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: 6 Sonatas, Fur Elise & Emperor Concerto / Schnabel
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Musical Concepts  
Catalog: 3201   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Fidelio (Highlights) / Harnoncourt
Release Date: 09/17/2002   Label: Apex  
Catalog: 41374   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Fidelio / Karajan, Ludwig, Janowitz, Vickers, Berry
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Myto Records  
Catalog: 334   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Mödlinger Tänze / Gaigg, L'orfeo Barockorchester
Release Date: 07/25/2006   Label: Cpo  
Catalog: 777117   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Fidelio / Harnoncourt, Seiffert, Bonney, Margiono, COE
Release Date: 05/04/2009   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 4691254   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Sonata for Piano no 30 in E major, Op. 109

Browse 1-25 of 188 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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
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    CD: $15.99
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  • 2.
    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  ... 
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  • 3.
    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
    CD: $26.99
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  • 4.
    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
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  • 5.
    The Late Beethoven Sonatas / Kempff
    Label: Apr Recordings   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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  • 6.
    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
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: The Last Three Sonatas / Rose
    Label: Medici Classics   Catalog: 20012 Release Date: 07/01/2016  
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jerome Rose
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 29 & 30 / Guy
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1951639 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  François-Frédéric Guy
    CD: $9.99
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  • 10.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 3 / Buchbinder
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 73508 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 11.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 3 / Buchbinder [Blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 734604 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    On sale! $39.99
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  • 12.
    Alfred Brendel: Complete Philips Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434302 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 114
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel,  Imogen Cooper,  Sylvia McNair,  Eduard Brunner  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Bernard Haitink,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $308.99
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  • 13.
    Emil Gilels - The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002436502 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Edvard Grieg,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Norbert Brainin,  Peter Schidlof,  Martin Lovett  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum,  Karl Böhm,  Dmitri Kabalevsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet members,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 14.
    The Florilegium Series - Classical & Early Romantic
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 002386502 Release Date: 10/15/2015   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Luigi Boccherini,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Domenico Cimarosa  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Hacker,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Emma Kirkby,  Michael George  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  Simon Preston,  Alan Hacker,  Arnold Östman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  The Music Party,  Oxford New College Choir  ... 
    CD: $148.49
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  • 15.
    Mozart, Beethoven: Piano Sonatas
    Label: Bergen Digital   Catalog: 7051 Release Date: 10/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Reidun Askeland
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  • 16.
    Glenn Gould Remastered: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503222 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 81
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Elizabeth Benson-Guy,  Donald Gramm,  Charles Bressler  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Walter Susskind,  Vladimir Golschmann,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  CBC Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Symphonia String Quartet  ... 
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  • 17.
    Stephen Kovacevich: The Complete Philips Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002369302 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Béla Bartók,  Igor Stravinsky,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich,  Jack Brymer,  Patrick Ireland,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Sir Alexander Gibson,  John Lanchbery
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Octet members  ... 
    CD: $98.99
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  • 18.
    Theme & Variations: Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart / Rosenberger
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3452 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    Label: Jennifer Nicole Campbell   Catalog: 5638502464 Release Date: 06/25/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Avner Dorman  ... 
    Performer:  Jennifer Nicole Campbell
    CD: $31.99
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  • 20.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 28, 30, 31
    Label: Tuxedo Music   Catalog: 1086 Release Date: 06/02/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel
    CD: $13.99
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  • 21.
    111 - The Piano - Legendary Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002281002 Release Date: 04/21/2015   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Géza Anda,  Martha Argerich,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 22.
    Beethoven: Sonatas, Opp. 109, 110 And 111 / Evgeni Koroliov
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 208 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Yevgeny Koroliov
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  • 23.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Maurizio Pollini
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002235002 Release Date: 02/24/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: The 32 Piano Sonatas / Daniel-ben Pienaar
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2320 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel-Ben Pienaar
    CD: $74.49
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  • 25.
    Walter Gieseking Plays All Piano Sonatas By Beethoven, Vol. 2, No. 16-32 (Less No. 22)
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9124 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking
    CD: $14.99
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