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
Bruno Walter Conducts Beethoven
Release Date: 11/13/2015   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 88875123912   Number of Discs: 7
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Beethoven: Symphonies 5 & 7 / Honeck, Pittsburgh
Release Date: 11/13/2015   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 718   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven & Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos
Release Date: 02/26/2016   Label: Accentus  
Catalog: 20345   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: String Trios, Piano Trios, Quintet, Sextets & Octet / L'Archibudelli
Release Date: 06/10/2016   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 796262   Number of Discs: 5
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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4, Symphonies Nos. 3 & 7 / Backhaus, Knappertsbusch
Release Date: 06/10/2016   Label: Orfeo  
Catalog: 901162   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Für Elise

Browse 1-25 of 216 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Purple Classics Presents: Timeless Piano Favorites
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578324-25 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Maurice Ravel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Balázs Szokolay,  Jenö Jandó,  François-Joël Thiollier,  Idil Biret
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  • 2.
    Discover Beethoven
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300691 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mari Kodama,  Dieter Zechlin,  Günter Kootz,  Karl Suske  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt,  Kent Nagano,  Franz Konwitschny,  Heinz Bongartz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Discover Piano Classics
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300719 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Erik Satie,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Friedrich Gulda,  Andrej Hoteev,  Jeroen van Veen,  Matthias Kirschnereit  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Classical Wonderland: Classical Music for Children
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875117112 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Lang Lang,  Irene Timacheff-Gabetta,  Sol Gabetta,  Igor Levit  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Kohn
    CD: $11.99
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  • 5.
    Label: Compass Productions   Catalog: 52954 Release Date: 02/05/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  George Frideric Handel,  Erik Satie,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    CD: $13.99
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  • 6.
    100 Best Film Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 553645 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Alfred Newman,  Richard Strauss,  John T. Williams,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  Ernest Blanc,  Augustin Dumay,  Gary Hoffman  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Bateman,  Rudolf Kempe,  Geoff Love,  Mariss Jansons  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Jean-Marie Leclair,  The Hungarian Quartet,  Il Giardino Armonico  ... 
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  • 7.
    Rhapsody in Blue / Mailley-Smith
    Label: Sleeveless   Catalog: 1010 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Louis Moreau Gottschalk,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Warren Mailley-Smith
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  • 8.
    James Brawn: In Recital, Vol. 2
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1502 Release Date: 11/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  James Brawn
    On sale! $28.98
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  • 9.
    Piano Music for Children
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95101 Release Date: 10/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Klára Würtz
    Conductor:  Dirk Vermeulen
    CD: $8.99
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  • 10.
    Schumann Edition
    Label: Iba [idil Biret Archives]   Catalog: 8508016 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Claude Debussy,  Spoken Word  ... 
    Performer:  Idil Biret
    Conductor:  Antoni Wit
    CD: $39.99
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  • 11.
    Liebestraum: Romantic Piano Music
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94989 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Misha Goldstein
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  • 12.
    Beethoven:   Piano Pieces / Tobias Koch
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 8553321 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Tobias Koch
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  • 13.
    100 Classical Masterworks
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002188102 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Edvard Grieg,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Lorin Maazel,  Neeme Järvi,  Herbert von Karajan,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Neeme Järvi,  Herbert von Karajan,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theater Violin Ensemble,  Ansbach Bach Week Soloists Union,  Salzburg Mozarteum Camerata Academica  ... 
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  • 14.
    Beethoven: Easy Pianoworks, Vol. 1
    Label: Tuxedo Music   Catalog: 1043 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jörg Demus
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  • 15.
    Prelude To A Winter Morning
    Label: Imperial Classics   Catalog: 81312 Release Date: 10/21/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Hugo Steurer
    Conductor:  Alberto Lizzio,  Alfred Scholz,  Henry Adolph,  Oliver Dohnányi  ... 
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  • 16.
    Beethoven: Rage Over a Lost Penny - Solo Piano Pieces / Brautigam
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1892 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ronald Brautigam
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  • 17.
    Piano / Myung-whun Chung
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 002054102 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Myung-Whun Chung
    CD: $21.99
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  • 18.
    Pure Classical 1
    Label: Water Music Records   Catalog: 434 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Johann Pachelbel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Nick White,  Hans Lima
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Adagio Quartet,  Trio Adagio,  Quartet Paris  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 19.
    Friedrich Wilhelm Schnurr Plays For Otjikondo
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 14296 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Friedrich Wilhelm Schnurr
    CD: $18.99
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  • 20.
    Music For Pleasure [wienerworld]
    Label: Wienerworld   Catalog: 1367 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Dieter Goldmann,  Abbey Simon,  Vladimir Horowitz,  Michael Conn  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Macci,  Alberto Lizzio,  Leopold Stokowski,  Anton Nanut  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hyacinthe Eléonore Klosé
    CD: $14.99
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  • 21.
    Beethoven: Sonatas / Bruce Hungerford
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5638221848 Release Date: 12/06/2013  
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Bruce Hungerford
    CD: $24.99
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  • 22.
    Classical Music For Dogs
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001916602 Release Date: 11/25/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Pachelbel,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Andras Schiff,  Wilhelm Kempff,  Marisa Robles  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  Karl Münchinger,  Sir Georg Solti,  David Zinman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
    CD: $7.99
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  • 23.
    Piano Dreams
    Label: Bella Musica   Catalog: 312449 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Yuko Yamashiro
    CD: $18.99
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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    Christmas Time Is Here / Canadian Brass
    Label: Steinway & Sons   Catalog: 30027 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vince Guaraldi,  Traditional,  Christopher Coletti,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Charles Daellenbach,  Caleb Hudson,  Chris Coletti,  Eric Reed  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canadian Brass
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