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: Rage Over a Lost Penny - Solo Piano Pieces / Brautigam
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1892   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: Violin Concerto / Mutter, Karajan, Berlin Po
Release Date: 01/08/2008   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001038902   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1, Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 / Shure, Bernstein, New York Philharmonic
Release Date: 07/09/2013   Label: Doremi Records  
Catalog: 8017   Number of Discs: 3
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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 3; Mozart: Piano Concerto No 24 / Sudbin, Vanska
Release Date: 02/25/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1978   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: The Late Piano Sonatas / Igor Levit
Release Date: 11/05/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 370387   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Concerto for Piano no 1 in C major, Op. 15

Browse 1-25 of 221 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    Martha Argerich & Friends - Live from Lugano 2013
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 631220 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Ottorino Respighi,  Franz Liszt,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Mischa Maisky,  Renaud Capuçon,  Francesco Piemontesi  ... 
    Conductor:  Hubert Soudant
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 1; Mozart: Piano Concerto No 12 / Leon Fleisher
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5121 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  André Cluytens,  Georg Ludwig Jochum
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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Franck, Liszt, Schumann,Tschaikowskij, Bartok
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2013018 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Clara Haskil
    Conductor:  Alceo Galliera,  Eduard Van Beinum,  Otto Ackermann
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  • 13.
    Richter Archives, Vol. 22
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 8022 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling,  Rudolf Barshai
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    Great Pianists - Legendary Recordings from Arrau, Cherkassky, Cziffra, Gilels, Katchen
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5114 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Claudio Arrau,  Julius Katchen,  György Cziffra  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Christoph von Dohnányi,  Otto Klemperer,  Rudolf Kempe  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos 1 & 3 / Jacoby, Kaspszyk, Sinfonia Varsovia
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5107 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ingrid Jacoby
    Conductor:  Jacek Kaspszyk
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $74.98
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  • 24.
    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  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 25.
    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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