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.

Profile © Barry Cooper


Ludwig van Beethoven Performances & Interviews


Featured Works


Ludwig van Beethoven Tracks

Ludwig van Beethoven
The Creatures of Prometheus (Overture), Op 43
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The Creatures of Prometheus (Overture), Op 43

The Creatures of Prometheus (Overture), Op 43

Orchestra
Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic

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Ludwig van Beethoven
Diabelli Variations – Var. 31: Largo, molto espressivo
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Diabelli Variations – Var. 31: Largo, molto espressivo
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata for piano no. 20 (Op.49`2) in G major, 1st mvt; Allegro ma non troppo
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Sonata for piano no. 20 (Op.49`2) in G major, 1st mvt; Allegro ma non troppo
Ludwig van Beethoven
Romance in F major for violin and orchestra, Op 50
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Romance in F major for violin and orchestra, Op 50
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in B flat major, Op 18`6
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String Quartet in B flat major, Op 18`6
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet no 15 in A minor, Op 132
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String Quartet no 15 in A minor, Op 132
Ludwig van Beethoven
Coriolan - overture Op.62
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Coriolan - overture Op.62
Ludwig van Beethoven
Concerto in D major Op.61 for violin and orchestra
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Concerto in D major Op.61 for violin and orchestra
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op.110
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Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op.110
Ludwig van Beethoven
Divertimento concertante for Double Bass and Orchestra (4th mvt)
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Divertimento concertante for Double Bass and Orchestra (4th mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata no.6 in F, Op.10`2
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Piano Sonata no.6 in F, Op.10`2
Ludwig van Beethoven
Coriolan Overture, Op 62
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Coriolan Overture, Op 62
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 1 in C major, Op 21
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Symphony No 1 in C major, Op 21
Ludwig van Beethoven
Bagatelle in A flat major, Op 33 No 7
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Bagatelle in A flat major, Op 33 No 7
Ludwig van Beethoven
Trio for piano and strings(WoO.38)in E flat major,
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Trio for piano and strings(WoO.38)in E flat major,
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No.14 in C Sharp Minor, Op.131 (7th mvt)
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String Quartet No.14 in C Sharp Minor, Op.131 (7th mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No 30 in E major, Op 109
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Piano Sonata No 30 in E major, Op 109
Ludwig van Beethoven
10 Variations on 'La stessa, la stessissima'
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10 Variations on 'La stessa, la stessissima'
Ludwig van Beethoven
Egmont - incidental music Op.84
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Egmont - incidental music Op.84
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony no. 9 in D minor Op.125 (Choral)
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Symphony no. 9 in D minor Op.125 (Choral)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No.7 in A major, arr. for wind ensemble
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Symphony No.7 in A major, arr. for wind ensemble
Ludwig van Beethoven
Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61: iii) Rondo. Allegro
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Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61: iii) Rondo. Allegro
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata for piano no. 18 (Op.31 No.3) in E flat major
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Sonata for piano no. 18 (Op.31 No.3) in E flat major
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 5 in C minor
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Symphony No 5 in C minor
Ludwig van Beethoven
Fidelio - 'Abscheulicher! ... Komm, Hoffnung, lass den letzten Stern'
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Fidelio - 'Abscheulicher! ... Komm, Hoffnung, lass den letzten Stern'
Ludwig van Beethoven
Fidelio - Overture
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Fidelio - Overture
Ludwig van Beethoven
Aria 'Ah! perfido'
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Aria 'Ah! perfido'
Ludwig van Beethoven
Five Variations on 'Rule Britannia', WoO 79
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Five Variations on 'Rule Britannia', WoO 79
Ludwig van Beethoven
Rondo in B flat major for piano and orchestra, WoO 6
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Rondo in B flat major for piano and orchestra, WoO 6
Ludwig van Beethoven
Egmont, Op 84 (Overture)
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Egmont, Op 84 (Overture)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Wind Octet in E flat major, Op.103 (4th mvt)
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Wind Octet in E flat major, Op.103 (4th mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Trio Op 9 No 3 (3rd mvt)
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Trio Op 9 No 3 (3rd mvt)

Trio Op 9 No 3 (3rd mvt)

Ensemble
Veles Ensemble
Last played on
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No 4 in G major
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Piano Concerto No 4 in G major
Ludwig van Beethoven
The Ruins of Athens, Op 113 (Overture)
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The Ruins of Athens, Op 113 (Overture)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No.1 in C major - 3rd mvt: Menuetto
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Symphony No.1 in C major - 3rd mvt: Menuetto
Ludwig van Beethoven
Die Weihe des Hauses, Op 124 (Overture)
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Die Weihe des Hauses, Op 124 (Overture)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Trio No 6 in E flat major, Op 70, No 2
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Piano Trio No 6 in E flat major, Op 70, No 2
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
Symphony No 8 in F major, Op 93 (3rd mvt)
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Symphony No 8 in F major, Op 93 (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Rondo in G major, Op 129, 'Rage over a lost penny'
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Rondo in G major, Op 129, 'Rage over a lost penny'
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in F major, Op 59, No 1, 'Rasumovsky'
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String Quartet in F major, Op 59, No 1, 'Rasumovsky'
Ludwig van Beethoven
Violin Sonata in A major, Op 47, 'Kreutzer' (3rd mvt)
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Violin Sonata in A major, Op 47, 'Kreutzer' (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata quasi una fantasia in E flat major Op.27`1 for piano
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Sonata quasi una fantasia in E flat major Op.27`1 for piano
Ludwig van Beethoven
Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt, Op. 112
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Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt, Op. 112
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 7 in A major
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Symphony No. 7 in A major
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No 1 in F minor Op 2 No 1
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Piano Sonata No 1 in F minor Op 2 No 1
Ludwig van Beethoven
The Creatures of Prometheus (Overture)
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The Creatures of Prometheus (Overture)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Trio In E flat Major, Op.70, No.2
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Piano Trio In E flat Major, Op.70, No.2
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Trio in B flat, Op.97 'Archduke' (1st mvt)
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Piano Trio in B flat, Op.97 'Archduke' (1st mvt)
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