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: 6 Sonatas, Fur Elise & Emperor Concerto / Schnabel
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Musical Concepts  
Catalog: 3201   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Fidelio (Highlights) / Harnoncourt
Release Date: 09/17/2002   Label: Apex  
Catalog: 41374   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Fidelio / Karajan, Ludwig, Janowitz, Vickers, Berry
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Myto Records  
Catalog: 334   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Mödlinger Tänze / Gaigg, L'orfeo Barockorchester
Release Date: 07/25/2006   Label: Cpo  
Catalog: 777117   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Fidelio / Harnoncourt, Seiffert, Bonney, Margiono, COE
Release Date: 05/04/2009   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 4691254   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Emperor Concerto

Browse 1-25 of 258 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Julius Katchen: The Complete Decca Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002543002 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 36
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Julius Katchen,  Thea King
    On sale! $111.98
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  • 2.
    Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002559502 Release Date: 09/23/2016   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
    CD: $61.49
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  • 3.
    Beethoven: 6 Sonatas, Fur Elise & Emperor Concerto / Schnabel
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 3201 Release Date: 09/09/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Artur Schnabel
    Conductor:  Frederick Stock
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  • 4.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos / Kempff
    Label: Apr Recordings   Catalog: 6019 Release Date: 08/10/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
    Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen,  Peter Raabe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra,  Deutsche Opera Orchestra Berlin  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 5.
    Eugene Istomin: The Concerto & Solo Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875026172 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Eugene Istomin
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  • 6.
    The Art of Murray Perahia
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 518339 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Murray Perahia,  Radu Lupu
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Bernard Haitink,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Europakonzert: 25 DVD Anniversary Box (1991-2015) / Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 26098 Release Date: 04/29/2016  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Leonidas Kavakos,  Mikhail Pletnev,  Violeta Urmana,  Elke Wilm Schulte  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Pierre Boulez,  Gustavo Dudamel,  Claudio Abbado  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Choir,  Eric Ericson Chamber Choir
    On sale! $118.99
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  • 8.
    Pollini & Abbado: The Complete Deutsche Grammophon Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002462202 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann,  Arnold Schoenberg  ... 
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini,  Andreas Esders,  Gabriele Lechner,  Gretchen Eder  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 9.
    The Complete Piano Concertos Of Ludwig Van Beethoven
    Label: Hungaroton   Catalog: 32757 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Dénes Várjon
    Conductor:  András Keller
    CD: $48.99
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  • 10.
    Alfred Brendel: Complete Philips Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434302 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 114
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel,  Imogen Cooper,  Sylvia McNair,  Eduard Brunner  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Bernard Haitink,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $308.99
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  • 11.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 12.
    Radu Lupu: Complete Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002402202 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Radu Lupu,  Vincent Zarzo,  Han de Vries,  George Pieterson  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Lawrence Foster,  Uri Segal,  Edo De Waart  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 13.
    Glenn Gould Remastered: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503222 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 81
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Elizabeth Benson-Guy,  Donald Gramm,  Charles Bressler  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Walter Susskind,  Vladimir Golschmann,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  CBC Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Symphonia String Quartet  ... 
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  • 14.
    Beethoven: The Five Piano Concertos
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552123 Release Date: 09/18/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    CD: $23.99
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  • 15.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 'emperor'; Choral Fantasy
    Label: Simax   Catalog: 1285 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Boris Berezovsky
    Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Stephen Kovacevich: The Complete Philips Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002369302 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Béla Bartók,  Igor Stravinsky,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich,  Jack Brymer,  Patrick Ireland,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Sir Alexander Gibson,  John Lanchbery
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Octet members  ... 
    CD: $98.99
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  • 17.
    Beethoven / Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002347002 Release Date: 07/31/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Violeta Urmana,  Thomas Moser,  Thomas Quasthoff,  Karita Mattila  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Chorus,  Eric Ericson Chamber Choir  ... 
    On sale! $54.98
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  • 18.
    Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra - The Complete Sony Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875030622 Release Date: 06/16/2015   Number of Discs: 47
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wilhelm Friedemann Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Heinrich Ignaz Biber  ... 
    Performer:  Jeanne Lamon,  Stephen Marvin,  Christina Mahler,  Ivars Taurins  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon,  Bruno Weil,  Frieder Bernius
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik,  Stuttgart Chamber Choir,  Tölz Boys Choir  ... 
    CD: $70.99
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  • 19.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos, Vol. 1 - Piano Concertos Nos. 4 & 5
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72672 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Hannes Minnaar
    Conductor:  Jan Willem de Vriend
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Symphony Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $18.99
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  • 20.
    George Enescu Conducts Nypso: Mozart, Schumann, Beethoven
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2112 Release Date: 05/05/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Spoken Word,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ion Nonna Otescu,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin
    Conductor:  George Enescu
    On sale! $23.98
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  • 21.
    David Zinman Conducts Beethoven
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88843077922 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Detlef Roth,  Birgit Remmert,  Ruth Ziesak,  Steve Davislim  ... 
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra,  Swiss Chamber Chorus
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  • 22.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos 3 & 5 / Eschenbach, Henze, Ozawa
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186201 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Conductor:  Hans Werner Henze,  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $15.99
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  • 23.
    Decca Sound  – Mono Years 1944 -1956
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002280602 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Clifford Curzon,  Alfredo Campoli,  Henry Datyner  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Roger Desormičre,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
    CD: $213.99
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350074 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Edwin Fischer
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    SuperAudio CD: $23.99
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  • 25.
    Beethoven: The Piano Concertos; Triple Concerto / Kodama, Nagano
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300597 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mari Kodama,  Kolja Blacher,  Johannes Moser
    Conductor:  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
    CD: $39.99
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