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 Symphonies / Blomstedt, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Release Date: 07/07/2017   Label: Accentus  
Catalog: 80322   Number of Discs: 5
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Beethoven, Schumann, Strauss & Vivaldi: Horn Music / Damm
Release Date: 04/28/2017   Label: Berlin Classics  
Catalog: 0300930   Number of Discs: 6
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Beethoven: The Piano Trios / TrioVanBeethoven
Release Date: 04/28/2017   Label: Gramola  
Catalog: 99134   Number of Discs: 4
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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Kissin
Release Date: 09/08/2017   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002712902   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Blomstedt, Staatskapelle Dresden
Release Date: 06/26/2012   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94289   Number of Discs: 5
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Work: Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21

Browse 1-25 of 205 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 / Jordan, Wiener Symphoniker
    Label: Vienna Symphony Orchestra   Catalog: WS013 Release Date: 10/20/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Philippe Jordan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 2.
    Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9 / Weil, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
    Label: Tafelmusik Media   Catalog: 1034 Release Date: 09/22/2017   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Bruno Weil
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
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    CD: $32.49
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  • 3.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos 1 & 4 / Kubelik
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186248 Release Date: 09/15/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $15.99
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  • 4.
    Sir Georg Solti: The Complete Chicago Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4831375 Release Date: 09/15/2017   Number of Discs: 108
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $373.99
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  • 5.
    Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9 / Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker [Vinyl]
    Label: Berlin Philharmonic   Catalog: BPHR160092 Release Date: 09/01/2017   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Christian Elsner,  Dimitry Ivashchenko,  Annette Dasch,  Eva Vogel
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus
    Recommendation
    LP: $398.99
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies / Barenboim, Staatskapelle Berlin
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 563142 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Berlin
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Blomstedt, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
    Label: Accentus   Catalog: 80322 Release Date: 07/07/2017   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Simona Saturová,  Mihoko Fujimura,  Christian Elsner,  Christian Gerhaher
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gewandhausorchester Leipzig,  Gewandhauschor,  Gewandhauskinderchor
    Recommendation
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  • 8.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 & 8 / Rajski, Polish Chamber Philharmonic [Vinyl]
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: TACET238LP Release Date: 07/07/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Wojciech Rajski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra
    LP: $58.99
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  • 9.
    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
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    George Szell conducts Beethoven
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88883737152 Release Date: 05/12/2017   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Donald Bell,  Adele Addison,  Jane Hobson,  Richard Lewis
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Carl Schuricht: Icon
    Label: Wb / Parlophone   Catalog: 560512 Release Date: 04/21/2017   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Anton Bruckner
    Conductor:  Carl Schuricht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orch Ste Conc Du Conservatoire
    CD: $38.99
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Beethoven: Symphony Nos. 1 & 7 / Harnoncourt, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 924161 Release Date: 01/13/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    Beethoven Barenboim
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 558505 Release Date: 12/02/2016   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Itzhak Perlman  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin State Opera Chorus  ... 
    CD: $77.49
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  • 17.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4 / Masur, London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 93 Release Date: 11/11/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $226.99
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  • 19.
    Bruckner, Schubert, Brahms & Beethoven: Symphonies / Wand, Munich Philharmonic
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 16060 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Günter Wand
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 20.
    Eugen Jochum: Complete Recordings on DG, Vol. 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002565702 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 42
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum
    CD: $108.49
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  • 21.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Jordan, Paris National Opera Orchestra
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109248 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniela Sindram,  Ricarda Merbeth,  Robert Dean Smith,  Günther Groissböck
    Conductor:  Philippe Jordan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris National Opera Orchestra,  Paris National Opera Chorus
    CD: $68.99
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  • 22.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Jordan, Paris National Opera Orchestra
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109249 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ricarda Merbeth,  Daniela Sindram,  Robert Dean Smith,  Günther Groissböck
    Conductor:  Philippe Jordan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris National Opera Orchestra,  Paris National Opera Chorus
    Blu-ray Video: $68.99
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  • 23.
    Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies / Furtwangler
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556699 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    CD: $16.99
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9 / Rajski, Polish Chamber Philharmonic [Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 974 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Agnieszka Rehlis,  Bomi Lee,  Krystian Adam Krzeszowiak,  Tareq Nazmi
    Conductor:  Wojciech Rajski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra,  Schola Cantorum Gedanensis,  Polish Chamber Choir
    Blu-ray Audio: $97.99
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  • 25.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 & 3 / Jansons, Bavarian Radio Symphony
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 102175 Release Date: 07/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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