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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: Complete String Quartets / Tokyo SQ
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 807641   Number of Discs: 8
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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No 1-3, 5-10, 12-18, 23, 30-33 / Glenn Gould
Release Date: 10/30/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 541286   Number of Discs: 6
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Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Bruggen
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002161102   Number of Discs: 7
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Beethoven: Complete Works for Cello & Piano / Queyras, Melnikov
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902183   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Trio; Brahms: Trio; Weber: Grand Duo
Release Date: 11/11/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 807618   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Egmont Overture

Browse 26-50 of 201 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Arturo Toscanini - The Complete RCA Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 791631 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 85
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Nan Merriman,  Jan Peerce,  Norman Scott  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Robert Shaw Chorale,  NBC Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 27.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 3
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001686902 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Gustavo Dudamel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Best Of Beethoven
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300339 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Theo Adam,  Marga Schiml,  Peter Schreier,  Helena Doese  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Konwitschny,  Herbert Blomstedt,  Heinrich Schiff,  Günther Herbig  ... 
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  • 29.
    Essential Overtures
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27866 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  George Frideric Handel,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Gianluigi Gelmetti,  Sir David Willcocks,  Riccardo Muti  ... 
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  • 30.
    Best Overtures 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27333 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Gianluigi Gelmetti,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 31.
    Beethoven: Symphonies No 7 & 8 / Chailly, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchester
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001653802 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 32.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5; Beethoven / Leinsdorf
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5059 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Beethoven: Symphonies 4 & 7, Egmont Overture / Nieuwe Philharmonie Utrecht
    Label: Globe   Catalog: 5246 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Johannes Leertouwer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nieuwe Philharmonie Utrecht
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  • 34.
    The Nbc Recordings - Beethoven, Schubert, Etc / E. Kleiber
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5005 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Maurice Ravel,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Claudio Arrau
    Conductor:  Erich Kleiber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Beethoven / Karajan [13-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001622702 Release Date: 12/06/2011   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Christoph Eschenbach,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Yo-Yo Ma  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
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  • 36.
    Edition Otto Klemperer - RIAS Recordings From Berlin
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21408 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gustav Mahler,  Paul Hindemith
    Performer:  Hans Erich Riebensahm,  Elfriede Trötschel
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $58.99
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  • 37.
    Composers Gold
    Label: United Multimedia   Catalog: 53071 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt  ... 
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  • 38.
    50 Greatest Pieces Of Classical Music / London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 105 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Pieter Schoeman,  Finghin Collins,  Craig Ogden
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Thielemann, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 705308 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Georg Zeppenfeld,  Mihoko Fujimura,  Annette Dasch,  Piotr Beczala
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
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  • 40.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Thielemann, Vienna Philharmonic [blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 707204 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Georg Zeppenfeld,  Mihoko Fujimura,  Annette Dasch,  Piotr Beczala
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
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  • 41.
    The 50 Darkest Pieces Of Classical Music
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 108 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Edvard Grieg,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Ponti,  Finghin Collins,  Roland Pöntinen,  Emmy Berhey  ... 
    Conductor:  Volke Schmidt-Gertenbach,  Heribert Beissel,  David Parry,  James DePreist  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moyzes String Quartet,  Camerata Antonio Lucio,  Capella Istropolitana  ... 
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  • 42.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Davis, Staatskapelle  Dresden
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802077 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 43.
    The Britannic Organ, Vol. 1
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 840 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Hector Berlioz,  Richard Wagner,  Felix Alexandre Guilmant  ... 
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  • 44.
    The Best Of Beethoven: Ode To Joy
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82152 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Moura Lympany,  Walter Gieseking,  Claudio Arrau,  Josef Suk  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Herbert von Karajan,  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London
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  • 45.
    Marek Janowski, Conductor & Teacher - A Film By Michel Follin
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 9909037 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Hector Berlioz,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Marek Janowski
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  • 46.
    Klaus Tennstedt - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 94433 Release Date: 06/07/2011   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Jessye Norman,  Jorma Hynninen
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Chorus,  London Philharmonic Choir  ... 
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  • 47.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies, Selected Overtures / Klemperer
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1252 Release Date: 05/10/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Brahms: Violin Concerto; Dvorak: Symphony No 9 / Shaham, Abbado [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2051954 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Antonín Dvorák,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Gil Shaham
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Best Beethoven 50
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48445 Release Date: 04/19/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  James Morris,  Josef Suk,  Claudio Arrau,  Emil Gilels  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Kurt Sanderling,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Eugen Jochum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London,  Nash Ensemble
    CD: $11.99
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  • 50.
    Beethoven Highlights
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300204 Release Date: 04/12/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Peter Schreier,  Theo Adam,  Helena Doese,  Igor Oistrakh  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Konwitschny,  Herbert Blomstedt,  Heinrich Schiff,  Günther Herbig  ... 
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