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: 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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Beethoven: Piano Trios, Vol. 3 / TrioVanBeethoven
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Gramola  
Catalog: GRAM99117   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Moonlight Sonata

Browse 26-50 of 250 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Glenn Gould Remastered: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503222 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 81
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Elizabeth Benson-Guy,  Donald Gramm,  Charles Bressler  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Walter Susskind,  Vladimir Golschmann,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  CBC Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Symphonia String Quartet  ... 
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  • 27.
    Profundum
    Label: Orlando Records (Classical)   Catalog: 17 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Nikolai Medtner  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Walzer
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  • 28.
    Jos Van Immerseel: The Accent Recordings, 1979-1986
    Label: Accent   Catalog: 24311 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Muzio Clementi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Jos van Immerseel,  Paul Dombrecht,  René Jacobs,  Mireille Capelle  ... 
    Conductor:  Jos van Immerseel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Octophoros
    CD: $39.99
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  • 29.
    Moonlight: The Piano Music Of Beethoven, Chopin, Glass, Part, Helisek
    Label: Helisek Music Publishing   Catalog: 500 Release Date: 05/05/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Philip Glass,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Timothy A. Helisek  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy A. Helisek,  Tina Guo
    CD: $13.99
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  • 30.
    111 - The Piano - Legendary Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002281002 Release Date: 04/21/2015   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Géza Anda,  Martha Argerich,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 31.
    Label: Tuxedo Music   Catalog: 1075 Release Date: 03/03/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
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  • 32.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Maurizio Pollini
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002235002 Release Date: 02/24/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
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  • 33.
    Beethoven: The 32 Piano Sonatas / Daniel-ben Pienaar
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2320 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel-Ben Pienaar
    CD: $74.49
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  • 34.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No 13, 14, 23 & 25 / Radoslav Kvapil
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 152 Release Date: 01/20/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Radoslav Kvapil
    CD: $9.99
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  • 35.
    Walter Giesking Plays All Piano Sonatas By Beethoven, Vol. 1, No. 1-15
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9123 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking
    CD: $14.99
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  • 36.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Daniel Barenboim [5-DVD Set]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2066427 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    DVD: $54.49
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  • 37.
    Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas / Ronald Brautigam
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2000 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ronald Brautigam
    SuperAudio CD: $87.49
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  • 38.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from DG
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002171502 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Pierre Fournier,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  David Oistrakh,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Franz Konwitschny,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 39.
    Fantasies, Fairytales & Nightmares
    Label: Blue Griffin   Catalog: 343 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms,  Nikolai Medtner  ... 
    Performer:  Ani Gogova
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  • 40.
    Alessio Bax Plays Beethoven
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 397 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Alessio Bax
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  • 41.
    Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas / Mari Kodama
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 186490 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mari Kodama
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  • 42.
    Wiener Klassik: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert
    Label: Gramola   Catalog: 99004 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Yumiko Matsuda
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  • 43.
    Maria Joao Pires - Complete DG Solo Recordings [20-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002093102 Release Date: 07/29/2014   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Maria-Joao Pires,  Pavel Gomziakov,  Ricardo Castro
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  • 44.
    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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  • 45.
    Sachiko Furuhata-kersting Plays Works For Solo Piano By Beethoven & Schumann
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 434 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Sachiko Furuhata-Kersting
    CD: $17.99
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  • 46.
    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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  • 47.
    Simon Mulligan Plays Beethoven
    Label: Victor Elmaleh Collection   Catalog: 110 Release Date: 06/01/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Simon Mulligan
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  • 48.
    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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  • 49.
    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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  • 50.
    The Complete London Studio Recordings / Annie Fischer [8-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634123 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Annie Fischer
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Efrem Kurtz,  Otto Klemperer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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