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
David Zinman conducts Beethoven
Release Date: 04/28/2015   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 88843077922   Number of Discs: 11
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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 7 / Blunier, Beethoven Orchester Bonn
Release Date: 04/07/2017   Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)  
Catalog: 9371995-6   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 5 / Blunier,  Beethoven Orchester Bonn
Release Date: 03/12/2013   Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)  
Catalog: 9371756   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 3
Release Date: 11/04/2016   Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)  
Catalog: 9371966   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 / Blunier, Beethoven Orchester Bonn
Release Date: 11/01/2016   Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)  
Catalog: 9371977   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Sonata Pathétique

Browse 1-25 of 222 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas / Goode
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 561659 Release Date: 09/22/2017  
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Richard Goode
    CD: $38.99
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  • 2.
    Daniel Barenboim: The Solo Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797371 Release Date: 08/25/2017   Number of Discs: 39
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alban Berg,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Antony Pay
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
    CD: $138.99
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  • 3.
    Rudolf Serkin: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985404062 Release Date: 08/25/2017   Number of Discs: 75
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin,  Adolf Busch,  Hermann Busch,  Pablo Casals  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Bruno Walter,  Eugene Ormandy,  Pablo Casals  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Busch String Quartet  ... 
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  • 4.
    Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas & Bagatelles / Kovacevich
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 563129 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich
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  • 5.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1 / Bellucci
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 2195103 Release Date: 06/30/2017   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Giovanni Bellucci
    CD: $17.99
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  • 6.
    Naxos: The Anniversary Collection
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8503293 Release Date: 04/14/2017   Number of Discs: 30
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner  ... 
    Performer:  Bettina Eger,  Ute Hartwich,  Martin Kevenhörster,  Hans-Martin Kothe  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Müller-Brühl,  Georg Tintner,  Robert Stankovsky,  Leonard Slatkin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Chamber Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Kosice Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Piano Passion / Fischer
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 17464 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Clara Wieck Schumann,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Caroline Fischer
    CD: $18.99
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  • 8.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Kim
    Label: Accentus   Catalog: 30409 Release Date: 03/17/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Sun-Wook Kim
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  • 9.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Yoshikawa
    Label: Ypsilon International   Catalog: 001 Release Date: 01/27/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Takahiro Yoshikawa
    CD: $17.99
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  • 10.
    Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas / Schiff
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 002587102 Release Date: 12/16/2016   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  András Schiff
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  • 11.
    Beethoven Barenboim
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 558505 Release Date: 12/02/2016   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Itzhak Perlman  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin State Opera Chorus  ... 
    CD: $77.49
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  • 12.
    Maurizio Pollini: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002578510 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Arnold Schoenberg  ... 
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini,  Andreas Esders,  Gabriele Lechner,  Gretchen Eder  ... 
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann,  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung  ... 
    CD: $254.49
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  • 13.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Opp. 7, 13
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1298 Release Date: 11/11/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Paavali Jumppanen
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  • 14.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Buchbinder
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 734708 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    DVD: $58.99
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  • 15.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Buchbinder [Blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 734804 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    Blu-ray Video: $58.99
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  • 16.
    Emil Gilels: 100th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002433 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Alexander Alyabyev,  Arno Babadjanyan,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    CD: $499.99
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  • 17.
    Beethoven: 6 Sonatas, Fur Elise & Emperor Concerto / Schnabel
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 3201 Release Date: 09/09/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Artur Schnabel
    Conductor:  Frederick Stock
    CD: $13.99
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  • 18.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Rosel
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300752 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Peter Rösel
    CD: $14.99
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  • 19.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Rosel [Vinyl]
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300751BC Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Peter Rösel
    LP: $39.99
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  • 20.
    Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas / Schnabel
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556698 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Artur Schnabel
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    CD: $26.99
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  • 21.
    Felipe Browne, Vol. 3
    Label: Claudio   Catalog: 6034 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Felipe Browne
    CD: $17.99
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  • 22.
    Felipe Browne, Vol. 3 [DVD Audio]
    Label: Claudio   Catalog: 6034 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Felipe Browne
    DVD Audio: $24.99
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  • 23.
    Miyuji 2012: Bartok Piano Sonata
    Label: Exton   Catalog: 71 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Béla Bartók,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Miyuji Kaneko
    On sale! $52.98
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  • 24.
    Lazar Berman: The Complete Sony Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875168362 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alexander Scriabin  ... 
    Performer:  Lazar Berman
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $22.99
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  • 25.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 3 / Buchbinder
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 73508 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    DVD: $29.99
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