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
Pinchas Zukerman Plays Beethoven - The Violin Sonatas
Release Date: 08/26/2014   Label: Rca  
Catalog: 440142   Number of Discs: 4
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Rudolf Serkin Plays Beethoven
Release Date: 11/06/2012   Label: Sony (Nax615)  
Catalog: 988302   Number of Discs: 11
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Beethoven: Symphonies No 1-9, Overtures... / Bernstein
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 7683912   Number of Discs: 6
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Beethoven: Piano Concertos 1 & 5 / Roll, Shelley, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 04/12/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28850   Number of Discs: 1
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Leon Fleisher Plays Beethoven & Brahms
Release Date: 08/07/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 1918052   Number of Discs: 5
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Work: Piano Concerto no 4

Browse 26-50 of 302 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    75 Years Ysaye & Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition [cd & Book]
    Label: Muso   Catalog: 5 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Pierre-Alain Volondat,  Wolfgang Manz,  Andrei Nikolsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz André,  Georgea Octors,  Edo De Waart,  Rene Defossez  ... 
    CD: $55.49
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  • 27.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 4249 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Clara Haskil
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
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  • 28.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22363 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Edvard Grieg,  César Franck,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 29.
    Leon Fleisher - The Complete Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 545997 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  César Franck,  Frederick Delius  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Jules Eskin,  Benita Valente,  Harold Wright  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Seiji Ozawa,  Leon Fleisher,  Szymon Goldberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Juilliard String Quartet,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 30.
    Carl Schuricht & Clara Haskil Perform Beethoven: The 1940s Decca 'K' Recordings
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 9819 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Clara Haskil
    Conductor:  Eduard Van Beinum,  Reginald Goodall,  Carl Schuricht,  Carlo Zecchi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.,  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 31.
    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
    CD: $58.99
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  • 32.
    Wilhelm Kempff - The Concerto Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001822502 Release Date: 04/16/2013   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
    Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner,  Paul Van Kempen,  Bernhard Klee,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $74.98
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  • 33.
    Ashkenazy - 50 Years on Decca
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001820202 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Boris Belkin,  Daniel Barenboim,  Fou Ts'ong  ... 
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Lorin Maazel,  Uri Segal  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Wind Soloists  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 34.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Concerto
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2012076 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
    Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen
    CD: $22.49
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  • 35.
    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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  • 36.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 33272 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir
    CD: $24.99
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  • 37.
    EMI Eminence - The Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 393872 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  David Nolan,  Jonathan Small,  George Malcolm,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Anton Rickenbacher,  Vernon Handley,  George Guest,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir  ... 
    On sale! $201.98
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  • 38.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto Nos 4 & 5
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1367 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Leopold Ludwig
    CD: $9.99
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  • 39.
    Concerto Collection / Maurizio Pollini [8-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001792602 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm,  Claudio Abbado,  Maurizio Pollini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 40.
    Beethoven For All / Daniel Barenboim [Deluxe Edition - 19 CDs and 1 DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001699900 Release Date: 12/04/2012   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
    CD: $167.99
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  • 41.
    Philips Original Jackets Collection  [55-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001767702 Release Date: 12/04/2012   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Max Bruch,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Elisabeth Unger,  Claudio Arrau,  Thomas Zehetmair  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Bernard Haitink,  Frans Brüggen,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beaux Arts Trio  ... 
    On sale! $169.98
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  • 42.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos 2 & 4 / Jacoby, Kaspszyk, Sinfonia Varsovia
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5086 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ingrid Jacoby
    Conductor:  Jacek Kaspszyk
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
    CD: $17.99
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  • 43.
    Murray Perahia - The First 40 Years
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 191256 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 73
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Murray Perahia,  Michael Cox,  Leonore Smith,  Kenneth Sillito  ... 
    Conductor:  Murray Perahia,  Bernard Haitink,  Zubin Mehta,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Amadeus String Quartet members  ... 
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  • 44.
    Rudolf Serkin Plays Beethoven
    Label: Sony (Nax615)   Catalog: 988302 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin,  Leslie Parnas,  Jaime Laredo,  David Evitts  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Leonard Bernstein,  Alexander Schneider,  Peter Serkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Westminster Choir  ... 
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  • 45.
    Beethoven: The 5 Piano Concertos  / Glenn Gould
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 541288 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann,  Leonard Bernstein,  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  American Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $16.99
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  • 46.
    Clifford Curzon Edition - Complete Recordings [23 CDs + DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001728400 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Clifford Curzon,  Irmgard Seefried,  Horst Günther,  Julius Patzak  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch,  George Szell,  Benjamin Britten,  Eduard Van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 47.
    Beethoven For All - Piano Concertos / Daniel Barenboim
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001699802 Release Date: 08/07/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
    On sale! $21.98
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  • 48.
    Leon Fleisher Plays Beethoven & Brahms
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 1918052 Release Date: 08/07/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Jules Eskin
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Van Cliburn: Great Piano Concertos
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7742852 Release Date: 08/07/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Van Cliburn
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Eugene Ormandy,  Fritz Reiner,  Walter Hendl  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 50.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos No. 5 'emperor'; Piano Concerto No. 4
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001706202 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    CD: $8.99
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