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: The Complete Symphonies; Concertos; Overtures
Release Date: 04/30/2013   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8501204   Number of Discs: 12
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Beethoven: Piano Concertos / Kempff
Release Date: 08/26/2016   Label: Apr Recordings  
Catalog: APR6019   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Complete String Quartets, Vol. 6 / Quartetto di Cremona
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Audite  
Catalog: AUD92685   Number of Discs: 1
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The Late Beethoven Sonatas / Kempff
Release Date: 08/26/2016   Label: Apr Recordings  
Catalog: APR6018   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Piano Trios, Vol. 3 / TrioVanBeethoven
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Gramola  
Catalog: GRAM99117   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Egmont Overture

Browse 26-50 of 165 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9, Overtures / Bohm, Vienna Philharmonic [6-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001923502 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Tatiana Troyanos,  Karl Ridderbusch,  Jess Thomas,  Dame Gwyneth Jones
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Opera Chorus,  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 27.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies & Selected Overtures / Toscanini
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1275 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jarmila Novotná,  Kerstin Thorborg,  Jan Peerce,  Nicola Moscona
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Székely,  Olga Szönyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 29.
    Overtures
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 162 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Luigi Cherubini,  Franz Schubert,  Carl Maria von Weber  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    On sale! $25.98
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  • 30.
    Beethoven: Les 9 Symphonies / Cluytens, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 483032 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Frederick Guthrie,  Kerstin Meyer,  Gré Brouwenstijn,  Nicolai Gedda
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $27.98
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  • 31.
    Beethoven: The Complete Symphonies; Concertos; Overtures
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501204 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ruxandra Donose,  Hasmik Papian,  Manfred Fink,  Claudio Otelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Béla Drahos,  Barry Wordsworth,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Kenneth Jean
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia,  Capella Istropolitana,  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 32.
    Beethoven: Symphonies 1, 2, 3 & 4 / Toscanini, NBC Symphony
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 55835 Release Date: 03/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Beethoven Masterworks Collection  [51-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001813172 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Janet Perry,  Agnes Baltsa,  Vinson Cole,  José Van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Carlos Kleiber,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $118.49
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  • 34.
    Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Symphony No 6 / Perlman, Bailey, Schmidt [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2058594 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Zuill Bailey,  Navah Perlman,  Giora Schmidt
    Conductor:  Itzhak Perlman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 35.
    Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Symphony No 6 / Perlman, Bailey, Schmidt
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2058598 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Navah Perlman,  Zuill Bailey,  Giora Schmidt
    Conductor:  Itzhak Perlman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 36.
    Icon - Eugen Jochum
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64004 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner  ... 
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Claes H. Ahnsjö,  Roland Hermann,  Helen Donath  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 37.
    Beethoven: Overtures / Goodman, Hanover Band
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7089 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Roy Goodman,  Monica Huggett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hanover Band
    CD: $14.99
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  • 38.
    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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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    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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  • 41.
    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
    CD: $21.99
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  • 42.
    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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  • 43.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 44.
    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
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  • 45.
    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  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 46.
    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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  • 47.
    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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  • 48.
    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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  • 49.
    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  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 50.
    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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