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
The Beethoven Journey - Piano Concerto No. 5
Release Date: 09/16/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 305886   Number of Discs: 1
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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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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 5 / Freire, Chailly
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002153402   Number of Discs: 1
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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 String Quartets / Belcea Quartet
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 72668   Number of Discs: 5
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Work: Sonata Appassionata

Browse 1-25 of 296 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from Deutsche Grammophon
    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  ... 
    On sale! $159.98
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    Beethoven: Tempest; Waldstein; Appassionata / Soo Park
    Label: Herisson   Catalog: 10 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Soo Park
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  • 6.
    Passion And Fantasy / Sophia Agranovich
    Label: Roméo Records   Catalog: 7303 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Sophia Agranovich
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  • 7.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 2
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 300350 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Byron Janis,  Gary Graffman,  Vladimir Horowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Krips,  Fritz Reiner,  Pierre Monteux,  Charles Munch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony of the Air,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    Alfred Brendel: 3 Classic Albums
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002044602 Release Date: 05/06/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel,  James Van Demark
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Cleveland String Quartet members
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  • 9.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 3, 32 & 23
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5122 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Claudio Arrau
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  • 10.
    Piano Recital 1988: Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Beethoven, Liszt
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93725 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt,  Leopold Godowsky  ... 
    Performer:  Jorge Bolet
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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Scriabin, Beethoven / Federico Colli
    Label: Champs Hill Records   Catalog: 79 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alexander Scriabin
    Performer:  Federico Colli
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  • 14.
    Vladimir Horowitz Plays Great Sonatas
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7884092 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Muzio Clementi  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
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  • 15.
    The Westminster Legacy
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001999302 Release Date: 02/18/2014   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Sena Jurinac,  Lucretia West,  Hans Loeffler,  Frederick Guthrie  ... 
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen,  Pierre Monteux,  René Leibowitz,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Academy Chamber Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 16.
    Icon: Witold Malcuzynski - The Polish Master Pianist
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 924428 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Witold Malcuzynski
    Conductor:  Walter Susskind,  Paul Kletzki,  Fritz Rieger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  French National Radio Orchestra
    CD: $39.99
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  • 17.
    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
    On sale! $67.98
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  • 18.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    Gary Graffman - The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 546239 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Gary Graffman,  Berl Senofsky,  Shirley Trepel,  Dick Hyman  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Enrique Jorda,  Charles Munch,  Walter Hendl  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 22.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No. 14 'Moonlight', No. 23 'Appassionata', No. 31 Op. 110 / Frank Braley
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1951750 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Frank Braley
    CD: $9.99
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  • 23.
    Beethoven: Willems Collection (Box)
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4810464 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Gerard Willems
    Conductor:  Antony Walker
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Australia
    On sale! $143.98
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  • 24.
    Alfred Brendel - The Legendary Mozart & Beethoven Recordings
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94430 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel,  Walter Klien
    Conductor:  Antonio Janigro,  Paul Angerer,  Willfried Boettcher,  Heinz Wallberg  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Zagreb,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra,  Vienna Pro Musica Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $58.99
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  • 25.
    Label: David Wasser Records   Catalog: 5637600937 Release Date: 07/20/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  David Wasser
    CD: $14.99
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