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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The Late Beethoven Sonatas / Kempff
Release Date: 08/26/2016   Label: Apr Recordings  
Catalog: APR6018   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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Beethoven: Piano Trios, Vol. 3 / TrioVanBeethoven
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Gramola  
Catalog: GRAM99117   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Coriolan Overture

Browse 1-25 of 138 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.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4, Symphonies Nos. 3 & 7 / Backhaus, Knappertsbusch
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 901162 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Carlo Maria Guilini 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.
    Discover Beethoven
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300691 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mari Kodama,  Dieter Zechlin,  Günter Kootz,  Karl Suske  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt,  Kent Nagano,  Franz Konwitschny,  Heinz Bongartz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 3
    Label: Alia Vox   Catalog: 9916 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Jordi Savall
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert des Nations
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  • 7.
    Michael Gielen Edition, Vol. 1 (1967-2010)
    Label: Swr Music   Catalog: 19007 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Gielen,  Julia Hamari,  Barry McDaniel,  Edda Moser  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Gielen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Chorus,  SWR Baden-Baden and Freiburg Symphony Orchestra,  Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    Bruno Walter Conducts Beethoven
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875123912 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Nell Rankin,  Alberto DaCosta,  William Wildermann,  Emilia Cundari  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Westminster Symphonic Choir
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  • 12.
    Beethoven: Coriolan Overture; Symphony No. 5
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 87 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
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  • 13.
    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
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  • 14.
    Beethoven / Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002347002 Release Date: 07/31/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Violeta Urmana,  Thomas Moser,  Thomas Quasthoff,  Karita Mattila  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Chorus,  Eric Ericson Chamber Choir  ... 
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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    Overtures For Organ Four Hands
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94954 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Pietro Pasquini,  Francesco Zuvadelli
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  • 19.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from DG
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002171502 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Pierre Fournier,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  David Oistrakh,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Franz Konwitschny,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 8; Overtures
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 6260 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Yondani Butt
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  • 23.
    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
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  • 24.
    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  ... 
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  • 25.
    Beethoven: Symphonies No 1-4, Coriolan Overture / Ansermet
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002005002 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
    CD: $22.49
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