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
Grigori Sokolov: Schubert & Beethoven
Release Date: 01/29/2016   Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002436702   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Symphonies No 4 & 6 / Ivan Fischer, Budapest Festival Orchestra
Release Date: 11/09/2010   Label: Channel Classics  
Catalog: 30710   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Fidelio / Ludwig, Vickers, Frick, Berry, Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra
Release Date: 01/29/2016   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 554002   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Complete Sonatas & Variations / Wispelwey, Lazic
Release Date: 09/13/2005   Label: Channel Classics  
Catalog: 22605   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Violin Concerto & Symphony No. 6
Release Date: 01/22/2016   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 26129  
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Work: Sonata for Piano no 32 in C minor, Op. 111

Browse 1-25 of 218 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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  ... 
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  • 2.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 5, 8 (Pathetique),  32 / Kvapil
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 154 Release Date: 01/22/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Radoslav Kvapil
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  • 3.
    Sviatoslav Richter: 100th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002270 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Franz Liszt,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Nina Dorliac,  Oleg Kagan,  David Oistrakh  ... 
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Yuri Nikolaevsky,  Yevgeny Svetlanov,  Rudolf Barshai
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre String Quartet,  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  Moscow Conservatory Chamber Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $636.99
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  • 4.
    Piano Legends: Michelangeli, Argerich, Brendel
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: OA 1153BD Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel,  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli,  Martha Argerich,  Paul Gulda  ... 
    Conductor:  Christian Arming
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 5.
    The Complete Columbia And Electrola Solo And Concerto Recordings, 1929-1951
    Label: Apr (Appian)   Catalog: 7701 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Egon Petri,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Egon Petri
    Conductor:  Leslie Heward,  Walter Goehr,  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No. 8 'Pathetique', No. 21 'Waldstein' And No. 32 / Giltburg
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573400 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Boris Giltburg
    CD: $12.99
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    Beethoven, Schubert: The Last Sonatas / Benjamin Moser
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 8553319 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Benjamin Moser
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  • 11.
    Ivo Pogorelich - Complete Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002265002 Release Date: 03/31/2015   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Ivo Pogorelich
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $57.49
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    Brahms, Debussy, Beethoven / Alexander Schimpf
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 1820 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Claude Debussy,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Alexander Schimpf
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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
    On sale! $67.98
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  • 16.
    Sonatenabend / Mikhail Shilyaev
    Label: Stone Records   Catalog: 8048 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Alban Berg
    Performer:  Mikhail Shilyaev
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  • 17.
    Bach & Beethoven: Mostly Transcriptions 2 / Tien Hsieh
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1531 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ferruccio Busoni,  Franz Liszt,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Tien Hsieh
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  • 18.
    Sviatoslav Richter - Complete Decca, Philips & DG Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002236002 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Mikhail Kopelman,  Valentin Berlinsky,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Wislocki,  Kurt Sanderling,  Witold Rowicki,  János Ferencsik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moragues Woodwind Quintet members,  Borodin String Quartet,  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $167.98
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  • 19.
    Charles Rosen - The Complete Columbia and Epic Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301476 Release Date: 12/02/2014   Number of Discs: 21
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Charles Rosen,  Paul Jacobs,  Robert Casadesus,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Conductor:  Frederik Prausnitz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert / Claudius Tanski
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9121866 Release Date: 12/02/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Claudius Tanski
    On sale! $21.98
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  • 21.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Daniel Barenboim [5-DVD Set]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2066427 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    DVD: $54.49
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  • 22.
    Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas / Ronald Brautigam
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2000 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ronald Brautigam
    SuperAudio CD: $87.49
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  • 23.
    The Great Live Concerts
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 121270 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    CD: $29.99
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas
    Label: Claves   Catalog: 1304 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Melodie Zhao
    On sale! $53.98
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  • 25.
    Beethoven:  Complete Piano Sonatas Vol 8  / Timothy Ehlen
    Label: Azica   Catalog: 71295 Release Date: 09/30/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Timothy Ehlen
    CD: $17.99
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