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


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Ludwig van Beethoven Tracks

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'

Symphony no. 3 in E flat major, Op.55 'Eroica'

Orchestra
Triton Hareta Unimo Orchestra

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Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata for violin and piano (Op.24) in F major "Spring"
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Sonata for violin and piano (Op.24) in F major "Spring"
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 3 in E flat "Eroica": Finale
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Symphony No. 3 in E flat "Eroica": Finale
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 14 No. 2: III. Scherzo: Allegro assai
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Piano Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 14 No. 2: III. Scherzo: Allegro assai
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 3 in E flat major, Op 55, 'Eroica' (3rd mvt)
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Symphony No 3 in E flat major, Op 55, 'Eroica' (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Concerto No. 4 In G Major Op.58 For Piano And Orchestra
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Concerto No. 4 In G Major Op.58 For Piano And Orchestra
Ludwig van Beethoven
Fidelio - Overture
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Fidelio - Overture
Ludwig van Beethoven
Concerto no. 2 in B flat major Op.19 for piano and orchestra (3rd mvt)
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Concerto no. 2 in B flat major Op.19 for piano and orchestra (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in C major, Op 59, No 3, 'Razumovsky'
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String Quartet in C major, Op 59, No 3, 'Razumovsky'
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in D major, Op 18, No 3
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String Quartet in D major, Op 18, No 3
Ludwig van Beethoven
Bagatelles for piano nos 1-3
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Bagatelles for piano nos 1-3
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata for Violin and Piano No 9 in A major 'Kreutzer'
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Sonata for Violin and Piano No 9 in A major 'Kreutzer'
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 5 in C minor, Op 67 (1st mvt)
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Symphony No 5 in C minor, Op 67 (1st mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven String Quartet no 15 in A minor, Op 132
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Beethoven String Quartet no 15 in A minor, Op 132
Ludwig van Beethoven
Violin Sonata no 10 in G major, Op 96
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Violin Sonata no 10 in G major, Op 96
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No 1 in C major, Op 15
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Piano Concerto No 1 in C major, Op 15
Ludwig van Beethoven
Mass in C Major - Gloria
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Mass in C Major - Gloria
Ludwig van Beethoven
7 Variations on 'Bei Mannern, welche Liebe fuhlen' from Mozart's Die Zauberflote
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7 Variations on 'Bei Mannern, welche Liebe fuhlen' from Mozart's Die Zauberflote
Ludwig van Beethoven
Quartet in B flat major Op 130; 5th mvt; Cavatina
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Quartet in B flat major Op 130; 5th mvt; Cavatina
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata in D major, Op 28, 'Pastoral' (4th mvt)
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Piano Sonata in D major, Op 28, 'Pastoral' (4th mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 6 in F major, Op 68, 'Pastoral'
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Symphony No 6 in F major, Op 68, 'Pastoral'
Ludwig van Beethoven
Bagatelle in D major, Op 119 No 3
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Bagatelle in D major, Op 119 No 3
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No 1 in C major, Op 15
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Piano Concerto No 1 in C major, Op 15
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No.23 in F minor (Op.57) "Appassionata"
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Piano Sonata No.23 in F minor (Op.57) "Appassionata"
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
Grosse Fuge Op.133 for string quartet [original finale of Op.130]
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Grosse Fuge Op.133 for string quartet [original finale of Op.130]
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata No.9 In A Major For violin And Piano, Kreutzer Sonata
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Sonata No.9 In A Major For violin And Piano, Kreutzer Sonata
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
String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, op. 131
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String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, op. 131
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No. 9 in C, op. 59/3 'Razumovsky'
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String Quartet No. 9 in C, op. 59/3 'Razumovsky'
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, op. 18/4
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String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, op. 18/4
Ludwig van Beethoven
Six Variations in F major, Op 34
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Six Variations in F major, Op 34
Ludwig van Beethoven
Violin Sonata No 3 in E flat major, Op 12 (1st mvt)
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Violin Sonata No 3 in E flat major, Op 12 (1st mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata in G major, Op 49 No 2
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Piano Sonata in G major, Op 49 No 2
Ludwig van Beethoven
Wind Octet in E flat major, Op 103 (1st mvt)
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Wind Octet in E flat major, Op 103 (1st mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony no. 7 in A major Op.92
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Symphony no. 7 in A major Op.92
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata in F major, Op 10 No 2 (3rd mvt)
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Piano Sonata in F major, Op 10 No 2 (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Mass (Op.123) in D major "Missa solemnis"
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Mass (Op.123) in D major "Missa solemnis"
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
Violin Sonata No 4 in A minor, Op 23 (3rd mvt)
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Violin Sonata No 4 in A minor, Op 23 (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in B flat major, Op 130 (4th mvt)
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String Quartet in B flat major, Op 130 (4th mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Rondo in C major, Op.51`1
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Rondo in C major, Op.51`1
Ludwig van Beethoven
Egmont, Op 84 (Overture)
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Egmont, Op 84 (Overture)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Adagio in E flat (WoO.43 No.2) for mandolin and piano
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Adagio in E flat (WoO.43 No.2) for mandolin and piano
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No 8 in E minor, Op 59 No 2 'Razumovsky'
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String Quartet No 8 in E minor, Op 59 No 2 'Razumovsky'
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in F, Op 14 No 1 (after the Piano Sonata)
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String Quartet in F, Op 14 No 1 (after the Piano Sonata)
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No 1 in F, Op 18 No 1
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String Quartet No 1 in F, Op 18 No 1
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto no 3 in C minor
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Piano Concerto no 3 in C minor
Ludwig van Beethoven
The Creatures of Prometheus, Op 43 (Overture)
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The Creatures of Prometheus, Op 43 (Overture)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Leonore Overture No 1
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Leonore Overture No 1
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