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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 finally over coming 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 ...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 finally over coming 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 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 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. « 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

4.6
8 Votes
Grosse Fuge, Op.133
1825

4.8
3 Votes
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125
1824

4.7
330 Votes
Missa solemnis, Op.123
1823

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

4.6
5 Votes
Piano Sonata No.31, Op.110
1821

4.1
4 Votes
Piano Sonata No.30, Op.109
1820

4.3
5 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 29, Op. 106
1818

4.7
3 Votes
Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
1814

4.1
37 Votes
Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
1813

4.5
79 Votes
Wellington's Victory, Op. 91
1813

4.5
2 Votes
Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor (Für Elise)
1810

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

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

4.4
66 Votes
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
1808

4.5
163 Votes
Piano Concerto No.4 in G major, Op.58
1808

4.7
3 Votes
Symphony No. 4 in B♭ minor, Op. 60
1807

3.9
25 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 23, Op. 57
1807

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

4.8
6 Votes
Symphony No. 3 in E♭ major, Op. 55
1805

4.4
54 Votes
Violin Romance No. 2 in F major, Op. 50
1805

4
3 Votes
"Waldstein" Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53
1804

4.3
10 Votes
Piano Sonatas Nos. 19-20, Op. 49
1804

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

4.2
5 Votes
"Kreutzer Sonata" Violin Sonata No. 9, Op. 47
1803

4.6
4 Votes
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36
1803

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

4.3
2 Votes
Piano Sonata Nos. 16-18, Op. 31
1802

4.7
3 Votes
"Moonlight" Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor, Op. 27, No. 2
1801

4.5
160 Votes
Piano Concerto No.2 in B♭ major, Op.19
1801

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

4.3
4 Votes
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
1800

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

4.4
4 Votes
Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15
1798

4.2
9 Votes
"Pathétique" Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13
1798

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

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

4.3
4 Votes
Cello Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2, Op. 5
1796

4.3
3 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3
1795

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

3.6
15 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1
1795

3.7
16 Votes
Compilations
Very Best of Beethoven
2005

Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7
1995

5
3 Votes
The Late String Quartets (Alban Berg Quartett)
1993

4.6
5 Votes
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 / Coriolan Overture
1992

4.3
3 Votes
The Late Sonatas
1989

4
2 Votes
Complete Piano Sonatas
1858

4.5
4 Votes
Late String Quartets
1826

5
9 Votes
Symphonies [Various]
1814

4.6
36 Votes

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