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 Concertos 1 & 5 / Roll, Shelley, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 04/12/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28850   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 4, Triple Concerto
Release Date: 08/09/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28700   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Pathetique, Tempest & Moonlight Sonatas / Cristina Ortiz
Release Date: 03/08/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28170   Number of Discs: 1
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The Beethoven Journey: Piano Concertos No 2 & 4 / Andsnes
Release Date: 03/11/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 370548   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Archduke Trio, Ghost Trio / Carney, O'Hora, Greensmith
Release Date: 02/14/2012   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 29100   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 19

Browse 1-25 of 196 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos / Perahia, Marriner, ASMF [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 3085294 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Murray Perahia
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 2.
    Glenn Gould Plays Beethoven
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7685272 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann,  Leonard Bernstein,  Leopold Stokowski
    CD: $22.99
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  • 3.
    William Kapell - Complete Recordings 1944-1953
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 5431362 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  William Kapell,  Jascha Heifetz,  William Primrose,  Edmund Kurtz
    Conductor:  William Steinberg,  Fritz Reiner,  Serge Koussevitzky,  Antal Doráti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robin Hood Dell Orchestra of Philadelphia,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Dallas Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    The Beethoven Journey: Piano Concertos No 2 & 4 / Andsnes
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 370548 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Europakonzert 2000 / Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2050504 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mikhail Pletnev,  Karita Mattila,  Violeta Urmana,  Thomas Moser  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Vienna 1789 - Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven / Knauer, Norrington
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300551 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Sebastian Knauer
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    CD: $18.99
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: The Piano Concertos / Rudolf Buchbinder, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 374521 Release Date: 01/07/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    Conductor:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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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.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos / Glemser, Weil
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 6011226 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Bernd Glemser
    Conductor:  Bruno Weil
    CD: $39.99
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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  ... 
    CD: $58.99
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  • 12.
    Leon Fleisher - The Complete Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 545997 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  César Franck,  Frederick Delius  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Jules Eskin,  Benita Valente,  Harold Wright  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Seiji Ozawa,  Leon Fleisher,  Szymon Goldberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Juilliard String Quartet,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 13.
    The Complete Beethoven: Symphonies; Concertos; Overtures [12-CD Set]
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501204 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Stefan Vladar,  Claire Rutter,  Matilde Wallevik,  Marta Fontanals-Simmons  ... 
    Conductor:  Béla Drahos,  Barry Wordsworth,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Kenneth Jean
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  • 14.
    Wilhelm Kempff - The Concerto Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001822502 Release Date: 04/16/2013   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
    Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner,  Paul Van Kempen,  Bernhard Klee,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 15.
    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  ... 
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  • 16.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Concerto
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2012076 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
    Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen
    CD: $22.49
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 33272 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir
    CD: $24.99
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  • 19.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 2 & 3 / Osorio, Fuente, Mexico City Po
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1289 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jorge Federico Osorio
    Conductor:  Herrera De la Fuente
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Concerto Collection / Maurizio Pollini [8-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001792602 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm,  Claudio Abbado,  Maurizio Pollini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 21.
    Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms: Concertos / Klemperer [6-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 43482 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Liszt,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Civil,  Annie Fischer,  Daniel Barenboim,  Yehudi Menuhin  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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  • 22.
    Beethoven For All / Daniel Barenboim [Deluxe Edition - 19 CDs and 1 DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001699900 Release Date: 12/04/2012   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
    CD: $167.99
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  • 23.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos 2 & 4 / Jacoby, Kaspszyk, Sinfonia Varsovia
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5086 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ingrid Jacoby
    Conductor:  Jacek Kaspszyk
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    Murray Perahia - The First 40 Years
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 191256 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 73
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Murray Perahia,  Michael Cox,  Leonore Smith,  Kenneth Sillito  ... 
    Conductor:  Murray Perahia,  Bernard Haitink,  Zubin Mehta,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Amadeus String Quartet members  ... 
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  • 25.
    Rudolf Serkin Plays Beethoven
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 1988302 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin,  Leslie Parnas,  Jaime Laredo,  David Evitts  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Leonard Bernstein,  Alexander Schneider,  Peter Serkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Westminster Choir  ... 
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