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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: Trio; Brahms: Trio; Weber: Grand Duo
Release Date: 11/11/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 807618   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Sonata for Piano no 8 in C minor, Op. 13 "Pathétique": 2nd movement, Adagio cantabile

Browse 1-25 of 125 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Classical Music For Dogs
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001916602 Release Date: 11/25/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Pachelbel,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  András Schiff,  Wilhelm Kempff,  Marisa Robles  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  Karl Münchinger,  Sir G. Solti,  David Zinman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
    CD: $8.99
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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    Label: Somerset Group   Catalog: 61637 Release Date: 09/17/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Frédéric Chopin,  Alexander Borodin,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    CD: $11.49
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  • 4.
    Top 50 Favourite Classical Chillout Tunes
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94659 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Antonín Dvorák,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Klára Würtz,  Sara Crombach,  Wladislav Warenberg,  Alexander Goldenweiser  ... 
    Conductor:  Dirk Vermeulen,  Paavo Järvi,  Roy Goodman,  Gil Sharon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prima La Musica,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Hanover Band  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 5.
    Label: Reflections   Catalog: 60301 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Michael Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    CD: $13.99
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  • 6.
    50 Shades Of Classical
    Label: Cleopatra   Catalog: 159 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Franz Liszt,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Danielle Dechenne,  Henrik Lagendaal,  Nora Ksendzov,  Dubravka Tomsic  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Raucheisen,  Zdenek Chabala,  Ferdinand Lang,  Zoltan Kovats  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Caspar da Salo Quartett
    CD: $12.99
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  • 7.
    The Best Classical Piano Ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 04748 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Gabriel Fauré,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  John Ogdon,  André Watts,  Aldo Ciccolini,  Cécile Ousset  ... 
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
    CD: $8.99
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  • 8.
    The Greatest Classical Music Ever!: 50 Best Relaxing Classical
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 04104 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Frédéric Chopin,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Han-Na Chang,  John Ogdon,  Hans Kalafusz,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Leonard Slatkin,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wiener Streichsextett
    CD: $8.99
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  • 9.
    The Greatest Classical Music Ever!: The Best Classical Music In The Movies Ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 04105 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Stanley Myers,  James Horner,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Manuel Barrueco,  Steve Morse,  James Horner,  David Abel  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Riccardo Muti,  Iain Sutherland,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 10.
    The Best Of The Most Relaxing Classical Music In The World
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17866 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Claude Debussy,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Erik Satie  ... 
    CD: $6.99
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  • 11.
    Piano Encores
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001701502 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Liszt,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Anatol Ugorski,  Aloys Kontarsky,  Alfons Kontarsky  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Classical 2012 / Angela Gheorghiu, David Fray, Alison Balsom, Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6804032 Release Date: 01/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Natalie Dessay,  Alison Balsom  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Antonio Pappano,  Emmanuelle Haďm,  Alison Balsom  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Ensemble,  Les Talens Lyriques,  I Barocchisti  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 15.
    The Decca Sound - Highlights [5-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001620002 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Béla Bartók,  Benjamin Britten,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Renata Tebaldi  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Franco Capuana,  István Kertész,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir  ... 
    On sale! $77.99
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  • 16.
    The Best Of Beethoven: Ode To Joy
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82152 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Moura Lympany,  Walter Gieseking,  Claudio Arrau,  Josef Suk  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Herbert von Karajan,  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London
    CD: $7.99
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  • 17.
    The Beethoven Experience
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 81680 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Daniel Barenboim,  Rudolf Buchbinder,  Thomas Zehetmair  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Daniel Barenboim
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    Dinner Classics
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 9063 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Luigi Boccherini,  Anton Rubinstein,  Edvard Grieg,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Jénö Jandó,  János Bálint,  Deborah Sipkai,  Dénes Várjon  ... 
    Conductor:  Béla Bánfalvi,  Janos Kovács,  Emil Tabakov,  Pavel Urbanek  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Mozart Ensemble
    CD: $50.99
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  • 19.
    Music For Bedtime
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 517 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Frédéric Chopin,  Anonymous,  Roman Hoffstetter  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Vishnik,  Sam Piha,  Martin Souter,  Jon Banks  ... 
    Conductor:  Don Jackson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amber Quartet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 20.
    111 More Classic Tracks [6-CD Set - Limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001483202 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Franz Liszt,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Maurice André,  Stefan Askenase,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Karel Ancerl,  Hans Stadlmair,  John Nelson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 21.
    Label: Northquest   Catalog: 315003 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Antonín Dvorák,  Georges Bizet,  Alexander Borodin  ... 
    CD: $11.49
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  • 22.
    Essential Piano
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27925 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Johannes Brahms,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich,  Daniel Adni,  John Ogdon,  Jean-Philippe Collard  ... 
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  • 23.
    Essential Relaxing Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27930 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Cécile Ousset,  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Hugh Bean  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Alberto Lysy,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Simon Rattle  ... 
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  • 24.
    50 Best Piano
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57540 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Claude Debussy,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Mikhail Pletnev,  André Watts,  Stanislav Bunin,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Wayne Marshall,  Leonard Bernstein,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  David Zinman  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 25.
    50 Best Relaxing Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 57547 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Gabriel Fauré,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Hans Kalafusz,  Stephen Farr,  Han-Na Chang,  Jacqueline Du Pré  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Sir Neville Marriner,  David Hill,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra Wind and Brass Ensemble
    CD: $11.99
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