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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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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The Late Beethoven Sonatas / Kempff
Release Date: 08/26/2016   Label: Apr Recordings  
Catalog: APR6018   Number of Discs: 2
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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: Sonata Appassionata

Browse 26-50 of 248 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Sviatoslav Richter: The Complete Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301470 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Robert La Marchina,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Christoph Eschenbach
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  • 27.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Opp. 10, 53 'Waldstein', 54 & 57 'Appassionata'
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1268 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Paavali Jumppanen
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  • 28.
    Label: Tuxedo Music   Catalog: 1075 Release Date: 03/03/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    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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  • 31.
    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
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  • 32.
    Walter Gieseking Plays All Piano Sonatas By Beethoven, Vol. 2, No. 16-32 (Less No. 22)
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9124 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking
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  • 33.
    Sviatoslav Richter - Complete Decca, Philips & DG Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002236002 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Mikhail Kopelman,  Valentin Berlinsky,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Wislocki,  Kurt Sanderling,  Witold Rowicki,  János Ferencsik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moragues Woodwind Quintet members,  Borodin String Quartet,  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 34.
    Ludwig Van Beethoven: Sonaten, Opp. 14/1, 14/2, 56
    Label: Telos   Catalog: 189 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Elena Kolesnitschenko,  Eugéne Mursky
    CD: $17.99
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  • 35.
    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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  • 36.
    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
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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    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
    SuperAudio CD: $88.99
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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    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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  • 41.
    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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  • 42.
    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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  • 43.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $125.98
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  • 44.
    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
    CD: $21.99
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  • 45.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 46.
    Piano Recital 1988: Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Beethoven, Liszt / Bolet
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93725 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt,  Moritz Moszkowski  ... 
    Performer:  Jorge Bolet
    CD: $14.99
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  • 47.
    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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  • 48.
    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
    CD: $24.99
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  • 49.
    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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  • 50.
    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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