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
Rudolf Serkin Plays Beethoven
Release Date: 11/06/2012   Label: Sony (Nax615)  
Catalog: 988302   Number of Discs: 11
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The Beethoven Journey - Piano Concerto No. 5
Release Date: 09/16/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 305886   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: Piano Concerto No 5 / Freire, Chailly
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002153402   Number of Discs: 1
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Pinchas Zukerman Plays Beethoven - The Violin Sonatas
Release Date: 08/26/2014   Label: Rca  
Catalog: 440142   Number of Discs: 4
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Work: Für Elise

Browse 26-50 of 290 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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
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  • 27.
    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
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  • 28.
    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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  • 29.
    The Best Classical Piano Ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 04748 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Gabriel Fauré,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  John Ogdon,  André Watts,  Aldo Ciccolini,  Cécile Ousset  ... 
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
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  • 30.
    The Greatest Classical Music Ever!: 50 Best Relaxing Classical
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 04104 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Frédéric Chopin,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Han-Na Chang,  John Ogdon,  Hans Kalafusz,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Leonard Slatkin,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wiener Streichsextett
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  • 31.
    The Best Of The Most Relaxing Classical Music In The World
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17866 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Claude Debussy,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Erik Satie  ... 
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  • 32.
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001701502 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Liszt,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Anatol Ugorski,  Aloys Kontarsky,  Alfons Kontarsky  ... 
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  • 33.
    Valentina Lisitsa - Live At The Royal Albert Hall
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001709102 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Valentina Lisitsa
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  • 34.
    Best Of Beethoven
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300339 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Theo Adam,  Marga Schiml,  Peter Schreier,  Helena Doese  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Konwitschny,  Herbert Blomstedt,  Heinrich Schiff,  Günther Herbig  ... 
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  • 35.
    Beethoven: Bagatelles / Steven Osborne
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67879 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Steven Osborne
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  • 36.
    Classical Moods
    Label: Signature   Catalog: 2319 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Edvard Grieg,  Erik Satie  ... 
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  • 37.
    Wilhelm Kempff - Solo Piano Recordings [35-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001648902 Release Date: 03/20/2012   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Christoph W. Gluck,  George Frideric Handel,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
    CD: $129.99
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  • 38.
    Icon - Alexis Weissenberg: The Champagne Pianist
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6790862 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Herbert von Karajan,  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
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  • 39.
    Classical Baby
    Label: Harp Music To Go   Catalog: 5019 Release Date: 11/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Henry Purcell,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Merry Miller  ... 
    Performer:  Merry Miller
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  • 40.
    Classics For Everyone
    Label: New Day   Catalog: 22997 Release Date: 11/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Johann Pachelbel,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Jean Larson Garver,  Eugene Osadchy,  Merry Miller,  Gary Levinson
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  • 41.
    My First Beethoven Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578206 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jénö Jandó,  Takako Nishizaki,  Stefan Vladar,  Gyorgy Eder  ... 
    Conductor:  Béla Drahos,  Ondrej Lenárd,  Barry Wordsworth,  Kenneth Jean  ... 
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  • 42.
    My First Piano Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578207 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Franz Schubert,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Balazs Szkolay,  Zsuzsa Kollár,  Jénö Jandó,  Idil Biret  ... 
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  • 43.
    50 Greatest Pieces Of Classical Music / London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 105 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Pieter Schoeman,  Finghin Collins,  Craig Ogden
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $24.99
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  • 44.
    Rise Of The Masters: 100 Supreme Classical Masterpieces
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 107 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Schubert,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Jakob Lindberg,  Yoshikazu Mera,  Finghin Collins,  Dubravka Tomsic  ... 
    Conductor:  Nils-Erik Sparf,  Shigeo Genda,  Bohdan Warchal,  Masaaki Suzuki  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble,  Bach Collegium Japan,  Arion Trio  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 45.
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 110 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Claude Debussy,  Jules Massenet,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Finghin Collins,  Andrea Kauten,  Sergio Tiempo,  Dubravka Tomsic  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Chamber Duo,  Saarland Radio Holzblaser-Trio
    CD: $9.99
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  • 46.
    Smooth Dinner Classics: Beautiful Music For Two
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 10123 Release Date: 10/21/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann,  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Sylvia Cápová,  Christiane Jaccottet,  Marian Pivka,  Dubravka Tomsic  ... 
    Conductor:  Leone Magiera,  Eugen Duvier,  Vladimir Petroschoff,  Libor Pesek  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 47.
    Classics At The Movies
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4764553 Release Date: 08/16/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Giacomo Puccini,  Tomaso Albinoni,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Isador Goodman,  Yvonne Kenny,  Jane Sheldon,  Lauris Elms  ... 
    Conductor:  Patrick Thomas,  Wlodzimierz Kamirski,  William Motzing,  David Measham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cantillation,  Tasmanian Symphony Chamber Players
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  • 48.
    Piano Dreams / Avis Romm
    Label: Opening Day   Catalog: 7411 Release Date: 08/16/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Avis Romm
    CD: $17.98
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  • 49.
    Beethoven: The Complete Bagatelles / Ronald Brautigam
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1882 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ronald Brautigam
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  • 50.
    Best Piano Music
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82166 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
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