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
Bruno Walter Conducts Beethoven
Release Date: 11/13/2015   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 88875123912   Number of Discs: 7
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Beethoven: Symphonies 5 & 7 / Honeck, Pittsburgh
Release Date: 11/13/2015   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 718   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven & Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos
Release Date: 02/26/2016   Label: Accentus  
Catalog: 20345   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4, Symphonies Nos. 3 & 7 / Backhaus, Knappertsbusch
Release Date: 06/10/2016   Label: Orfeo  
Catalog: 901162   Number of Discs: 2
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Songs By Schubert, Beethoven, Britten & Hahn / Polenzani, Drake
Release Date: 10/24/2011   Label: Wigmore Hall Live  
Catalog: 48   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21

Browse 1-25 of 182 Available Recordings
1 2 ... 7 8
  • 1.
    Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies (1963 Recording) / Karjan, Berlin Philharmonic [Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002506446 Release Date: 07/01/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Gundula Janowitz,  Hilde Rössl-Majdan,  Waldemar Kmentt,  Walter Berry
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
    Blu-ray Audio: $32.49
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  • 2.
    Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9 / Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Berlin Philharmonic   Catalog: BPHR160091 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Eva Vogel,  Dimitry Ivashchenko,  Annette Dasch,  Christian Elsner
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus
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    CD: $118.99
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  • 3.
    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
    CD: $52.99
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  • 4.
    Deutsche Grammophon: The Mono Era (1948-1957)
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002457272 Release Date: 03/18/2016   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Stefan Askenase,  Shura Cherkassky,  Halina Czerny-Stefanska,  Basile Bolotine  ... 
    Conductor:  Karel Ancerl,  Karl Böhm,  Serge Jaroff,  Leopold Ludwig  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $145.99
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  • 5.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9 / Rajski, Polish Chamber PO
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 974 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Agnieszka Rehlis,  Bomi Lee,  Krystian Adam Krzeszowiak,  Tareq Nazmi
    Conductor:  Wojciech Rajski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra,  Polish Chamber Philharmonic,  Schola Cantorum Gedanensis  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: The Symphonies / Thielemann, Vienna [6 CD]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875112822 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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    CD: $22.99
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: 9 Symphonies / Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic [Vinyl]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002404101 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    LP: $198.99
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2; Staud: Maniai; Mochiauki: Nirai / BRSO
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900138 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Maria Staud,  Misato Mochizuki
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 10.
    Bruno Walter Conducts Beethoven
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875123912 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Jean Sibelius,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Nell Rankin,  Alberto DaCosta,  William Wildermann,  Emilia Cundari  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Westminster Symphonic Choir
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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    Beethoven: Symphonies 1 & 5 (Arr. Carl Czerny)
    Label: Resonus Classics   Catalog: 10151 Release Date: 08/07/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  George-Emmanuel Lazaridis,  Vicky Yannoula
    On sale! $21.98
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Re-sound: Beethoven Symphonies 1 & 2
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 470 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Martin Haselböck
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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    Complete Beethoven Symphonies, Vol. 1 / Lan Shui, Copenhagen Philharmonic
    Label: Orchid Classics   Catalog: 100045 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Lan Shui
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Copenhagen Philharmonic
    CD: $34.99
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  • 17.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9 / Ivan Fischer, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 14109 Release Date: 03/31/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Bernarda Fink,  Myrto Papatanasiu,  Burkhard Fritz,  Gerald Finley
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    DVD: $74.49
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  • 18.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9 / Ivan Fischer, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra [blu-ray]
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 14108 Release Date: 03/31/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Myrto Papatanasiu,  Bernarda Fink,  Burkhard Fritz,  Gerald Finley
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $74.49
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  • 19.
    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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  • 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.
    Beethoven: 9 Symphonies / Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic [5 CDs & 1 Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002137760 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Hilde Rössel-Majdan,  Gundula Janowitz,  Walter Berry,  Waldemar Kmentt
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
    CD: $78.99
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  • 22.
    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
    CD: $19.99
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  • 23.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Muti, Philadelphia
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 627829 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Cheryl Studer,  Delores Ziegler,  Peter Seiffert,  James Morris
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Westminster Choir
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  • 24.
    Ferenc Fricsay: Complete DG Recordings, Vol 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002132602 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 45
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Tibor Varga,  Helmut Krebs,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $175.98
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  • 25.
    Rafael Kubelik - The Symphony Edition [23-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002054802 Release Date: 06/24/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Antonín Dvorák,  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Helen Donath,  Teresa Berganza,  Wieslaw Ochman,  Thomas Stewart  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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