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: The Late Piano Sonatas / Igor Levit
Release Date: 11/05/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 370387   Number of Discs: 2
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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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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 4, Triple Concerto
Release Date: 08/09/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28700   Number of Discs: 1
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Helene Grimaud Piano Recital - Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Rachimaninov
Release Date: 10/29/2013   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4891   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Pathetique, Tempest & Moonlight Sonatas / Cristina Ortiz
Release Date: 03/08/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28170   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Sonata for Piano no 31 in A flat major, Op. 110

Browse 1-25 of 195 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Opp. 90, 101, 109 & 110
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 8553299 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Dina Ugorskaja
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  • 2.
    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
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  • 3.
    Legato - The World of Piano / Hamelin, Aimard...
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2059848 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Nikolai Medtner,  Dafydd Llywelyn,  Leopold Godowsky  ... 
    Performer:  Boris Berezovsky,  Roland Pöntinen,  Marc-André Hamelin,  Pierre-Laurent Aimard
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  • 4.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Abdel Rahman El Bacha
    Label: Mirare   Catalog: 187 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Abdel Rahman El Bacha
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  • 5.
    Sviatoslav Richter - Solo Recordings [33-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4808745 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 33
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
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  • 6.
    Beethoven, Schubert & Chopin / Menahem Pressler
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1999 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Menahem Pressler
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas / Francois-Frederic Guy
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 333 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  François-Frédéric Guy
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  • 8.
    Beethoven: The Late Piano Sonatas / Igor Levit
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 370387 Release Date: 11/05/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Igor Levit
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  • 9.
    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  ... 
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  • 10.
    Helene Grimaud Piano Recital - Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Rachimaninov
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4891 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Hélène Grimaud
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  • 11.
    Gary Graffman - The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 546239 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Gary Graffman,  Berl Senofsky,  Shirley Trepel,  Dick Hyman  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Enrique Jorda,  Charles Munch,  Walter Hendl  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No. 14 'Moonlight', No. 23 'Appassionata', No. 31 Op. 110 / Frank Braley
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1951750 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Frank Braley
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  • 13.
    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
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  • 14.
    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  ... 
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  • 15.
    A Single Breath - Beethoven's Last Three Piano Sonatas / Beth Levin
    Label: Navona   Catalog: 5908 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Beth Levin
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  • 16.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas 29-32 / Daniel Barenboim
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2066518 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vol 3 / Francois-frederic Guy
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 318 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  François-Frédéric Guy
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  • 19.
    C. P. E. Bach, Beethoven / Cameron Watson
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1409 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Cameron Watson
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  • 20.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Maria Grinberg
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002025 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maria Grinberg
    On sale! $77.98
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  • 21.
    Beethoven: The Final Trilogy
    Label: Deux-elles   Catalog: 1163 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Martin Roscoe
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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas  / Michael Korstick
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 125 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Michael Korstick
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  • 24.
    Rudolf Serkin Plays Beethoven
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 1988302 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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  • 25.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Daniel Barenboim [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2066424 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    On sale! $79.99
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