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: Fidelio / Altmeyer, Masur, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Release Date: 04/29/2016   Label: Eurodisc  
Catalog: 88875194822   Number of Discs: 2
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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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Work: Symphony no 3 "Eroica"

Browse 1-25 of 261 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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
    DVD: $68.99
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  • 2.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Jordan, Paris National Opera Orchestra [Blu-ray]
    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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  • 3.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9 / Rajski, Polish Chamber Philharmonic [Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: TACET974BDA 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
    On sale! $97.99
    Blu-ray Audio: $94.99
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 / Jansons, Bavarian Radio Symphony [Blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 108098 Release Date: 07/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $29.99
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  • 6.
    The Britannic Organ, Vol. 12
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 1841 Release Date: 07/08/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn,  George Frideric Handel,  Basil Harwood  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Welte,  Eugene Gigout,  Herbert Walton,  Alfred Sittard  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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
    CD: $19.99
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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
    SuperAudio CD: $14.99
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  • 12.
    Europakonzert: 25 DVD Anniversary Box (1991-2015) / Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 26098 Release Date: 04/29/2016  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Leonidas Kavakos,  Mikhail Pletnev,  Violeta Urmana,  Elke Wilm Schulte  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Pierre Boulez,  Gustavo Dudamel,  Claudio Abbado  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Choir,  Eric Ericson Chamber Choir
    On sale! $118.99
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  • 13.
    The Leonard Bernstein Collection, Vol. 2
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002462302 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 64
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Alessi,  Glenn Dicterow,  Philip Smith,  Jaap Van Zweden  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Bach Festival Percussion Ensemble
    CD: $202.99
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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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    CD: $23.99
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  • 19.
    The Florilegium Series - Classical & Early Romantic
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 002386502 Release Date: 10/15/2015   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Luigi Boccherini,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Domenico Cimarosa  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Hacker,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Emma Kirkby,  Michael George  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  Simon Preston,  Alan Hacker,  Arnold Östman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  The Music Party,  Oxford New College Choir  ... 
    CD: $148.49
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  • 20.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 3  / Jansons, Bavarian Radio Symphony
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900134 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Rodion Shchedrin
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 3 / Bruggen, Orchestra of the 18th Century
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109117 Release Date: 08/28/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
    DVD: $19.99
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  • 23.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 3 / Bruggen, Orchestra of the 18th Century [blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109118 Release Date: 08/28/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
    Blu-ray Video: $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.
    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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