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 8 in F major, Op. 93

Browse 1-25 of 209 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.
    Complete Beethoven Symphonies, Vol. 2 / Shui, Copenhagen Philharmonic
    Label: Orchid Classics   Catalog: ORC100059 Release Date: 09/09/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Lan Shui
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Copenhagen Philharmonic
    CD: $26.99
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  • 4.
    Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3, Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8 / Furtwangler
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350127 Release Date: 09/02/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $23.99
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  • 5.
    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
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 7, 8 & 9 / Jansons, Bavarian Radio Symphony
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 102177 Release Date: 07/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Christiane Karg,  Mihoko Fujimura,  Michael Schade,  Michael Volle
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
    On sale! $29.99
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 7-9 / Jansons, Bavarian Radio Symphony [Blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 108100 Release Date: 07/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mihoko Fujimura,  Christiane Karg,  Michael Schade,  Michael Volle
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
    Blu-ray Video: $29.99
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  • 8.
    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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  • 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: 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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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8; Widmann: Con Brio / Jansons, BRSO
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900137 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Jörg Widmann
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    Barenboim and the Berlin Philharmonic - Staatsoper Unter den Linden, 1998
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2018258 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Richard Wagner,  Franz Liszt
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    Edition Gewandhausorchester, Vol. 4
    Label: Querstand   Catalog: 1317 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Recorded Sound,  Friedrich Cerha
    Performer:  Heinz [Tenor Vocal] Matthei,  Lea Piltti,  Josef Greindl
    Conductor:  Hermann Abendroth,  Riccardo Chailly
    CD: $17.99
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  • 20.
    Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Symphony No. 8; Brahms: String Sextet
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4154 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Augustin Dumay,  Henri Demarquette,  Miguel Da Silva,  Svetlin Roussev  ... 
    Conductor:  Augustin Dumay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia,  Osaka Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante, Kv 297b; Haydn; Beethoven
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38171 Release Date: 03/31/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Marc Gruber,  Sebastian Manz,  Ramon Ortega Quero,  Theo Plath
    Conductor:  Ola Rudner
    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
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  • 25.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 8 / Blunier, Beethoven Orchester Bonn
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9371883 Release Date: 02/17/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Stefan Blunier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beethoven Orchestra Bonn
    CD: $20.99
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