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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: Creatures of Prometheus / Mackerras, Scottish CO
Release Date: 05/10/2005   Label: Helios  
Catalog: 55196   Number of Discs: 1
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Helene Grimaud Piano Recital - Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Rachimaninov
Release Date: 10/29/2013   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4891   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Op. 22, Op. 31 No. 3, Op. 101 / Angela Hewitt
Release Date: 12/10/2013   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 67974   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Complete Works for Cello & Piano / Steven Isserlis, Robert Levin
Release Date: 01/14/2014   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 67981   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Trio; Brahms: Trio; Weber: Grand Duo
Release Date: 11/11/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 807618   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Für Elise

Browse 1-25 of 266 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    Piano / Myung-whun Chung
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 002054102 Release Date: 05/19/2014  
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Myung-Whun Chung
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  • 3.
    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  ... 
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  • 4.
    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
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  • 5.
    Beethoven: Sonatas / Bruce Hungerford
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5638221848 Release Date: 12/06/2013  
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Bruce Hungerford
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  • 6.
    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,  András Schiff,  Wilhelm Kempff,  Marisa Robles  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  Karl Münchinger,  Sir G. Solti,  David Zinman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
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  • 7.
    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
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    Discover... Beethoven
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001912702 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Arthur Grumiaux,  Henryk Szeryng,  Ingrid Haebler  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Alceo Galliera,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 11.
    The Most Relaxing Classics For Work In The Universe
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 17953 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johann Pachelbel,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
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  • 12.
    Piano Rhapsody / Roland Pontinen
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 9044 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Roland Pöntinen
    Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $44.49
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  • 13.
    Top 50 Favourite Classical Chillout Tunes
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94659 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Antonín Dvorák,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Klára Würtz,  Sara Crombach,  Wladislav Warenberg,  Alexander Goldenweiser  ... 
    Conductor:  Dirk Vermeulen,  Paavo Järvi,  Roy Goodman,  Gil Sharon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prima La Musica,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Hanover Band  ... 
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    Label: Reflections   Catalog: 60301 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Michael Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
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  • 16.
    Label: Reflections Music   Catalog: 41068 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Tomaso Albinoni,  Georges Bizet,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
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  • 17.
    Label: Reflections   Catalog: 52483 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Johann Pachelbel,  Claude Debussy,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Laura Silberberg
    CD: $13.99
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  • 18.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 55983 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Claude Debussy,  Tomaso Albinoni,  Erik Satie  ... 
    Performer:  Klára Körmendi,  Péter Nagy,  Judy Loman,  Nora Shulman  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Edlinger,  Christian Pollack,  Marin Alsop,  Jerzy Maksymiuk  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Aradia Ensemble,  Concentus Hungaricus
    CD: $18.99
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  • 19.
    Label: Mood Media Entertainment   Catalog: 56931 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Claude Debussy,  Tomaso Albinoni,  Erik Satie  ... 
    Performer:  Klára Körmendi,  Péter Nagy,  Judy Loman,  Nora Shulman  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Edlinger,  Christian Pollack,  Marin Alsop,  Jerzy Maksymiuk  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Aradia Ensemble,  Concentus Hungaricus
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  • 20.
    Label: Avalon Records   Catalog: 52424 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann,  Giacomo Puccini,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Miriam Gauci,  Balazs Szkolay
    Conductor:  Ulf Schirmer
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  • 21.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 51767 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  George Frideric Handel,  Erik Satie  ... 
    CD: $23.99
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  • 22.
    Label: Mood Media Entertainment   Catalog: 60261 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    CD: $23.99
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  • 23.
    Meditation: The Most Beautiful Classical Melodies
    Label: Marquis   Catalog: 81441 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Erik Satie,  Frédéric Chopin,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Susan Hoeppner,  Erica Goodman,  Robert Aitken,  Akira Eguchi  ... 
    Conductor:  Chosei Komatsu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Upper Valley Duo,  Duo Concertante
    CD: $9.99
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  • 24.
    New Bach Rock
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5637989343 Release Date: 10/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Pachelbel,  Edvard Grieg,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Guitar (Electric)] Steve [Bass (Electric) Kovalchek
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Newbach
    CD: $15.99
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  • 25.
    Beethoven: Diabelli Variations / Alfred Brendel
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1194 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel
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