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: Piano Sonatas / Kissin
Release Date: 09/08/2017   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002712902   Number of Discs: 2
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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: Complete Symphonies / Blomstedt, Staatskapelle Dresden
Release Date: 06/26/2012   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94289   Number of Discs: 5
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Work: Leonore Overture no 3 in C major, Op. 72a

Browse 1-25 of 124 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 & Leonore Overture No. 3 / Solti, Ashkenazy, Chicago Symphony [Vinyl]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4832254 Release Date: 08/04/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    LP: $32.99
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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  ... 
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  • 5.
    Eurodisc Recordings / Masur, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
    Label: Eurodisc   Catalog: 5435862 Release Date: 06/02/2017   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Anton Bruckner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Theo Adam,  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Carola Nossek,  Jeanine Altmeyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Karl Bohm: The Early Years
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 561986 Release Date: 06/02/2017   Number of Discs: 19
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Jan Dahmen,  Max Zimolong,  Elisabeth Höngen,  Josef Herrmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Dresden,  Dresden State Opera Chorus,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 7.
    New York Philharmonic: 175th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 533636 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 65
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Oscar Levant,  Robert Casadesus,  Isaac Stern,  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  Willem Mengelberg,  Josef Stransky,  Arturo Toscanini,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 8.
    Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3, Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8 / Furtwangler
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350127 Release Date: 01/06/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $23.99
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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  ... 
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    CD: $226.99
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  • 11.
    Beethoven: Overtures / Neumann, Czech Philharmonic
    Label: Exton   Catalog: 68 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Václav Neumann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall (Selected Highlights)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 530420 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Paul de Schlözer,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Ronald Turini,  Artur Rubinstein,  Jorge Bolet,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Arturo Toscanini,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra of St. Luke's
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  • 13.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503227 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Roy Harris,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Jussi Björling,  Frederick Schauwecker,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Serge Koussevitzky,  Bruno Walter,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
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  • 14.
    A Tribute to Hans Knappertsbusch
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109212 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Claire Watson,  Fritz Uhl,  Josef Greindl  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 15.
    A Tribute to Hans Knappertsbusch [Blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109213 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Claire Watson,  Fritz Uhl,  Josef Greindl  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 16.
    Michael Gielen Edition, Vol. 1 (1967-2010)
    Label: Swr Music   Catalog: 19007 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Gielen,  Julia Hamari,  Barry McDaniel,  Edda Moser  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Gielen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Chorus,  SWR Baden-Baden and Freiburg Symphony Orchestra,  Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $43.99
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  • 17.
    Beethoven: Fidelio / Ludwig, Vickers, Frick, Berry, Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 554002 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Franz Crass,  Gottlob Frick,  Ingeborg Hallstein,  Jon Vickers  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 3; Leonore Overture No 3 / Wand, NDR Sinfonieorchester
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88697711442 Release Date: 10/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Günter Wand
    CD: $6.99
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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    Karl Bohm - Late Recordings - Vienna, London, Dresden
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002327602 Release Date: 06/23/2015   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Anton Bruckner,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Jessye Norman,  Placido Domingo,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $75.49
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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.
    Furtwangler Conducts Beethoven - The Complete Symphonies & Selected Overtures
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 942 Release Date: 12/17/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Irmgard Seefried,  Rosette Anday,  Anton Dermota,  Paul Schöffler
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singakademie
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  • 23.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    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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