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Ludwig van Beethoven

December 16, 1770 - March 26, 1827
born in Bonn, Germany, composed during the Romantic period
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 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. ~ Rovi Staff, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: A Beethoven Piano Weekend

Title: Piano Sonata No. 14 In C Sharp Minor ("Moonlight"), Op. 27/2
Title: Piano Sonata No. 23 In F Minor ("Appassionata"), Op. 57
Title: Ecossaises (6) For Piano, WoO 83 (spurious)
Title: Rondo A Capriccio For Piano In G Major ("Rage Over A Lost Penny"), Op. 129
Title: Rondo For Piano In C Major, WoO 48
Title: Rondo For Piano In G Major, Op. 51/2
Title: Bagatelle For Piano In A Minor ("Für Elise"), Woo 59
Title: Andante For Piano In F Major ("Andante Favori") Woo 57
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Track List: Beethoven - Symphonies 1-9 · Overtures / London Classical Players · Sir Roger Norrington

Disc 1
Title: Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21
Title: Symphony No. 3 In E Flat Major ("Eroica"), Op. 55
Title: Die Geschöpfe Des Prometheus (The Creatures Of Prometheus), Ballet, Op. 43
Disc 2
Title: Symphony No. 2 In D Major, Op. 36
Title: Symphony No. 8 In F Major, Op. 93
Title: Coriolan Overture, Op. 62
Title: Egmont, Incidental Music, Op. 84
Disc 3
Title: Symphony No. 4 In B Flat Major, Op. 60
Title: Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92
Disc 4
Title: Symphony No. 5 In C Minor ("Fate"), Op. 67
Title: Symphony No. 6 In F Major ("Pastoral"), Op. 68
Disc 5
Title: Symphony No. 9 In D Minor ("Choral"), Op. 125
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Track List: Beethoven : Complete Piano Sonatas - Nos.30, 31 & 32

Disc 1
Title: Piano Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 10/1
Title: Piano Sonata No. 6 in F major, Op. 10/2
Title: Piano Sonata No. 7 in D major, Op. 10/3
Disc 2
Title: Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major ("Pastoral"), Op. 28
Title: Piano Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49/1
Title: Piano Sonata No. 20 in G major, Op. 49/2
Title: Piano Sonata No. 26 in E flat major ("Les Adieux"), Op. 81a
Disc 3
Title: Piano Sonata No. 30 In E Major, Op. 109
Title: Piano Sonata No. 31 In A Flat Major, Op. 110
Title: Piano Sonata No. 32 In C Minor, Op. 111
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Track List: Beethoven Lieder

Title: Songs (8) For Voice & Piano, Op. 52
Title: Songs (6) For Voice & Piano, Op. 75
Title: Songs (3) (Goethe) For Voice & Piano, Op. 83
Title: Songs (6) For Voice & Piano, Op. 48
Title: Adelaide, Song For Voice & Piano, Op. 46
Title: Andenken, Song For Voice & Piano, Woo 136
Title: Songs (6) For Voice & Piano, Op. 75
Title: Lied Aus Der Ferne ("Als Mir Noch Die Träne"), For Voice & Piano, Woo 137
Title: Sehnsucht ("Die Stille Nacht Undunkelt"), Song For Voice & Piano, Woo 146
Title: Der Wachtelschlag, Song For Voice & Piano ("Ach, Mir Schallt's Dorten"), Woo 129
Title: An Die Hoffnung (II), Song For Voice & Piano, Op. 94
Title: Der Kuss (The Kiss), Arietta For Voice & Piano, Op. 128
Title: Songs (8) For Voice & Piano, Op. 52
Title: Abendlied Unterm Gestirnten Himmel, Song For Voice & Piano, Woo 150
Title: Resignation ("Lisch Aus, Mein Licht"), Song For Voice & Piano, Woo 149
Title: Zärtliche Liebe, Song For Voice & Piano, Woo 123
Title: In Questa Tomba Oscura, Arietta For Voice And Piano (Or Orchestra), Woo 133
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Track List: Beethoven for All - Music of Power, Passion & Beauty

Disc 1
Title: Symphony No. 5 In C Minor ("Fate"), Op. 67
Title: Symphony No. 3 In E Flat Major ("Eroica"), Op. 55
Title: Piano Concerto No. 5 In E Flat Major ("Emperor"), Op. 73
Title: Piano Concerto No. 1 In C Major, Op. 15
Title: Piano Sonata No. 23 In F Minor ("Appassionata"), Op. 57
Title: Symphony No. 6 In F Major ("Pastoral"), Op. 68
Title: Piano Concerto No. 3 In C Minor, Op. 37
Title: Piano Concerto No. 4 In G Major, Op. 58
Disc 2
Title: Piano Sonata No. 14 In C Sharp Minor ("Moonlight"), Op. 27/2
Title: Symphony No. 8 In F Major, Op. 93
Title: Piano Sonata No. 8 In C Minor ("Pathétique"), Op. 13
Title: Symphony No. 6 In F Major ("Pastoral"), Op. 68
Title: Piano Concerto No. 3 In C Minor, Op. 37
Title: Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92
Title: Symphony No. 9 In D Minor ("Choral"), Op. 125
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Track List: Beethoven: Bagatelles

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Track List: Beethoven: Bagatelles & Dances, Vol. 3

Title: Rondo A Capriccio For Piano In G Major ("Rage Over A Lost Penny"), Op. 129
Title: Andante For Piano In F Major ("Andante Favori") Woo 57
Title: German Dances (2) In F Major & F Minor, For Piano, Hess 67
Title: Rondo For Piano In C Major, Op. 51/1
Title: Rondo For Piano In G Major, Op. 51/2
Title: Rondo For Piano In A Major, WoO 49
Title: Minuets (12) For Orchestra, Woo 7
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Track List: Beethoven: Bagatelles Op.33, Op.119, Op.126

Title: Bagatelles (7) For Piano, Op. 33
Title: Bagatelles (11) For Piano, Op. 119
Title: Bagatelles (6) For Piano, Op. 126
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Track List: Beethoven: Cello And Piano Complete

Disc 1
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano In E Flat Major (Arr. Of String Trio, Op. 3), Op. 64
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In G Major On Handel's "See, The Conqu'ring Hero Comes," Woo 45
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 1 In F Major, Op. 5/1
Disc 2
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 2 In G Minor, Op. 5/2
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In F Major On Mozart's "Ein Mädchen Oder Weibchen," Op. 66
Title: Sonata For Horn & Piano In F Major, Op. 17
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In E Flat Major On Mozart's "Bei Männern," Woo 46
Disc 3
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 3 In A Major, Op. 69
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 4 In C Major, Op. 102/1
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 5 In D Major, Op. 102/2
Disc 4
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 3 In A Major, Op. 69
Title: Sonata For Violin & Piano No. 9 In A Major ("Kreutzer"), Op. 47
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Track List: Beethoven: Cello Sonata No. 3, Op. 69; Cello Sonata, Op. 64

Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In F Major On Mozart's "Ein Mädchen Oder Weibchen," Op. 66
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano In E Flat Major (Arr. Of String Trio, Op. 3), Op. 64
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 3 In A Major, Op. 69
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Track List: Beethoven: Cello Sonatas Op. 69 & 102; Variations

Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 3 In A Major, Op. 69
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 4 In C Major, Op. 102/1
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 5 In D Major, Op. 102/2
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In G Major On Handel's "See, The Conqu'ring Hero Comes," Woo 45
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Track List: Beethoven: Cellosonaten, Op. 5; Variations

Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In F Major On Mozart's "Ein Mädchen Oder Weibchen," Op. 66
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 1 In F Major, Op. 5/1
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 2 In G Minor, Op. 5/2
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In E Flat Major On Mozart's "Bei Männern," Woo 46
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Track List: Beethoven: Chamber Music

Disc 1
Title: Piano Quartet No. 1 In E Flat Major, Woo 36/1
Title: Piano Quartet No. 2 In D Major, Woo 36/2
Title: Piano Quartet No. 3 In C Major, Woo 36/3
Disc 2
Title: Trio For Piano, Flute & Bassoon In G Major, WoO 37
Title: Sonata For Horn & Piano In F Major, Op. 17
Title: Sextet For 2 Horns & String Quartet In E Flat Major, Op. 81b
Disc 3
Title: Quintet For Piano, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn & Bassoon In E Flat Major, Op. 16
Title: Serenade For Flute, Violin & Viola In D Major, Op. 25
Title: Sonatina For Mandolin & Piano In C Minor, WoO 43/1
Title: Adagio For Piano & Mandolin In E Flat Major, Woo 43/2
Title: Sonatina For Mandolin & Piano In C Major, WoO 44/1
Title: Andante And Variations For Mandolin & Piano In D Major, Woo 44/2
Disc 4
Title: Trio for clarinet (or violin), cello & piano No. 4 in B flat major ("Gassenhauer"), Op. 11
Title: Septet For Strings & Woodwinds In E Flat Major, Op. 20
Title: Fugue For String Quintet In D Major, Op. 137
Disc 5
Title: String Quintet In C Major ("Storm"), Op. 29
Title: Prelude And Fugue For 2 Violins & Cello In E Minor, Hess 29
Title: Minuets (6) For 2 Violins & Double Bass, WoO 9
Title: Duo For Viola & Cello In E Flat Major ("With Two Eyeglasses Obbligato"), WoO 32
Title: Ländler (6) For 2 Violins & Double Bass, WoO 15
Title: Duet For 2 Violins In A Major, WoO 34
Title: Canon In 2 Parts In A Major, WoO 35
Disc 6
Title: National Airs (6) With Variations For Flute/violin & Piano, Op. 105
Title: National Airs (10) With Variations For Flute/violin & Piano, Op. 107
Title: Duo For 2 Flutes (or Flute & Violin) In G Major, WoO 26
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Track List: Beethoven: Complete Music for Piano and Violoncello

Disc 1
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 1 In F Major, Op. 5/1
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In G Major On Handel's "See, The Conqu'ring Hero Comes," Woo 45
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 2 In G Minor, Op. 5/2
Title: Sonata For Horn & Piano In F Major, Op. 17
Disc 2
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In F Major On Mozart's "Ein Mädchen Oder Weibchen," Op. 66
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 3 In A Major, Op. 69
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In E Flat Major On Mozart's "Bei Männern," Woo 46
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 4 In C Major, Op. 102/1
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 5 In D Major, Op. 102/2
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Track List: Beethoven: Complete Sonatas for Piano & Cello

Disc 1
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 1 In F Major, Op. 5/1
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 2 In G Minor, Op. 5/2
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 4 In C Major, Op. 102/1
Disc 2
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 3 In A Major, Op. 69
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 5 In D Major, Op. 102/2
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In E Flat Major On Mozart's "Bei Männern," Woo 46
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In F Major On Mozart's "Ein Mädchen Oder Weibchen," Op. 66
x

Track List: Beethoven: Complete String Trios

Disc 1
Title: Trio For Violin, Viola & Cello In E Flat Major, Op. 3
Title: Serenade For Violin, Viola & Cello In D Major, Op. 8
Disc 2
Title: Trio For Violin, Viola & Cello In G Major, Op. 9/1
Title: Trio For Violin, Viola & Cello In D Major, Op. 9/2
Title: Trio For Violin, Viola & Cello In C Minor, Op. 9/3
x

Track List: Beethoven: Complete Works for Piano & Cello

Disc 1
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 2 In G Minor, Op. 5/2
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 4 In C Major, Op. 102/1
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 3 In A Major, Op. 69
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In F Major On Mozart's "Ein Mädchen Oder Weibchen," Op. 66
Disc 2
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In G Major On Handel's "See, The Conqu'ring Hero Comes," Woo 45
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 5 In D Major, Op. 102/2
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 1 In F Major, Op. 5/1
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In E Flat Major On Mozart's "Bei Männern," Woo 46
x

Track List: Beethoven: Dance

Title: Gratulations-Menuet For Orchestra In E Flat Major, WoO 3
Title: Contredanses (12) For Orchestra, Woo14
Title: Minuets (12) For Orchestra, Woo 7
Title: Musik Zu Einem Ritterballet (Music For A Ballet Of Knights), WoO 1
Title: German Dances (12) For Orchestra, Woo 8
Title: Triumphal March In C For "Tarpeja," For Orchestra, WoO 2a
x

Track List: Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

Title: 33 Variations On A Waltz By Diabelli Op. 120
x

Track List: Beethoven: Diabelli-Variationen

Disc 1
Title: Piano Sonata No. 32 In C Minor, Op. 111
Title: Variations (33) On A Waltz By Diabelli, For Piano In C Major ("Diabelli Variations"), Op. 120
Disc 2
Title: Bagatelles (6) For Piano, Op. 126
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Track List: Beethoven: Egmont Overture; Violin Concerto; Brahms: Violin Sonata In D Minor

x

Track List: Beethoven: Fidelio

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Track List: Beethoven: Fidelio / Halasz

Disc 1
Disc 2