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: Piano Concerto No 3; Mozart: Piano Concerto No 24 / Sudbin, Vanska
Release Date: 02/25/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1978   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: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 2 / Jean-efflam Bavouzet
Release Date: 01/28/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10798   Number of Discs: 3
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Beethoven, Berg: Violin Concertos / Weithaas, Sloane, 	Stavanger Symphony
Release Date: 01/14/2014   Label: Cavi Music  
Catalog: 8553305   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven:
Release Date: 01/28/2014   Label: Idi  
Catalog: 6678   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Sonata for Piano no 21 in C major, Op. 53 "Waldstein"

Browse 1-25 of 202 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    Glory In The Highest! / Busoni, Beethoven, Franck, Barber, Granados, Ginastera / Barbara Nissman
    Label: Three Oranges Recordings   Catalog: 5638268421 Release Date: 04/02/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Samuel Barber,  César Franck,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Nissman
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    Gyorgy Cziffra: Piano Recital, Vol. 2 - Bach/Busoni, Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt
    Label: Fabula Classica   Catalog: 12101 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  György Cziffra
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 3 - Nos. 15, 16, 21 'waldstein'
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4115 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jonathan Biss
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas 10, 17, 21 / Radoslav Kvapil
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 147 Release Date: 11/05/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Radoslav Kvapil
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 21, 26 & 29
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001909602 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
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  • 16.
    Vladimir Horowitz Live at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548417 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 42
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Muzio Clementi  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Isaac Stern,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Leonard Bernstein,  Lyndon Woodside,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Oratorio Society of New York
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    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  ... 
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  • 20.
    Frederic Lamond: Rare Broadcasts And Selected Recordings
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 52071 Release Date: 06/15/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Frederic Lamond
    Conductor:  Eduard Van Beinum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    CD: $36.99
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  • 21.
    Byron Janis - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 548440 Release Date: 04/16/2013   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  George Gershwin,  Ferde Grofé  ... 
    Performer:  Byron Janis
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $64.98
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  • 22.
    Ashkenazy - 50 Years on Decca
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001820202 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Boris Belkin,  Daniel Barenboim,  Fou Ts'ong  ... 
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Lorin Maazel,  Uri Segal  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Wind Soloists  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 23.
    Beethoven Masterworks Collection  [51-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001813172 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Janet Perry,  Agnes Baltsa,  Vinson Cole,  José Van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Carlos Kleiber,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $163.49
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas 14-21 / Daniel Barenboim
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2066498 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 25.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Maria Grinberg
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002025 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maria Grinberg
    CD: $88.99
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