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
Pinchas Zukerman Plays Beethoven - The Violin Sonatas
Release Date: 08/26/2014   Label: Rca  
Catalog: 440142   Number of Discs: 4
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Rudolf Serkin Plays Beethoven
Release Date: 11/06/2012   Label: Sony (Nax615)  
Catalog: 988302   Number of Discs: 11
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Leon Fleisher Plays Beethoven & Brahms
Release Date: 08/07/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 1918052   Number of Discs: 5
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Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Muti, Philadelphia
Release Date: 09/02/2014   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 627829   Number of Discs: 6
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Beethoven: Symphonies No 1-9, Overtures... / Bernstein
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 7683912   Number of Discs: 6
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Work: Leonore Overture no 3 in C major, Op. 72a

Browse 1-25 of 151 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    Ferenc Fricsay: Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon, 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  ... 
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  • 3.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 8; Overtures
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 6260 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Yondani Butt
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  • 4.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 9, Overtures, Grosse Fuge / Ansermet, Suisse Romande
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002069602 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Norma Procter,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Anton Dermota
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Choeur Du Brassus,  Choeur Des Jeunes De L’église National De Vandoise
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  • 5.
    Leonard Bernstein Collection Vol 1 [59 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 2027800 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Leonard Bernstein,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Kurt Moll,  Hanna Schwarz  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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    CD: $342.99
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9; Overtures / Karajan, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633735 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Otto Edelmann,  Ernst Haefliger,  Marga Höffgen,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Friends of Music Society Chorus
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 7, Leonore Overture No 3 / Mehta
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002005302 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies / Leibowitz, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 121278 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ruth Siewert,  Inge Borkh,  Richard Lewis,  Ludwig Weber
    Conductor:  René Leibowitz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beecham Choral Society
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  • 9.
    Beethoven - Recordings During Wartime / Wilhelm Furtwangler
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5061 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Erich Röhn,  Conrad Hansen
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Beethoven: Symphonies No 1-9, Overtures... / Bernstein
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7683912 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Isaac Stern
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 11.
    Orff: Carmina Burana / Rattle, Berlin Philharmonic [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2053674 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Sally Matthews,  Lawrence Brownlee,  Christian Gerhaher
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 12.
    Beethoven - Complete Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94630 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 86
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Helena Döse,  Marga Schiml,  Peter Schreier,  Theo Adam  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt,  David Zinman,  Gérard Oskamp,  Carl-August Bünte  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden State Opera Chorus,  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $148.99
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  • 13.
    Celibidache - The Berlin Recordings 1945-1957
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21423 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Raoul Koczalski
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $58.99
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  • 14.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9, Overtures / Bohm, Vienna Philharmonic [6-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001923502 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Tatiana Troyanos,  Karl Ridderbusch,  Jess Thomas,  Dame Gwyneth Jones
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Vienna Opera Chorus
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  • 15.
    Vladimir Horowitz Live at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548417 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 42
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Muzio Clementi  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Isaac Stern,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Leonard Bernstein,  Lyndon Woodside,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Oratorio Society of New York
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  • 16.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies & Selected Overtures / Toscanini
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1275 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jarmila Novotná,  Kerstin Thorborg,  Jan Peerce,  Nicola Moscona
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22322 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Wagner,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 18.
    Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony; Haydn: Symphony No 100 /  Svetlanov, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1481 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $34.98
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  • 19.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Székely,  Olga Szönyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 20.
    Overtures
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 162 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Luigi Cherubini,  Franz Schubert,  Carl Maria von Weber  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
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  • 21.
    Beethoven: Les 9 Symphonies / Cluytens, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 483032 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Frederick Guthrie,  Kerstin Meyer,  Gré Brouwenstijn,  Nicolai Gedda
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 22.
    The Complete Beethoven: Symphonies; Concertos; Overtures [12-CD Set]
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501204 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Stefan Vladar,  Claire Rutter,  Matilde Wallevik,  Marta Fontanals-Simmons  ... 
    Conductor:  Béla Drahos,  Barry Wordsworth,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Kenneth Jean
    CD: $58.99
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  • 23.
    Wilhelm Furtwangler: Wiener Konzerte 1944-1954 [18-CD Set]
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 834118 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  César Franck,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Badura-Skoda,  Dagmar Bella,  Paul Schöffler,  Anton Dermota  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singakademie,  Vienna Boys' Choir
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  • 24.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 196 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Richard Lewis,  Kim Borg,  Eileen [Soprano Vocals] Farrell,  Rudolf Serkin
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
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  • 25.
    Beethoven Masterworks Collection  [51-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001813172 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Janet Perry,  Agnes Baltsa,  Vinson Cole,  José Van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Carlos Kleiber,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $163.49
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