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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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Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Bruggen
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002161102   Number of Discs: 7
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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: Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123

Browse 76-84 of 84 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Beethoven: Missa Solemnis / Kubelik, Donath, Fassbaender
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 370942 Release Date: 03/24/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Peter Schreier,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Elmar Schloter  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 77.
    Beethoven: Missa Solemnis; Mozart: Coronation Mass / Karajan
    Label: Dg Masters   Catalog: 445543 Release Date: 01/02/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Leon Spierer,  José Van Dam,  Vinson Cole,  Trudeliese Schmidt  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 78.
    Beethoven: Missa Solemnis / Dorati, Kiberg, European SO
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 406 Release Date: 09/23/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rosemarie Lang,  William Cochran,  Mikhail Krutikov,  Thomas Brandis  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  European Symphony Orchestra,  University of Maryland Chorus
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  • 79.
    Beethoven: Missa Solemnis / Ormandy, Arroyo, Forrester
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 53517 Release Date: 05/03/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Cesare Siepi,  Martina Arroyo,  Richard Lewis,  Maureen Forrester
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Singing City Choirs,  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 80.
    Beethoven: Missa Solemnis, Mass In C / Davis, London So
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 438362 Release Date: 10/12/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Christiane Eda-Pierre,  Robert Tear,  Patricia Payne,  Kurt Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 81.
    Beethoven: Missa Solemnis / Terje Kvam, Hanover Band
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5109 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Marianne Hirsti,  Carolyn Watkinson,  Andrew Murgatroyd,  Michael George  ... 
    Conductor:  Terje Kvam
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hanover Band,  Oslo Cathedral Choir
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  • 82.
    Beethoven: Missa Solemnis / John Eliot Gardiner
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 429779 Release Date: 02/08/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  William Kendall,  Catherine Robbin,  Charlotte Margiono,  Alastair Miles
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
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  • 83.
    Beethoven: Missa Solemnis; Mozart: Coronation Mass / Karajan
    Label: Dg Galleria   Catalog: 423913 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  Anna Tomowa-Sintow,  Werner Krenn,  José Van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
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  • 84.
    Classics - Mozart: Mass;  Beethoven: Missa Solemnis / Shaw
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80150 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Janice Taylor,  Tom Krause,  John Aler,  Sylvia McNair  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,  Atlanta Symphony Chorus
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