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Ludwig van Beethoven

The events of Beethoven's life are the stuff of Romantic legend, evoking images of the solitary creator shaking his fist at Fateand finallyovercoming it through a supreme effort of creative will. Born in the small German city of Bonn on or aroundDecember 16, 1770, he receivedhis early training from his father and other local musicians. As a teenager, he earned somemoney as an assistant to his teacher, ChristianGottlob Neefe, then was granted half of his father's salary as court musicianfrom the Electorate of Cologne in order to care for his twoyounger brothers as his father gave in to alco ...read more

The events of Beethoven's life are the stuff of Romantic legend, evoking images of the solitary creator shaking his fist at Fateand finallyovercoming it through a supreme effort of creative will. Born in the small German city of Bonn on or aroundDecember 16, 1770, he receivedhis early training from his father and other local musicians. As a teenager, he earned somemoney as an assistant to his teacher, ChristianGottlob Neefe, then was granted half of his father's salary as court musicianfrom the Electorate of Cologne in order to care for his twoyounger brothers as his father gave in to alcoholism. Beethovenplayed viola in various orchestras, becoming friends with other players suchas Antoine Reicha, Nikolaus Simrock, and FranzRies, and began taking on composition commissions. As a member of the court chapelorchestra, he was able to travel someand meet members of the nobility, one of whom, Count Ferdinand Waldstein, would become a greatfriend and patron to him.Beethoven moved to Vienna in 1792 to study with Haydn; despite the prickliness of their relationship, Haydn'sconcise humorhelped form Beethoven's style. His subsequent teachers in composition were Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and AntonioSalieri.In 1794, he began his career in earnest as a pianist and composer, taking advantage whenever he could of the patronage ofothers.Around 1800, Beethoven began to notice his gradually encroaching deafness. His growing despondency only intensifiedhis antisocialtendencies. However, the Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," of 1803 began a sustained period of groundbreakingcreative triumph. In later years,Beethoven was plagued by personal difficulties, including a series of failed romances and anasty custody battle over a nephew, Karl. Yetafter a long period of comparative compositional inactivity lasting from about1811 to 1817, his creative imagination triumphed once againover his troubles. Beethoven's late works, especially the last fiveof his 16 string quartets and the last four of his 32 piano sonatas, have anecstatic quality in which many have found amystical 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 thatexpanded the vocabulary of music, and by compositions written in a unique, highly personalmusical language incorporatingelements of contrapuntal and variation writing while approaching large-scale forms with complete freedom.Though certainlysubject to debate, these divisions point to the immense depth and multifariousness of Beethoven's creativepersonality.Beethoven profoundly transformed every genre he touched, and the music of the nineteenth century seems togrow from his compositions asif from a chrysalis. A formidable pianist, he moved the piano sonata from the drawing room tothe concert hall with such ambitious andvirtuosic middle-period works as the "Waldstein" (No. 21) and "Appassionata" (No. 23)sonatas. His song cycle An die ferne Geliebte of1816 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" SymphonyNo. 6. Even in the second half of the nineteenth century, Beethoven stilldirectly inspired both conservatives (such as Brahms,who, like Beethoven, fundamentally stayed within the confines of Classical form) andradicals (such as Wagner, who viewedthe Ninth Symphony as a harbinger of his own vision of a total art work, integrating vocal andinstrumental music with theother arts). In many ways revolutionary, Beethoven's music remains universally appealing because of itscharacteristichumanism and dramatic power. « hide

Similar Bands: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ferdinand Ries, Franz Schubert, Gioachino Rossini

LPs
String Quartet No.14 in C sharp minor, Op.131
1826

4.5
2 Votes
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125
1824

4.7
286 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111
1822

4.5
2 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 29, Op. 106
1818

4
1 Votes
Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
1814

3.9
31 Votes
Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
1813

4.4
65 Votes
Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor (Für Elise)
1810

4
18 Votes
Piano Concerto No. 5, Op. 73
1809

4.4
23 Votes
Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68
1808

4.3
56 Votes
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
1808

4.4
139 Votes
Symphony No. 4 in B♭ minor, Op. 60
1807

3.8
22 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 23, Op. 57
1807

4.3
7 Votes
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
1806

4
1 Votes
Symphony No. 3 in E♭ major, Op. 55
1805

4.3
54 Votes
Violin Romance No. 2 in F major, Op. 50
1805

3.5
1 Votes
"Waldstein" Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53
1804

4
4 Votes
Piano Sonatas Nos. 19-20, Op. 49
1804

3.7
5 Votes
Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 37
1803

3
1 Votes
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36
1803

3.5
30 Votes
Violin Romance No. 1 in G major, Op. 40
1803

3.5
1 Votes
Piano Sonata Nos. 16-18, Op. 31
1802

4.5
2 Votes
"Moonlight" Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor, Op. 27, No. 2
1801

4.5
123 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 13 in E♭ major, Op. 27, No. 1
1800

4
1 Votes
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
1800

3.7
41 Votes
Piano Sonata Nos. 9-10, Op. 14
1799

4.2
3 Votes
Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15
1798

3.9
6 Votes
"Pathétique" Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13
1798

4.3
39 Votes
Piano Sonatas Nos. 5-7, Op. 10
1798

3.8
16 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 4 in E♭ major, Op. 7 (Grand Sonata)
1797

3.5
1 Votes
Cello Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2, Op. 5
1796

3.5
1 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3
1795

4
13 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 2, No. 2
1795

3.5
13 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1
1795

3.5
12 Votes
Compilations
Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7
1995

4.8
2 Votes
The Late String Quartets (Alban Berg Quartett)
1993

4
1 Votes
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 / Coriolan Overture
1992

4
2 Votes
The Late Sonatas
1989

4
2 Votes
Complete Piano Sonatas
1858

4
2 Votes
Late String Quartets
1826

5
7 Votes
Symphonies [Various]
1814

4.7
35 Votes

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