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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 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 ...read more

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. « hide

Similar Bands: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, Luigi Cherubini, Muzio Clementi, Joseph Haydn

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

4.1
8 Votes
String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132
1825

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

4.7
8 Votes
String Quartet No. 14 in C♯ minor, Op. 131
1825

4.5
16 Votes
Bagatelles, Op. 126
1825

4.2
3 Votes
Große Fuge, Op. 133
1825

4.7
15 Votes
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125
1824

4.6
428 Votes
String Quartet No. 12 in E flat major
1824

4.2
5 Votes
Variations on a waltz by Anton Diabelli, Op. 120
1823

4.7
3 Votes
Missa solemnis, Op. 123
1823

4.4
9 Votes
Bagatelles, Op. 119
1823

3.8
2 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111
1822

4.4
14 Votes
The Consecration of the House (overture) Op. 124
1822

3.5
1 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 31 in A♭ major, Op. 110
1821

4
11 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109
1820

4
13 Votes
"Hammerklavier" Piano Sonata No. 29 in B♭ major, Op. 106
1818

4.5
13 Votes
Fugue for String Quintet in D major, Op. 137
1817

2.5
1 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101
1816

3.8
8 Votes
Cello Sonata No. 5 in D major, Op. 102/2
1815

4.5
3 Votes
Cello Sonata No. 4 in C major, Op. 102/1
1815

3.8
3 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 27 in E minor, Op. 90
1815

4.2
10 Votes
Fidelio, Op. 72
1814

3.5
4 Votes
Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
1814

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

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

2.7
6 Votes
Mass in C Major, Op. 86
1812

3.3
2 Votes
Piano Trio, Op. 97
1811

4.2
3 Votes
"Serioso" String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 95
1810

4.2
5 Votes
Egmont, Op. 84
1810

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

4
36 Votes
"Les Adieux" Piano Sonata No. 26 in E♭ major, Op. 81a
1810

3.9
5 Votes
Variations on the "Turkish March" Op. 76
1809

2
2 Votes
Fantasia in G minor, Op. 77
1809

3.3
2 Votes
String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major
1809

4.1
4 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 25 in G major, Op. 79
1809

3.4
4 Votes
Piano Concerto No. 5, Op. 73 "Emperor"
1809

4.4
38 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 24 in F♯ major, Op. 78
1809

3.8
5 Votes
Piano Trios, Op. 70
1809

4
2 Votes
"Pastoral" Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68
1808

4.4
87 Votes
Choral Fantasy, Op. 80
1808

4
3 Votes
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
1808

4.6
200 Votes
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
1808

4.3
8 Votes
Cello Sonata No. 3 in A Major, Op. 69
1808

3.8
3 Votes
Symphony No. 4 in B♭ minor, Op. 60
1807

3.9
38 Votes
"Appassionata" Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57
1807

4.5
26 Votes
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
1806

4.7
10 Votes
String Quartet No. 8 in E minor
1806

4.1
5 Votes
String Quartet No. 9 in C major
1806

4.1
5 Votes
32 Variations in C Minor, WoO 80
1806

3.8
2 Votes
String Quartet No. 7 in F major
1806

4.1
5 Votes
Symphony No. 3 in E♭ “Eroica” Op. 55
1805

4.4
77 Votes
Sonata No. 20, Op. 49 in G Major
1805

3
1 Votes
Violin Romance No. 2 in F major, Op. 50
1805

3.3
4 Votes
Sonata No. 19, Op. 49 in G minor
1805

2.5
1 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 22 in F major, Op. 54
1804

3.8
6 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53
1804

4.2
17 Votes
Triple Concerto in C Major, Op. 56
1804

3.7
3 Votes
Christus am Ölberge, Op. 85
1804

3.5
3 Votes
Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 37
1803

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

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

3.6
45 Votes
Bagatelles, Op. 33
1803

3.8
2 Votes
Violin Romance No. 1 in G major, Op. 40
1803

3.3
3 Votes
Piano Sonata No.18 in Eb "The Hunt"
1802

3.8
2 Votes
Opus 30: Three Violin Sonatas
1802

3.8
2 Votes
Eroica Variations Op. 35
1802

3.3
2 Votes
Sonata No.17 in d-minor "The Tempest", Op. 31-No.2
1802

4
1 Votes
6 Variations on an Original Theme in F, Op.34
1802

4
2 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 16 in G Major, Op. 31-No.1
1802

3.8
2 Votes
"Pastorale" Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28
1801

3.8
6 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# minor, Op. 27
1801

4.6
201 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 13 in E♭ major, Op. 27, No. 1
1801

3.9
8 Votes
Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major ("Spring") Op. 24
1801

4.3
2 Votes
The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43
1801

3.5
2 Votes
Violin Sonata No. 4 in A minor, Op. 23
1801

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

4
5 Votes
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B♭ major, Op. 19
1801

3.4
7 Votes
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
1800

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

3.9
4 Votes
String Quartet No. 5 in A major, Op. 18, No. 5
1800

3.5
3 Votes
String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18, No. 4
1800

3.6
4 Votes
String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 18, No. 3
1800

3.5
4 Votes
String Quartet No. 2 in G major, Op. 18, No. 2
1800

3.3
4 Votes
String Quartet No. 1 in F major, Op. 18, No. 1
1800

3.9
4 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 11 in B♭ major, Op. 22
1800

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

3.5
3 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 9 in E major, Op. 14, No. 1
1799

3.8
8 Votes
Septet in E-flat major, Op. 20
1799

3.5
2 Votes
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15
1798

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

4.4
70 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 7 in D major, Op. 10, No. 3
1798

3.8
5 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 6 in F major, Op. 10, No. 2
1798

3.2
3 Votes
Rage Over a Lost Penny in G Major, Op. 129
1798

3.5
1 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 10, No. 1
1798

3.6
22 Votes
Violin Sonata No. 1 in D major, Op. 12, No. 1
1798

3.3
2 Votes
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 12, 2.
1798

3
2 Votes
Violin Sonata No. 3 in E♭ major, Op.12, 3
1798

3.3
2 Votes
Three String Trios, Op. 9
1798

3.8
2 Votes
Sonata for Piano, Four Hands in D major Op. 6
1797

3
2 Votes
String Trio No. 2 (Serenade) in D major, Op. 8
1797

2.8
2 Votes
Piano Trio, Op. 11
1797

2.5
2 Votes
"Grand" Piano Sonata No. 4 in E♭ major, Op. 7
1797

3.7
8 Votes
WoO 43/44: Sonatina for mandolin and harpsichord
1796

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

3.5
5 Votes
Quintet for Piano and Winds, Op. 16
1796

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

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

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

3.5
23 Votes
String Trio No. 1 in E♭ major Op. 3
1794

3
2 Votes
WoO 88: Cantata - Accession of Emperor Leopold II
1790

3
2 Votes
Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II, WoO 87
1790

3.3
2 Votes
WoO 36: Three piano quartets
1785

3.3
2 Votes
Three Early Piano Sonatas, WoO 47, "Kurfürstensona
1783

3
2 Votes
Nine Variations on a March by Dressler, WoO 63
1782

3
2 Votes
EPs
Unfinished Symphony No. 10 (Beethoven/Cooper)
1988

2.5
1 Votes
Compilations
Piano Trios, Op. 1 Florestan Trio
2011

3.3
2 Votes
Very Best of Beethoven
2005

3.8
3 Votes
The Late Sonatas
1989

4
2 Votes
Jando: Piano Sonatas Nos. 19/20, Op. 49
1988

3.4
8 Votes
Herbert von Karajan: The Nine Symphonies
1963

5
1 Votes
Klaviersonaten Pathétique; Mondschein-Sonate
1961

5
1 Votes
Complete Piano Sonatas
1858

4.5
4 Votes
Symphonies [Various]
1814

4.6
35 Votes
Piano Sonata Nos. 16-18, Op. 31
1802

4.1
6 Votes

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