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: Symphonies 1-9 / Weil, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
Release Date: 09/22/2017   Label: Tafelmusik Media  
Catalog: 1034   Number of Discs: 6
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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: Symphonies Nos 1 & 4 / Kubelik
Release Date: 09/15/2017   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186248   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Complete Piano Works, Vol. 15 - Diabelli Variations / Brautigam
Release Date: 02/03/2017   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1943   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Sonata for Piano no 30 in E major, Op. 109

Browse 1-25 of 192 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas / Goode
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 561659 Release Date: 09/29/2017  
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Richard Goode
    CD: $38.99
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  • 2.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 10 / Costa
    Label: Claudio   Catalog: 5580 Release Date: 09/01/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Sequeira Costa
    CD: $17.99
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  • 3.
    Sviatoslav Richter Plays Beethoven
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 16030 Release Date: 09/01/2017   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling,  Hermann Abendroth,  Kiril Kondrashin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR Radio/TV Large Symphony Orchestra,  USSR State Symphony Orchestra,  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $68.99
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  • 4.
    Daniel Barenboim: The Solo Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797371 Release Date: 08/25/2017   Number of Discs: 39
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alban Berg,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Antony Pay
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
    CD: $138.99
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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas & Bagatelles / Kovacevich
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 563129 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich
    CD: $22.99
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  • 7.
    Crossing Spheres / Sunwoo
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 17475 Release Date: 06/16/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Yekwon Sunwoo
    CD: $18.99
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    Beethoven: The Last 3 Piano Sonatas / Richter
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 226 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    CD: $29.99
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  • 10.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Op. 109 & 110 / Pollini [Vinyl]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002590601 Release Date: 12/16/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
    LP: $28.49
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  • 11.
    Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas / Schiff
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 002587102 Release Date: 12/16/2016   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  András Schiff
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    CD: $114.49
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vol 3 / Bavouzet
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10925 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
    CD: $37.49
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Opp. 7, 13
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1298 Release Date: 11/11/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Paavali Jumppanen
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  • 16.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Buchbinder
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 734708 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    DVD: $58.99
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  • 17.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Buchbinder [Blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 734804 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    Blu-ray Video: $58.99
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  • 18.
    Beethoven: Eroica Variations & Sonatas / Coop
    Label: Skylark Digital   Catalog: 8802 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jane Coop
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    The Originals, Vol. 2
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002534902 Release Date: 09/09/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Helmut Walcha,  Nathan Milstein,  Géza Anda,  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Eugen Jochum,  Wolfgang Schneiderhan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $142.49
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  • 20.
    Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas / Schnabel
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556698 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Artur Schnabel
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  • 21.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No. 3, 23, 30 / Brownridge
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72707 Release Date: 08/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Angela Brownridge
    SuperAudio CD: $18.99
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  • 22.
    The Late Beethoven Sonatas / Kempff
    Label: Apr   Catalog: 6018 Release Date: 08/10/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    Change of Keys / Leone
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1616 Release Date: 08/09/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Leone
    On sale! $16.98
    CD: $11.99
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: The Last Three Sonatas / Rose
    Label: Medici Classics   Catalog: 20012 Release Date: 07/01/2016  
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jerome Rose
    On sale! $13.98
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  • 25.
    Beethoven: Piano Works / Gould
    Label: Idis   Catalog: 6714 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
    CD: $14.99
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