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 String Quartets / Belcea Quartet
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Zig Zag  
Catalog: 344   Number of Discs: 8
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Beethoven, Mozart: Violin Concertos / Schneiderhan
Release Date: 02/13/1996   Label: Dg The Originals  
Catalog: 447403   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas 8, 14 & 23 / Alfred Brendel
Release Date: 10/25/1990   Label: Philips  
Catalog: 411470   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: The Late Piano Sonatas / Igor Levit
Release Date: 11/05/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 370387   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Complete Works For Solo Piano Vol 13: The Rage Over A Lost Penny / Brautigam
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1892   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Moonlight Sonata

Browse 1-25 of 294 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 3, Moonlight Sonata / Galeani, Nowak
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra   Catalog: 41 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mario Galeani
    Conductor:  Grzegorz Nowak
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Maria Joao Pires - The Complete Erato Recordings
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 631065 Release Date: 06/24/2014   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Maria-Joao Pires,  Huseyin Sermet
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Theodor Guschlbauer,  Armin Jordan,  Michel Corboz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Lisbon Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra,  Orchestre De Chambre De Lausanne  ... 
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  • 3.
    In The Night / Stephen Hough
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67996 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Stephen Hough
    Performer:  Stephen Hough
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  • 4.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 1
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 541497 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Jacques Ibert,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Berj Zamkochian,  John Weicher,  Philip Farkas,  Jascha Heifetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Fritz Reiner,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  New England Conservatory Alumni Chorus  ... 
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  • 5.
    Visions: Sonatas Of Beethoven Vol 1 /  Barbara Nissman
    Label: Three Oranges Recordings   Catalog: 5638267584 Release Date: 04/01/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Barbara Nissman
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.3, Piano Sonatas Op.111 / Say, Noseda, Frankfurt Radio Symphony
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5347 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Fazil Say
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Glenn Gould Plays Beethoven
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7685272 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann,  Leonard Bernstein,  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 8.
    Vladimir Horowitz Plays Great Sonatas
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7884092 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Samuel Barber,  Dmitri Kabalevsky,  Domenico Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
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  • 9.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Alexej Gorlatch
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 879 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Alexej Gorlatch
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  • 10.
    Piano Reflections
    Label: Classic Fm   Catalog: 1077947 Release Date: 02/04/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Ji Liu
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  • 11.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 2 / Jean-efflam Bavouzet
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10798 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
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  • 12.
    Claudio Arrau: Rarities 1929-1951
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 639427 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Claudio Arrau
    Conductor:  Basil Cameron
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Abdel Rahman El Bacha
    Label: Mirare   Catalog: 187 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Abdel Rahman El Bacha
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  • 14.
    Daniel Barenboim: 5 Classic Albums
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 938424 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Jacqueline Du Pré
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Music In Life / Umi Garrett
    Label: Umi Garrett   Catalog: 5638232876 Release Date: 01/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Claude Debussy,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Umi Garrett
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  • 16.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1104380 Release Date: 12/03/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  John Newton,  César Franck,  Ludovico Einaudi,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Il Divo,  The Priests,  Einaudi,  Jonathan & Charlotte  ... 
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  • 17.
    Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Franck, Liszt, Schumann,Tschaikowskij, Bartok
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2013018 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Clara Haskil
    Conductor:  Alceo Galliera,  Eduard Van Beinum,  Otto Ackermann
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  • 18.
    Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas / Francois-Frederic Guy
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 333 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  François-Frédéric Guy
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  • 19.
    Jill Crossland Plays Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Busoni
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 25111 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Ferruccio Busoni
    Performer:  Jill Crossland
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  • 20.
    A Beethoven Odyssey, Vol. 2 / James Brawn
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1466 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  James Brawn
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  • 21.
    Label: Sleeveless   Catalog: 1001 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Warren Mailley-Smith
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  • 22.
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4763847 Release Date: 11/11/2013  
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Arthur Jussen,  Lucas Jussen
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  • 23.
    BBC Legends - Great Recordings from the Archive
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5113 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Beryl Hatt,  Agnes Giebel,  Joyce Barker,  Kerstin Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Jascha Horenstein,  Yevgeny Mravinsky,  Arturo Toscanini,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpington Junior Singers,  Goldsmiths' Choral Union  ... 
    CD: $98.99
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  • 24.
    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  ... 
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  • 25.
    Beethoven: Moonlight, Waldstein, Storm Sonatas / Alexei Lubimov
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 194 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Alexei Lubimov
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