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: Diabelli Variations / Stewart Goodyear
Release Date: 09/02/2014   Label: Marquis  
Catalog: 81455   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Symphony No 6, Egmont Overture / Ermler, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 02/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28010   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Piano Concertos 2 & 3 / Roll, Shelley, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 05/10/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28860   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Emperor Concerto

Browse 1-25 of 321 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 / Nelson Freire, Riccardo Chailly, Gewandhausorchester
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002153402 Release Date: 09/30/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Nelson Freire
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 2.
    The Beethoven Journey - Piano Concerto No. 5
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 305886 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Beethoven: Complete Fortepiano Concertos / Schoonderwoerd, Ensemble Cristofori
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 820 Release Date: 07/29/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Arthur Schoonderwoerd
    Conductor:  Arthur Schoonderwoerd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Cristofori
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  • 4.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos / Ingrid Jacoby
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5126 Release Date: 06/24/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ingrid Jacoby
    Conductor:  Jacek Kaspszyk
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
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  • 5.
    Karajan And His Soloists, Vol. 2 (1969-1984)
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633624 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Jules Massenet,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris
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  • 6.
    Giulini In Vienna [15-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002037702 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli,  Andreas Schmidt,  Barbara Bonney,  Lazar Berman  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
    CD: $83.49
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  • 7.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 2
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 300350 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Byron Janis,  Gary Graffman,  Vladimir Horowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Krips,  Fritz Reiner,  Pierre Monteux,  Charles Munch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony of the Air,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    Alfred Brendel: 3 Classic Albums
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002044602 Release Date: 05/06/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel,  James Van Demark
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Cleveland String Quartet members
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  • 9.
    Beethoven: Emperor Concerto; Schumann: Fantasy / Yundi
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002010302 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Yundi Li
    Conductor:  Daniel Harding
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Leonard Bernstein Collection Vol 1 [59 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 2027800 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Leonard Bernstein,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Kurt Moll,  Hanna Schwarz  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 11.
    Beethoven: The Piano Concertos, Diabelli Variations, Bagatelles, 8 Sonatas / Kovacevich
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002028102 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 12.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 1
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 541497 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Jacques Ibert,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Berj Zamkochian,  John Weicher,  Philip Farkas,  Jascha Heifetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Fritz Reiner,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  New England Conservatory Alumni Chorus  ... 
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  • 13.
    Karajan And His Soloists, Vol. 1 (1948-1958)
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633625 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Dinu Lipatti,  Walter Gieseking,  Dennis Brain,  Bernard Walton  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Lucerne Festival Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 14.
    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
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 15.
    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
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  • 16.
    George Walker: Composer and Performer
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1478 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Walker,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Gregory Walker,  George Walker
    Conductor:  Edwin London
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Smith Amherst Orchestra
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    Label: Lp Classics   Catalog: 5638183614 Release Date: 01/01/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Vera Gornostaeva
    Conductor:  Vladimir Fedoseyev,  Saulius Sondeckis
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  • 19.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 3, 4 & 5 / Pizarro, Mackerras, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 336 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Artur Pizarro
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    Berlin Philharmonic - Centenary Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001923302 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Walter Berry,  Gundula Janowitz,  Hilde Rössl-Majdan  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Nikisch,  Alfred Hertz,  Richard Strauss,  Bruno Walter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Swedish Radio Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 23.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos No. 5; Piano Sonata No.  32
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350098 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
    Conductor:  Václáv Smetácek
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  • 24.
    From Vienna With Love - Piano Concertos By Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Hummel
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300535 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Nepomuk Hummel  ... 
    Performer:  Jolanda Violante,  Alessandro Commellato,  Klára Würtz,  Shoko Sugitani
    Conductor:  Federico Guglielmo,  Dirk Vermeulen,  Didier Talpain,  Gérard Oskamp
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prima La Musica,  L'Arte dell'Arco,  Berlin Symphony Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 25.
    Geza Anda Plays Beethoven - Historical Recordings 1956/60
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 94223 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Géza Anda
    Conductor:  Hans Rosbaud
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Camerata Academica,  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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