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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: Coriolan Overture

Browse 26-50 of 160 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Leopold Stokowski - The Stereo Collection 1954-1975
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 1916852 Release Date: 08/21/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Gustav Mahler,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Anna Moffo,  Martina Arroyo  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Norman Luboff Choir  ... 
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  • 27.
    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: $8.99
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  • 28.
    From Bach To Wagner / Boult, London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 35657 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir
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  • 29.
    Karajan In Moscow, Vol. 1: Beethoven / Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001512 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 30.
    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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  • 31.
    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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  • 32.
    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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  • 33.
    Beethoven: Sinfonien Nos. 5 & 6; Corolian Overture
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 091 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
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  • 34.
    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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  • 35.
    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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  • 36.
    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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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001109 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Ludwig van Beethoven
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  • 39.
    Beethoven: Concerto For Violin And Orchestra; Symphony No. 1; Coriolan
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 3154 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Isaac Stern
    Conductor:  Josef Krips
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  • 40.
    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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  • 41.
    Beethoven Edition: Complete Works
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94052 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 85
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Marga Schiml,  Peter Schreier,  Helena Doese,  Theo Adam  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt,  Horst Stein,  Gerhard Oskamp,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 42.
    Beethoven: Symphonies 4 & 7 / Jurowski, Age Of Enlightenment Orchestra
    Label: Juxtapositions   Catalog: 3079298 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Vladimir Jurowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
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  • 43.
    Beethoven: Symphonies 4 & 7 / Jurowski, Age Of Enlightenment Orchestra [blu-ray]
    Label: Juxtapositions   Catalog: 3079294 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Vladimir Jurowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
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  • 44.
    Wilhelm Furtwangler - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 07878 Release Date: 05/17/2011   Number of Discs: 21
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Béla Bartók,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Elisabeth Höngen,  Hans Hopf,  Otto Edelmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $85.98
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  • 45.
    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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  • 46.
    Beethoven: Symphonies / Kletzki, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4051 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rolf Kühne,  Martin Ritzmann,  Ingeborg Wenglor,  Annelies Burmeister
    Conductor:  Paul Kletzki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
    CD: $35.49
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  • 47.
    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  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 48.
    Beethoven: 11 Overtures / Masur, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186148 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Beethoven: Symphonies 1, 2 & 3 / Thielemann, VPO
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 704708 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 50.
    Beethoven: Symphonies No 1, 2 & 3 / Thielemann, Vienna Philharmonic [blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 704804 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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