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: Egmont Overture

Browse 151-159 of 159 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 3, Overtures / Alexander Titov
    Label: Sony Classical Infinity Digital   Catalog: 57219 Release Date: 02/08/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Alexander Titov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmony Orchestra,  St. Petersburg Conservatory Orchestra
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  • 152.
    Karajan Gold - Beethoven: 9 Symphonien, Ouvertüren
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439200 Release Date: 10/12/1993   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  Vinson Cole,  Janet Perry,  José Van Dam
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
    CD: $108.99
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  • 153.
    Karajan Gold - Beethoven: Symphonie No 3, Etc / Berlin Po
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439002 Release Date: 10/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 154.
    Label: Imp Classics   Catalog: 21 Release Date: 09/01/1992   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Richard Wagner  ... 
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  • 155.
    Beethoven: Overtures / Gunzenhauser, Slovak Philharmonic
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550072 Release Date: 06/30/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Stephen Gunzenhauser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 156.
    Beethoven In Berlin - 1991 New Year's Eve Concert
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4356172 Release Date: 02/10/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Evgeni Kissin,  Cheryl Studer,  Bruno Ganz
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Chorus
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  • 157.
    Beethoven: Triple Concerto / Karajan, Mutter, Zeltser, Ma
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415276 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mark Zeltser,  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 158.
    Classics - Beethoven: Symphony No 5, Etc / Ozawa, Boston So
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80060 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 159.
    The Best Of Beethoven
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80240 Release Date: 06/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  John O'Conor,  Robert Lloyd,  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Janice Taylor  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw,  Seiji Ozawa,  Christoph von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Chorus,  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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