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: Symphony No. 5; Schubert: Symphony No. 8 / Maazel, Vienna Philharmonic
Release Date: 08/28/2015   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 88697712982   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 7 / Blunier, Beethoven Orchester Bonn
Release Date: 04/07/2017   Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)  
Catalog: 9371995-6   Number of Discs: 1
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David Zinman conducts Beethoven
Release Date: 04/28/2015   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 88843077922   Number of Discs: 11
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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 5 / Blunier,  Beethoven Orchester Bonn
Release Date: 03/12/2013   Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)  
Catalog: 9371756   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 / Blunier, Beethoven Orchester Bonn
Release Date: 07/08/2016   Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)  
Catalog: 9371899   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Coriolan Overture

Browse 1-25 of 141 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    DG 111: The Conductors / Various
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797477 Release Date: 08/04/2017   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Alexander Scriabin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Gaston Litaize,  Alain Moglia,  Luben Yordanoff,  Christa Ludwig  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Leonard Bernstein,  Karl Böhm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Konwitschny, Gewandhausorchester
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300926 Release Date: 06/23/2017   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Franz Konwitschny
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
    CD: $29.99
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  • 3.
    Andre Cluytens: The Complete Orchestral & Concerto Recordings
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 562261 Release Date: 06/16/2017   Number of Discs: 65
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Raoul Laparra,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Monique de la Bruchollerie,  Marcelle Meyer,  Zino Francescatti,  Jeanne-Marie Darré  ... 
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire,  Le Grand Orchestre Symphonique Columbia,  Orchestre du Theatre National de l'Opera-Comique  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $103.99
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  • 4.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 & Coriolan Overture / Tennstedt, North German Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 215 Release Date: 06/02/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NDR Symphony Orchestra
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    CD: $17.99
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  • 5.
    Herbert von Karajan & Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797230 Release Date: 04/28/2017   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Arthur Honegger,  Igor Stravinsky,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $32.49
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 & Coriolan Overture - Jost: Fanfare & An die Hoffnung / Sado, Tonkunstler Orchestra
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 740208 Release Date: 04/21/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christian Jost,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Klaus Florian Vogt,  René Pape,  Camilla Nylund,  Elena Zhidkova
    Conductor:  Yutaka Sado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tonkunstler Orchestra,  EUYO Alumni,  Vienna Singverein
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 & Coriolan Overture - Jost: Fanfare & An die Hoffnung / Sado, Tonkunstler Orchestra [Blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 740304 Release Date: 04/21/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christian Jost,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Klaus Florian Vogt,  Elena Zhidkova,  Camilla Nylund,  René Pape
    Conductor:  Yutaka Sado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tonkunstler Orchestra,  EUYO Alumni,  Vienna Singverein
    Blu-ray Video: $34.99
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  • 8.
    Carl Schuricht: The Complete Decca Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4831643 Release Date: 03/31/2017   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Max Bruch,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Christian Ferras,  Georg Kulenkampff,  Enrico Mainardi,  Wilhelm Backhaus
    Conductor:  Carl Schuricht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $66.99
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  • 9.
    Karl Bohm: Great Recordings 1953-1972
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797021 Release Date: 02/24/2017   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Max Reger,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Wolfgang Meyer,  Marianna Radev,  Josef Greindl,  Maria Stader  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin St. Hedwig Cathedral Choir,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 10.
    Beethoven: The Symphonies & Overtures / Butt, London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 13 Release Date: 01/06/2017   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilke te Brummelstroete,  Neal Davies,  Steve Davislim,  Rebecca Evans
    Conductor:  Yondani Butt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
    CD: $29.99
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  • 11.
    Charles Munch: The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 516979 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 86
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Vincent D'Indy  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Artur Rubinstein,  Margaret Roggero,  Leslie Chabey  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Harvard Glee Club  ... 
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $34.99
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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    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,  Paris Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 20.
    Beethoven - Simply The Best
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 14026 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    CD: $88.99
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    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
    CD: $12.99
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $54.98
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  • 25.
    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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