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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: Complete String Quartets / Tokyo SQ
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 807641   Number of Discs: 8
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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No 1-3, 5-10, 12-18, 23, 30-33 / Glenn Gould
Release Date: 10/30/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 541286   Number of Discs: 6
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Beethoven: Complete Works for Cello & Piano / Queyras, Melnikov
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902183   Number of Discs: 2
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Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Bruggen
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002161102   Number of Discs: 7
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Beethoven: Piano Trios Op 70 No 2,
Release Date: 02/11/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902125   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67: 1st movement, Allegro con brio

Browse 1-25 of 113 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Classic Karajan: The Essential Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002092702 Release Date: 07/15/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Gustav Mahler,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  José Carreras,  Ingrid Steger,  Lilo Brockhaus  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 2.
    The Spirit Of Turtle [hybrid Sacd & Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Turtle Records   Catalog: 75538 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dave Burrell,  Marc Van Roon,  George Gershwin,  Rob Van Bavel  ... 
    Performer:  Maarten Ornstein,  Arno Piters,  Michael Gees,  Christoph Prégardien  ... 
    Conductor:  Mario Venzago,  Jaap Van Zweden,  Jan W. de Vriend
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marc van Roon Trio,  Ensemble Kontraste
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  • 3.
    Music For Your Star Sign: Sagittarius
    Label: United Multimedia   Catalog: 67082 Release Date: 11/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  César Franck,  Paul Hindemith,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Bruno Zwicker,  Dieter Goldmann,  Helena Spitlova
    Conductor:  Alberto Lizzio,  Hans Swarowsky,  Anton Nanut
    CD: $6.99
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  • 4.
    Discover... Beethoven
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001912702 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Arthur Grumiaux,  Henryk Szeryng,  Ingrid Haebler  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Alceo Galliera,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
    CD: $8.99
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  • 5.
    Bruno Walter - The Edition
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548952 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 39
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Hendl,  John Corigliano Sr.,  Leonard Rose,  Martha Lipton  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Occidental College Consort,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 6.
    L'Excellence Se Fete - A Celebration of Excellence
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 297257 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  André Mathieu,  Antonín Dvorák,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Alain Lefèvre,  Marie-Nicole Lemieux,  Louise-Andrée Baril,  Valerie Milot  ... 
    Conductor:  Yoav Talmi,  Bruno Weil,  Jeanne Lamon,  Jean-Philippe Tremblay  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alcan String Quartet,  Tafelmusik,  La Pieta  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 7.
    50 Best London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333092 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Michel Béroff,  Jeanne Loriod,  Simon Preston,  Gervase de Peyer  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 8.
    Discoveries / Gustavo Dudamel
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001709702 Release Date: 09/25/2012  
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Anton Bruckner,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustavo Dudamel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela,  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $13.99
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  • 9.
    Discoveries / Gustavo Dudamel [CD + DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001725300 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Anton Bruckner,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustavo Dudamel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela,  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 10.
    The Best Classical Hits Ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 04103 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Sergei Prokofiev,  George Frideric Handel,  Gregorio Allegri  ... 
    Performer:  Gerald Finley,  Matthias Eisenberg,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Stephen Layton  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Riccardo Muti,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Classical Players
    CD: $8.99
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  • 11.
    Beethoven For Dummies
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 21229 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    CD: $12.99
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  • 12.
    Beethoven For All - Music Of Power, Passion & Beauty / Barenboim, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001687102 Release Date: 06/19/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Anja Harteros,  Waltraud Meier,  Peter Seiffert,  René Pape  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Vocal Ensemble,  West-Eastern Divan Orchestra,  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
    CD: $13.99
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  • 13.
    Best Of Beethoven
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300339 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Theo Adam,  Marga Schiml,  Peter Schreier,  Helena Doese  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Konwitschny,  Herbert Blomstedt,  Heinrich Schiff,  Günther Herbig  ... 
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  • 14.
    Israel Philharmonic Orchestra  75th Anniversay - Great Moments
    Label: Helicon   Catalog: 29649 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Rudolf Buchbinder,  Alicia De Larrocha  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Herbert Blomstedt,  Gary Bertini,  Kurt Masur  ... 
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  • 15.
    Masterworks
    Label: Inner Knot   Catalog: 677787 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Samuel Barber,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Tony Levin,  California Guitar Trio,  Fareed Haque
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California Guitar Trio
    CD: $15.99
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  • 16.
    The Very Best Of Herbert Von Karajan
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6789922 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Antonín Dvorák,  Jean Sibelius,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Gidon Kremer,  James Galway  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    CD: $17.99
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  • 17.
    My First Beethoven Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578206 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jénö Jandó,  Takako Nishizaki,  Stefan Vladar,  Gyorgy Eder  ... 
    Conductor:  Béla Drahos,  Ondrej Lenárd,  Barry Wordsworth,  Kenneth Jean  ... 
    On sale! $9.99
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  • 18.
    My First Classical Music Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578203 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Antonio Vivaldi,  John Adams,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki,  Dong-Suk Kang,  Pascal Devoyon,  Jürgen Schuster  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Marin Alsop,  Mats Rondin  ... 
    On sale! $9.99
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  • 19.
    The Most Essential Classical Music In Movies
    Label: X5   Catalog: 111 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Claude Debussy,  Carl Orff,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Henrik Mawe,  Jose Perez,  Klemens Schnorr
    Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner,  David Parry,  Heribert Beissel,  Hanspeter Gmür
    CD: $9.99
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  • 20.
    Composers Gold
    Label: United Multimedia   Catalog: 53071 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt  ... 
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  • 21.
    50 Greatest Pieces Of Classical Music / London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 105 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Pieter Schoeman,  Finghin Collins,  Craig Ogden
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $24.99
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  • 22.
    Rise Of The Masters: 100 Supreme Classical Masterpieces
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 107 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Schubert,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Jakob Lindberg,  Yoshikazu Mera,  Finghin Collins,  Dubravka Tomsic  ... 
    Conductor:  Nils-Erik Sparf,  Shigeo Genda,  Bohdan Warchal,  Masaaki Suzuki  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble,  Bach Collegium Japan,  Arion Trio  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 23.
    The 50 Darkest Pieces Of Classical Music
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 108 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Edvard Grieg,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Ponti,  Finghin Collins,  Roland Pöntinen,  Emmy Berhey  ... 
    Conductor:  Volke Schmidt-Gertenbach,  Heribert Beissel,  David Parry,  James DePreist  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moyzes String Quartet,  Camerata Antonio Lucio,  Capella Istropolitana  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 24.
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 956599 Release Date: 08/02/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Anlauf,  Aldo Baldin,  Krisztina Láki,  Christof Roos  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Swarowsky,  Frieder Bernius,  Tullio Serafin,  John Landor  ... 
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  • 25.
    The Classical Album 2011
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001566202 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Franz Liszt,  Jules Massenet,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli,  Lang Lang,  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Anna Netrebko  ... 
    Conductor:  Adám Fischer,  James Levine,  Claudio Abbado,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  International Chamber Soloists
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