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
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]

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Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in C major, op.59 no.3 'Rasumovsky': 1st mvt
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String Quartet in C major, op.59 no.3 'Rasumovsky': 1st mvt
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata in B flat major (Hammerklavier) (3rd mvt: Adagio)
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Piano Sonata in B flat major (Hammerklavier) (3rd mvt: Adagio)
Ludwig van Beethoven
King Stephen, Op 117 (Overture)
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King Stephen, Op 117 (Overture)
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
String Quartet no.14 (Op.131) in C sharp minor
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String Quartet no.14 (Op.131) in C sharp minor
Ludwig van Beethoven
7 Variations on 'Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen' from Mozart's Magic Flute
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7 Variations on 'Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen' from Mozart's Magic Flute
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata in G, Op.14 No. 2
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Piano Sonata in G, Op.14 No. 2
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 2 in D major Op. 36
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Symphony No. 2 in D major Op. 36
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 24 in F sharp major, Op. 78: i) Adagio cantabile - Allegro m
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Piano Sonata No. 24 in F sharp major, Op. 78: i) Adagio cantabile - Allegro m
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Trio in G major, Op 9 no 1
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String Trio in G major, Op 9 no 1
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in G major, Op 18 no 2
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String Quartet in G major, Op 18 no 2
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
Violin Sonata No 5 in F major, Op 24, 'Spring' (1st mvt)
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Violin Sonata No 5 in F major, Op 24, 'Spring' (1st mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Leonore Overture No. 3, op. 72b
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Leonore Overture No. 3, op. 72b
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 7 in A major, Op 92 (3rd mvt)
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Symphony No 7 in A major, Op 92 (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No 1 in C major, Op 15 (3rd mvt)
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Piano Concerto No 1 in C major, Op 15 (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Egmont, Op. 84: I. Overture (Live)
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Egmont, Op. 84: I. Overture (Live)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Serenade Op 8 (Adagio)
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Serenade Op 8 (Adagio)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Egmont Overture
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Egmont Overture
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 9 in D minor, 'Choral'
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Symphony No 9 in D minor, 'Choral'
Ludwig van Beethoven
Overture in C major, Op 115, (Zur Namensfeier)
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Overture in C major, Op 115, (Zur Namensfeier)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata No 23 in F minor for piano Op 57 'Appassionata'
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Sonata No 23 in F minor for piano Op 57 'Appassionata'
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
Variations on 'Là ci darem la mano' arr Bellison
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Variations on 'Là ci darem la mano' arr Bellison
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata in F, Op 54
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Piano Sonata in F, Op 54
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto no.4 - 2nd and 3rd movements
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Piano Concerto no.4 - 2nd and 3rd movements
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 9 in D minor, Op 125, 'Choral' (4th mvt)
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Symphony No 9 in D minor, Op 125, 'Choral' (4th mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Mit einem gemalten Band (3 Songs Op 83, No 3)
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Mit einem gemalten Band (3 Songs Op 83, No 3)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No 2 in B flat major, Op 19 (2nd mvt) Adagio
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Piano Concerto No 2 in B flat major, Op 19 (2nd mvt) Adagio
Ludwig van Beethoven
Bagatelle, Op 33 no 5: Allegro ma non troppo
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Bagatelle, Op 33 no 5: Allegro ma non troppo
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat major, Op 73, 'Emperor'
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Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat major, Op 73, 'Emperor'
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 7 in A major, Op 92 (4th mvt)
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Symphony No 7 in A major, Op 92 (4th mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
The Creatures of Prometheus (Overture), Op 43
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The Creatures of Prometheus (Overture), Op 43
Ludwig van Beethoven
Scherzo from the Septet Op 20 (arr. Freidrich Hermann as a Grand Duo for viola & piano 1853)
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Scherzo from the Septet Op 20 (arr. Freidrich Hermann as a Grand Duo for viola & piano 1853)
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2: II. Molto adagio. Si tratta questo pezzo con molto sentiment
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String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2: II. Molto adagio. Si tratta questo pezzo con molto sentiment
Ludwig van Beethoven
Adagio for musical clock WoO.33
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Adagio for musical clock WoO.33
Ludwig van Beethoven
Overture: Egmont
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Overture: Egmont
Ludwig van Beethoven
Violin Sonata No 1 in D major, Op 12 (3rd mvt)
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Violin Sonata No 1 in D major, Op 12 (3rd mvt)

Violin Sonata No 1 in D major, Op 12 (3rd mvt)

Performer
Roberto Ruisi
Charis Hanning
Last played on
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 5 in C minor, Op 67 (2nd mvt)
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Symphony No 5 in C minor, Op 67 (2nd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Horn Sonata in F major, Op 17
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Horn Sonata in F major, Op 17
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op 13, 'Pathétique'
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Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op 13, 'Pathétique'
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No 7 in D major, Op 10, No 3
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Piano Sonata No 7 in D major, Op 10, No 3
Ludwig van Beethoven
Rondo in G, Op 51, No 2
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Rondo in G, Op 51, No 2
Ludwig van Beethoven
Rondo in C, Op 51, No 1
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Rondo in C, Op 51, No 1
Ludwig van Beethoven
'Razumovsky' Quartet No 3, Op 59 No 3 (4th mvt)
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'Razumovsky' Quartet No 3, Op 59 No 3 (4th mvt)
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
Piano Sonata No. 18 in E-Flat Major, Op. 31 No. 3 "La chasse": IV. Presto con fu
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Piano Sonata No. 18 in E-Flat Major, Op. 31 No. 3 "La chasse": IV. Presto con fu
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata no. 28 in A major Op.101, 1st movement
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Sonata no. 28 in A major Op.101, 1st movement
Ludwig van Beethoven
Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 Variation 1. Alla Marcia, maestoso
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Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 Variation 1. Alla Marcia, maestoso
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