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: Fidelio / Abbado, Kaufmann, Stemme, Lucerne Festival Orchestra
Release Date: 08/02/2011   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001570502   Number of Discs: 2
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Complete Beethoven Symphonies, Vol. 2 / Shui, Copenhagen Philharmonic
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Orchid Classics  
Catalog: 100059   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Egmont Overture

Browse 1-25 of 165 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Beethoven: Overtures / Neumann, Czech Philharmonic
    Label: Exton   Catalog: 68 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Václav Neumann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Purple Classics Presents: Favorite Overtures
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578330 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Michael Halász,  Pinchas Steinberg,  Pier Giorgio Morandi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Zagreb Festival Orchestra,  Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 3.
    Carlo Maria Giulini conducts Beethoven
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875168002 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Filarmonica della Scala
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  • 4.
    Bamberg Symphony: The First 70 Years
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002474902 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana,  Antonín Dvorák,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff,  Carl Seemann,  Pilar Lorengar,  Gottlob Frick  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Keilberth,  Fritz Lehmann,  Ferdinand Leitner,  Richard Krauss  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Europakonzert: 25 DVD Anniversary Box (1991-2015) / Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 26098 Release Date: 04/29/2016  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Leonidas Kavakos,  Mikhail Pletnev,  Violeta Urmana,  Elke Wilm Schulte  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Pierre Boulez,  Gustavo Dudamel,  Claudio Abbado  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Choir,  Eric Ericson Chamber Choir
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: Triple Concerto; Overtures / Carmignola, Gabetta, Lazic
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 376362 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Sol Gabetta,  Dejan Lazic,  Giuliano Carmignola
    Conductor:  Giovanni Antonini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Basel Chamber Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Beethoven - Simply The Best
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 14026 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
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  • 8.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9079 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilma Lipp,  Ursula Boese,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Franz Crass
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 9.
    Mariss Jansons Live: The Radio Recordings, 1990-2014 [13-CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 15002 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen,  Hector Berlioz,  Anton Bruckner,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky,  Frank Peter Zimmermann,  Ferruccio Furlanetto,  Leo van Doeselaar  ... 
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    CD: $158.99
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  • 10.
    Karl Bohm - Late Recordings - Vienna, London, Dresden
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002327602 Release Date: 06/23/2015   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Anton Bruckner,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Jessye Norman,  Placido Domingo,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $75.49
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  • 11.
    Beethoven: Egmont Overture; Symphony No. 6
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 85 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 12.
    David Zinman Conducts Beethoven
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88843077922 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Detlef Roth,  Birgit Remmert,  Ruth Ziesak,  Steve Davislim  ... 
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra,  Swiss Chamber Chorus
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  • 13.
    Karajan - 1980s
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002187902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 78
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Anton Bruckner,  Johannes Brahms,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  José Van Dam,  Barbara Hendricks,  Gösta Winbergh  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Domenico Bartolucci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein  ... 
    CD: $245.99
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  • 14.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 15.
    Phase 4 Stereo - Stereo Concert Series
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002188302 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Charles A. Zimmerman,  Francis S. Van Boskerck,  George Norton  ... 
    Performer:  Stanley Black,  David Parkhouse,  Alan Loveday,  Robert Merrill  ... 
    Conductor:  Rodney Bashford,  Stanley Black,  Bernard Herrmann,  Edward Downes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grenadier Guards Band,  London Festival Orchestra,  London Festival Recording Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 16.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Bruggen
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002161102 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Eike Wilm Schulte,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Jard Van Nes,  Lynne Dawson  ... 
    Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century,  Gulbenkian Foundation Chorus Lisbon
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  • 17.
    Wilhelm Furtwangler Conducts The Complete Beethoven Symphonies
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9093 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
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  • 18.
    Ferenc Fricsay: Complete DG Recordings, Vol 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002132602 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 45
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Tibor Varga,  Helmut Krebs,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 19.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002050302 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Albrecht Sack,  Menahem Pressler,  Susanne Scheinpflug,  Reinhard Decker  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
    CD: $6.99
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  • 20.
    Leonard Bernstein Collection Vol 1 [59 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 2027800 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Leonard Bernstein,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Kurt Moll,  Hanna Schwarz  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 21.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9; Overtures / Karajan, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633735 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Otto Edelmann,  Ernst Haefliger,  Marga Höffgen,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Friends of Music Society Chorus
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  • 22.
    Beethoven: Symphonies No 1-9, Overtures... / Bernstein
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7683912 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Isaac Stern
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 23.
    Bernard Haitink: The Symphony Edition [36-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002010702 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 36
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Lucia Popp,  Carolyn Watkinson,  Peter Schreier,  Robert Holl  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Netherlands Radio Chorus,  St. Willibrod Boy's Choir  ... 
    CD: $117.99
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  • 24.
    Carlo Maria Giulini: The London Years
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 93739 Release Date: 12/03/2013   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Benjamin Britten,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Sheila Armstrong,  Anna Reynolds,  Robert Tear,  John Shirley-Quirk
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 25.
    Legendary Conductors of the BSO
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5115 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Erich Leinsdorf,  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    DVD: $64.49
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