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
George Szell conducts Beethoven
Release Date: 05/12/2017   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 88883737152   Number of Discs: 5
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Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 4 / Vogt, Royal Northern Sinfonia
Release Date: 03/02/2018   Label: Ondine  
Catalog: 1311   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas
Release Date: 02/09/2018   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002790702   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Missa solemnis / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan
Release Date: 03/02/2018   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2321   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Quartets WoO 36 / New Zealand Piano Quartet
Release Date: 05/26/2009   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570998   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Sonata for Piano no 32 in C minor, Op. 111

Browse 1-25 of 235 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Beethoven Unbound - Live from Wigmore Hall / Williams
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 527 Release Date: 04/06/2018   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Llŷr Williams
    CD: $64.49
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  • 2.
    An Eternal Love - Beethoven Sonatas Rondos & Bagatelles / Kuijken
    Label: Fuga Libera   Catalog: 745 Release Date: 02/23/2018   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Piet Kuijken
    CD: $27.49
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  • 3.
    Piano Recital 1953 / Haskil
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 19052 Release Date: 02/09/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Clara Haskil
    CD: $12.99
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  • 4.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Rasch
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21451 Release Date: 02/02/2018   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Martin Rasch
    CD: $34.99
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  • 5.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Barenboim
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 939171 Release Date: 01/05/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    CD: $19.99
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  • 6.
    Decca Sound: The Piano Edition
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4832243 Release Date: 11/17/2017   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Liszt,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Julius Katchen,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  André Previn  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Bernard Haitink,  André Previn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $210.99
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Bavouzet
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: CHAN 10960(9) Release Date: 11/03/2017   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
    CD: $75.99
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  • 8.
    Beethoven (Live) / Kissin [Vinyl]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002733801 Release Date: 10/06/2017   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Evgeny Kissin
    LP: $44.49
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  • 9.
    Beethoven - Complete Edition 2017
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95510 Release Date: 10/01/2017   Number of Discs: 85
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Helena Döse,  Marga Schiml,  Peter Schreier,  Theo Adam  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt,  Willfried Boettcher,  Heinz Wallberg,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden State Opera Chorus,  Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $148.99
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  • 10.
    Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas / Goode
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 561659 Release Date: 09/29/2017   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Richard Goode
    CD: $38.99
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  • 11.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Kissin
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002712902 Release Date: 09/08/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Evgeny Kissin
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Op. 78, 101 & 111 & Rondo, Op. 129 / Marsoner
    Label: Gramola   Catalog: 99111 Release Date: 06/16/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ingrid Marsoner
    CD: $18.99
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  • 17.
    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
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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    Lisa Smirnova: Live at the Concertgebouw
    Label: Paladino Music   Catalog: 0077 Release Date: 01/13/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Lisa Smirnova
    CD: $18.99
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  • 20.
    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: $94.49
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    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
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    CD: $37.49
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  • 23.
    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: $218.99
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  • 24.
    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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    CD: $15.99
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  • 25.
    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: $74.49
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