Ludwig van Beethoven
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1770-12-17
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/1f9df192-a621-4f54-8850-2c5373b7eac9
Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven Biography (BBC)

The popular image of Beethoven as a morose individual who shunned society is only partly true. He did have a serious outlook on life, and in later years he had difficulty mixing with people because of his deafness, which emerged in his late twenties and gradually increased thereafter till his death. Yet he loved company, and had a ready wit. His letters contain many puns, and it was he who introduced the scherzo (literally, ‘joke’) into the symphony when he used one in his Symphony No. 2 instead of the customary minuet.

This Second Symphony already goes well beyond the models of Haydn and Mozart, the two chief influences on his style. Building on their example Beethoven continually strove to stretch the bounds of music to new limits, whether in his seven surviving concertos, 16 string quartets, 35 piano sonatas (including three very early ones) or other works.

Each of his nine symphonies (and an incipient tenth) is completely different from any previous one, and he showed similar originality in every major genre of the time, from his only opera Fidelio and his mighty Missa solemnis to his numerous settings of folk songs, which he treated in an entirely novel way. He achieved his goal through a combination of natural genius and sheer hard work: every one of his major compositions is the result of painstaking refinement, evident in the many thousands of pages of musical sketches that he wrote.

It is not always realised, however, that Beethoven was extraordinary in other ways too. Having no wife or family of his own, he spent enormous energy on helping his nephew, and he was deeply religious. Indeed his goodness and kindness were so evident to his contemporaries that at least three of them independently asserted that he was even greater as a human being than as a musician. Considering that many regard him as the greatest composer in history, such praise is astonishing.

Beethoven also responded strikingly to political upheavals – the French Revolution and the ensuing Napoleonic wars. Although no political activist, he made his hatred of tyranny very plain in works such as Fidelio and his music for Goethe’s play Egmont.

Yet it is the quality of his music that has ensured his lasting reputation. Although its novelty initially puzzled some of his contemporaries, repeated hearings and study have shown that it is based on firm foundations. Its combination of beauty and unpredictability, extreme emotional depth and intellectual rigour, across so many genres, is unsurpassed and probably always will be.

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Ludwig van Beethoven Performances & Interviews


Ludwig van Beethoven Tracks

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Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No.19 in G minor op.49 no.1
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Piano Sonata No.19 in G minor op.49 no.1
Ludwig van Beethoven
Coriolan - overture Op.62
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Coriolan - overture Op.62
Ludwig van Beethoven
Quartet for strings (Op.130) in B flat major
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Quartet for strings (Op.130) in B flat major
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No 2 in B flat major, Op 19 (3rd mvt)
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Piano Concerto No 2 in B flat major, Op 19 (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in E flat major, Op.127: I. Maestoso - Allegro
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String Quartet in E flat major, Op.127: I. Maestoso - Allegro
Ludwig van Beethoven
Bagatelle in C major, Op 119 No 7
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Bagatelle in C major, Op 119 No 7
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No.4 (Allegro ma non troppo)
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Symphony No.4 (Allegro ma non troppo)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto no. 2 in B flat major, Op.19
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Piano Concerto no. 2 in B flat major, Op.19
Ludwig van Beethoven
Cello Sonata No. 4, Op. 102 No. 1 (1st movement)
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Cello Sonata No. 4, Op. 102 No. 1 (1st movement)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No.30 in E Op.109
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Piano Sonata No.30 in E Op.109
Ludwig van Beethoven
12 Variations on 'Ein Madchen oder Weibchen' for cello and piano (Op.66)
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12 Variations on 'Ein Madchen oder Weibchen' for cello and piano (Op.66)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata in F sharp major, Op 78
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Piano Sonata in F sharp major, Op 78
Ludwig van Beethoven
Rondino in E flat (WoO 25)
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Rondino in E flat (WoO 25)
Ludwig van Beethoven
24 Variations in D on Righini's Arietta 'Venni amore', Op.65
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24 Variations in D on Righini's Arietta 'Venni amore', Op.65
Ludwig van Beethoven
Diabelli Variatoins, Op.120: Theme
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Diabelli Variatoins, Op.120: Theme
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata no. 26 in E flat major Op.81a (Les Adieux) for piano - 3rd mvt
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Sonata no. 26 in E flat major Op.81a (Les Adieux) for piano - 3rd mvt
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony no. 3 in E flat major Op.55 Eroica
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Symphony no. 3 in E flat major Op.55 Eroica
Ludwig van Beethoven
Violin Concerto in D major Op.61
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Violin Concerto in D major Op.61
Ludwig van Beethoven
Trinklied, WoO109
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Trinklied, WoO109
Ludwig van Beethoven
Elegie auf den Tod eines Pudels (Elegy on the death of a poodle), WoO110
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Elegie auf den Tod eines Pudels (Elegy on the death of a poodle), WoO110
Ludwig van Beethoven
Violin Concerto in D major, Op 61 (3rd mvt)
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Violin Concerto in D major, Op 61 (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata no. 18 in E flat major Op.31`3 for piano
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Sonata no. 18 in E flat major Op.31`3 for piano
Ludwig van Beethoven
Concerto no. 5 in E flat major Op.73 (Emperor) for piano and orchestra
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Concerto no. 5 in E flat major Op.73 (Emperor) for piano and orchestra
Ludwig van Beethoven
Concerto no. 2 in B flat major Op.19 for piano and orchestra
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Concerto no. 2 in B flat major Op.19 for piano and orchestra
Ludwig van Beethoven
Cavatina from String Quartet in B flat major Op.130
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Cavatina from String Quartet in B flat major Op.130
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata for piano in F sharp minor Op.78 - Adagio
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Sonata for piano in F sharp minor Op.78 - Adagio
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata for piano No.15 in D minor, Op.28 - Finale
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Sonata for piano No.15 in D minor, Op.28 - Finale
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata for piano Op.7 - 3rd mvt
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Sonata for piano Op.7 - 3rd mvt
Ludwig van Beethoven
Concerto no. 3 in C minor Op.37 for piano and orchestra
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Concerto no. 3 in C minor Op.37 for piano and orchestra
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No 8 in C Minor, Op 13, 'Pathetique' (2nd mvt)
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Piano Sonata No 8 in C Minor, Op 13, 'Pathetique' (2nd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Bagatelle in A minor WoO 59 (für Elise)
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Bagatelle in A minor WoO 59 (für Elise)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Bagatelle in A minor WoO 59 (für Elise)
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Bagatelle in A minor WoO 59 (für Elise)
Ludwig van Beethoven
2 Bagatelles: Op.119 no.8 and Op.33 no.7
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2 Bagatelles: Op.119 no.8 and Op.33 no.7
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in A, Op.18 No.5
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String Quartet in A, Op.18 No.5
Ludwig van Beethoven
2 Sonatinas for mandolin: C minor WoO 43/1 and C major WoW 44/1
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2 Sonatinas for mandolin: C minor WoO 43/1 and C major WoW 44/1
Ludwig van Beethoven
Rondo a capriccio in G major Op.129 (Rage over a lost penny)
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Rondo a capriccio in G major Op.129 (Rage over a lost penny)
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in C sharp minor, Op.131 (7th mvt: Allegro)
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String Quartet in C sharp minor, Op.131 (7th mvt: Allegro)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Adelaide Op. 46
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Adelaide Op. 46
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata No. 17 In D Minor Op.31 No. 2 (Tempest) - Ist mvt
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Sonata No. 17 In D Minor Op.31 No. 2 (Tempest) - Ist mvt
Ludwig van Beethoven
Septet in E flat major Op.20 (4th movement - Tema con variazioni)
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Septet in E flat major Op.20 (4th movement - Tema con variazioni)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Overture from "Fidelio" (Op.72b)
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Overture from "Fidelio" (Op.72b)
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