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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 around December 16, 1770, he receivedhisearly training from his father and other local musicians. As a teenager, he earned some money as an assistant to his teacher,ChristianGottlob Neefe, then was granted half of his father's salary as court musician from the Electorate of Cologne in order to care for histwoyounger 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 around December 16, 1770, he receivedhisearly training from his father and other local musicians. As a teenager, he earned some money as an assistant to his teacher,ChristianGottlob Neefe, then was granted half of his father's salary as court musician from the Electorate of Cologne in order to care for histwoyounger brothers as his father gave in to alcoholism.Beethoven played viola in various orchestras, becoming friends with other playerssuchas Antoine Reicha, Nikolaus Simrock,and Franz Ries, and began taking on composition commissions. As a member of the courtchapelorchestra, he was able to travel some and meet members of the nobility, one of whom, Count Ferdinand Waldstein, would become agreatfriend and patron to him.Beethoven moved to Vienna in 1792 to study with Haydn; despite the prickliness of their relationship,Haydn'sconcise humor helped form Beethoven's style. His subsequent teachers in composition were Johann Georg Albrechtsberger andAntonioSalieri.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 intensified hisantisocialtendencies. However, the Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," of 1803 began a sustained period of groundbreaking creative triumph. Inlateryears,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 triumphedonceagain over his troubles. Beethoven's late works, especially the last five of his 16 string quartets and the last four of his 32 pianosonatas,have anecstatic quality in which many have found amystical significance. Beethoven died in Vienna on March 26, 1827.Beethoven'sepochalcareer is often divided into early,middle, and late periods, represented, respectively, by works based on Classic. period models,byrevolutionary pieces that expanded the vocabulary of music, and by compositions written in a unique, highly personal musicallanguageincorporating elements of contrapuntal and variation writing while approaching large-scale forms with complete freedom. Thoughcertainlysubject to debate, these divisions point to the immense depth and multifariousness of Beethoven's creative personality. Beethovenprofoundlytransformed every genre he touched, and the music of the nineteenth century seems to grow from his compositions as if from achrysalis. Aformidable pianist, he moved the piano sonata from the drawing room to the concert hall with such ambitious and virtuosicmiddle-periodworks as the "Waldstein" (No. 21) and "Appassionata"(No. 23)sonatas. His song cycle An die ferne Geliebte of 1816 set thepattern for similarcycles by all the Romantic song composers, from Schubert to Wolf. The Romantic tradition of descriptive or"program"music began withBeethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6. Even in the second half of the nineteenth century, Beethoven still directly inspiredbothconservatives (such as Brahms,who, like Beethoven, fundamentally stayed within the confines of Classical form) and radicals (suchasWagner, who viewed the Ninth Symphony as a harbinger of his own vision of a total art work, integrating vocal and instrumental musicwiththe other arts). In many ways revolutionary, Beethoven's music remains universally appealing because of its characteristic humanismanddramatic power. « hide


LPs
String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135
1826

4
1 Votes
String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132
1825

4.8
3 Votes
String Quartet No. 13 in B♭ major, Op. 130
1825

4.8
3 Votes
String Quartet No. 14 in C♯ minor, Op. 131
1825

4.6
10 Votes
Große Fuge, Op. 133
1825

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

4.7
372 Votes
Missa solemnis, Op. 123
1823

4.5
4 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111
1822

4.1
8 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 31 in A♭ major, Op. 110
1821

3.9
7 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109
1820

3.8
8 Votes
"Hammerklavier" Piano Sonata No. 29 in B♭ major, Op. 106
1818

4.2
6 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101
1816

3.4
4 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 27 in E minor, Op. 90
1815

3.7
3 Votes
Fidelio, Op. 72
1814

Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
1814

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

4.4
90 Votes
Wellington's Victory, Op. 91
1813

4
1 Votes
Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor (Für Elise)
1810

4.1
29 Votes
"Les Adieux" Piano Sonata No. 26 in E♭ major, Op. 81a
1810

3.5
1 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 24 in F♯ major, Op. 78
1809

3
1 Votes
Piano Concerto No. 5, Op. 73
1809

4.4
33 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 25 in G major, Op. 79
1809

3
1 Votes
"Pastoral" Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68
1808

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

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

4.1
4 Votes
Symphony No. 4 in B♭ minor, Op. 60
1807

3.8
30 Votes
"Appassionata" Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57
1807

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

4.6
6 Votes
Symphony No. 3 in E♭ major, Op. 55
1805

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

3.5
2 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 22 in F major, Op. 54
1804

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

4.2
14 Votes
Christus am Ölberge, Op. 85
1804

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

3.3
5 Votes
Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 37
1803

4
5 Votes
"Kreutzer Sonata" Violin Sonata No. 9, Op. 47
1803

4.5
3 Votes
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36
1803

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

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

4.2
3 Votes
"Pastorale" Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28
1801

3.5
2 Votes
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B♭ major, Op. 19
1801

3.6
4 Votes
"Moonlight" Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor, Op. 27, No. 2
1801

4.5
183 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 13 in E♭ major, Op. 27, No. 1
1801

3.8
4 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 12 in A♭ major, Op. 26
1801

3.5
1 Votes
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
1800

3.7
49 Votes
String Quartet No. 6 in B♭ major, Op. 18, No. 6
1800

String Quartet No. 5 in A major, Op. 18, No. 5
1800

String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18, No. 4
1800

String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 18, No. 3
1800

String Quartet No. 2 in G major, Op. 18, No. 2
1800

String Quartet No. 1 in F major, Op. 18, No. 1
1800

Piano Sonata No. 11 in B♭ major, Op. 22
1800

3.3
2 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 14, No. 2
1799

Piano Sonata No. 9 in E major, Op. 14, No. 1
1799

3.8
5 Votes
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15
1798

4
10 Votes
"Pathétique" Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13
1798

4.3
60 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 7 in D major, Op. 10, No. 3
1798

Piano Sonata No. 6 in F major, Op. 10, No. 2
1798

3
1 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 10, No. 1
1798

3.7
19 Votes
"Grand" Piano Sonata No. 4 in E♭ major, Op. 7
1797

3.6
5 Votes
Cello Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2, Op. 5
1796

4
2 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3
1795

3.9
15 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 2, No. 2
1795

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

3.6
17 Votes
Compilations
Very Best of Beethoven
2005

4
1 Votes
The Late Sonatas
1989

4
2 Votes
Complete Piano Sonatas
1858

4.5
5 Votes
Symphonies [Various]
1814

4.6
35 Votes

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