold Stokowski
    CD: $22.99
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  • 12.
    The Beethoven Journey: Piano Concertos No 2 & 4 / Andsnes
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 370548 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4; Cadenzas / Jerome Lowenthal
    Label: Lp Classics   Catalog: 5638238802 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jerome Lowenthal
    Conductor:  Carl Topilow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Haydn: Symphony No. 55; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4; Mozart: Symphony No. 39
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1492 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Nikita Magaloff
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
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  • 15.
    Beethoven: The Piano Concertos / Rudolf Buchbinder, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 374521 Release Date: 01/07/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    Conductor:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 3, 4 & 5 / Pizarro, Mackerras, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 336 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Artur Pizarro
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    Great Pianists - Legendary Recordings from Arrau, Cherkassky, Cziffra, Gilels, Katchen
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5114 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Claudio Arrau,  Julius Katchen,  György Cziffra  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Christoph von Dohnányi,  Otto Klemperer,  Rudolf Kempe  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 19.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos / Glemser, Weil
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 6011226 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Bernd Glemser
    Conductor:  Bruno Weil
    CD: $39.99
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  • 20.
    Berlin Philharmonic - Centenary Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001923302 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Walter Berry,  Gundula Janowitz,  Hilde Rössl-Majdan  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Nikisch,  Alfred Hertz,  Richard Strauss,  Bruno Walter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Swedish Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 21.
    James Levine at Carnegie Hall / Kissin, Met Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001909402 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Evgeni Kissin
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Piano Concertos & Sonatas / Backhaus, Bolet, Koroliov, Buchbinder
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 13033 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Yevgeny Koroliov,  Rudolf Buchbinder,  Jorge Bolet
    Conductor:  Günter Wand
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $34.99
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  • 23.
    Salzburg Festival Opening Concerts / Boulez, Barenboim, Harnoncourt
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 713608 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Béla Bartók,  Maurice Ravel,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Klaus Florian Vogt,  Elina Garanca,  René Pape  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: Willems Collection (Box)
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4810464 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Gerard Willems
    Conductor:  Antony Walker
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Australia
    On sale! $143.98
    CD: $135.99
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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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