Ludwig van Beethoven


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: Symphonies 5 & 7 / Honeck, Pittsburgh
Release Date: 11/13/2015   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 718   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven & Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos
Release Date: 02/26/2016   Label: Accentus  
Catalog: 20345   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven: String Trios, Piano Trios, Quintet, Sextets & Octet / L'Archibudelli
Release Date: 06/10/2016   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 796262   Number of Discs: 5
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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4, Symphonies Nos. 3 & 7 / Backhaus, Knappertsbusch
Release Date: 06/10/2016   Label: Orfeo  
Catalog: 901162   Number of Discs: 2
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Songs By Schubert, Beethoven, Britten & Hahn / Polenzani, Drake
Release Date: 10/24/2011   Label: Wigmore Hall Live  
Catalog: 48   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Sonata for Piano no 17 in D minor, Op. 31 no 2 "Tempest"

Browse 1-25 of 158 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Beethoven, Grieg, Liszt & Preiss: Piano Works / Preiss
    Label: Tyxart   Catalog: 16071 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Edvard Grieg,  Franz Liszt,  Christoph Preiss
    Performer:  Christoph Preiss
    CD: $18.99
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  • 2.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503227 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Roy Harris,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Jussi Björling,  Frederick Schauwecker,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Serge Koussevitzky,  Bruno Walter,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
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  • 3.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Jumppanen
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1290 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Paavali Jumppanen
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  • 4.
    Philips Classics: The Stereo Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002445602 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Elly Ameling,  Dalton Baldwin,  Jörg Demus  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Bernard Haitink,  Raymond Leppard,  Eduard Van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $134.49
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  • 5.
    Dino Ciani, Vol. 2
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 80446 Release Date: 02/05/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Dino Ciani
    Conductor:  Aldo Ceccato
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    Emil Gilels - The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002436502 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Edvard Grieg,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Norbert Brainin,  Peter Schidlof,  Martin Lovett  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum,  Karl Böhm,  Dmitri Kabalevsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet members,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 8.
    Sviatoslav Richter: 100th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002270 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Franz Liszt,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Nina Dorliac,  Oleg Kagan,  David Oistrakh  ... 
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Yuri Nikolaevsky,  Yevgeny Svetlanov,  Rudolf Barshai
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre String Quartet,  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  Moscow Conservatory Chamber Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $636.99
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    Complete Beethoven Sonatas, Vol 1 / Buchbinder
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 734108 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
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  • 11.
    The Florilegium Series - Classical & Early Romantic
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 002386502 Release Date: 10/15/2015   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Luigi Boccherini,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Domenico Cimarosa  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Hacker,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Emma Kirkby,  Michael George  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  Simon Preston,  Alan Hacker,  Arnold Östman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  The Music Party,  Oxford New College Choir  ... 
    CD: $148.49
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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  ... 
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  • 14.
    Live Recordings From The University Of Illinois, 1949
    Label: Apr (Appian)   Catalog: 7306 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Schubert,  Spoken Word,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Myra Hess
    Conductor:  John Kuypers,  Victor Kolar
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  • 15.
    Nobuyuki Tsujii [3-DVD Set]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2061268 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  John Musto,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Nobuyuki Tsujii,  Yuri Vorobiev,  Olga Sergeyeva
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra
    DVD: $44.49
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  • 16.
    Joseph Summer's Shakespeare Concerts Series - Full Fathom Five
    Label: Navona   Catalog: 5996 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Summer,  Michael Tippett,  Charles Ives,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Neal [Tenor Vocal] Ferreira,  Victor Cayres,  Emily [Mezzo-Soprano Vocal] Jaworski,  Justin Vickers  ... 
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  • 17.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Maurizio Pollini
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002235002 Release Date: 02/24/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
    CD: $39.99
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  • 18.
    Beethoven: The 32 Piano Sonatas / Daniel-ben Pienaar
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2320 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel-Ben Pienaar
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  • 19.
    Walter Gieseking Plays All Piano Sonatas By Beethoven, Vol. 2, No. 16-32 (Less No. 22)
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9124 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking
    CD: $14.99
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  • 20.
    Beethoven: Sonatas Op 31 & 49 / Maurizio Pollini
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002235102 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
    CD: $13.99
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  • 21.
    Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Daniel Barenboim [5-DVD Set]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2066427 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    DVD: $54.49
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  • 22.
    Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas / Ronald Brautigam
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2000 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ronald Brautigam
    SuperAudio CD: $87.49
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  • 23.
    The Complete Parlophone, Ducretet-thomson & Discophiles Francais Recordings, 1933-1958
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 624223 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 31
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Lili Kraus,  Francois Etienne,  Pierre Pasquier,  Etienne Pasquier  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter Susskind,  Willi Boskovsky,  Walter Goehr
    CD: $84.49
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas / Mari Kodama
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 186490 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mari Kodama
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  • 25.
    A Beethoven Odyssey, Vol. 3 / James Brawn
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1467 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  James Brawn
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