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
Violin Sonata no. 2 in A
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Violin Sonata no. 2 in A

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Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Trio in D major, Op 70 No 1 (Ghost)
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Piano Trio in D major, Op 70 No 1 (Ghost)
Ludwig van Beethoven
The Ruins of Athens, Op 113 (Overture)
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The Ruins of Athens, Op 113 (Overture)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Andante for piano (WoO.57) in F major "Andante favori"
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Andante for piano (WoO.57) in F major "Andante favori"
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
Leonora Overture No 3, Op 72b
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Leonora Overture No 3, Op 72b
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
Missa solemnis, Op 123 (Kyrie)
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Missa solemnis, Op 123 (Kyrie)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Fidelio (Leonore) - opera Op.72 i Overture 'Leonore' no.2 (Op.72a)
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Fidelio (Leonore) - opera Op.72 i Overture 'Leonore' no.2 (Op.72a)
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
Piano Sonata no 5 in C minor, Op 10 no 1
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Piano Sonata no 5 in C minor, Op 10 no 1
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 6 in F major, Op 68, 'Pastoral' (2nd mvt)
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Symphony No 6 in F major, Op 68, 'Pastoral' (2nd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata no. 19 in G major, op. 79
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Sonata no. 19 in G major, op. 79
Ludwig van Beethoven
8 Variations on Mozart's 'La ci darem la mano'
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8 Variations on Mozart's 'La ci darem la mano'
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 3 in E flat, op. 55 ('Eroica')
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Symphony No. 3 in E flat, op. 55 ('Eroica')

Symphony No. 3 in E flat, op. 55 ('Eroica')

Orchestra
Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra
Conductor
Ludwig van Beethoven
Triple Concerto in C Op.56 - 2nd movement Largo
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Triple Concerto in C Op.56 - 2nd movement Largo
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto no 3 in C minor
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Piano Concerto no 3 in C minor
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
Variations on Mozart's 'Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen'
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Variations on Mozart's 'Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen'
Ludwig van Beethoven
7 Variationen uber 'Kind willst du ruhig schlafen' (WoO 75)
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7 Variationen uber 'Kind willst du ruhig schlafen' (WoO 75)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Aus Goethe's Faust Op 75 No 3
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Aus Goethe's Faust Op 75 No 3
Ludwig van Beethoven
An die ferne Geliebte, Op 98
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An die ferne Geliebte, Op 98
Ludwig van Beethoven
Serenade, Op.8: 2) Adagio
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Serenade, Op.8: 2) Adagio
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Trio in E flat major, Op 1 No 1 (finale)
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Piano Trio in E flat major, Op 1 No 1 (finale)
Ludwig van Beethoven
The Creatures of Prometheus (Overture)
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The Creatures of Prometheus (Overture)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Quintet for piano and wind (Op.16) in E flat major, 2nd mvt; Andante cantabile
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Quintet for piano and wind (Op.16) in E flat major, 2nd mvt; Andante cantabile
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata no 24 in F sharp major, Op 78
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Piano Sonata no 24 in F sharp major, Op 78
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet no 7 in F major, Op 59 no 1 ('Razumovsky')
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String Quartet no 7 in F major, Op 59 no 1 ('Razumovsky')
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet no 2 in G major, Op 18 no 2
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String Quartet no 2 in G major, Op 18 no 2
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet no 3 in D major, Op 18 no 3
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String Quartet no 3 in D major, Op 18 no 3
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No 4 in G major, Op 58 (3rd mvt)
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Piano Concerto No 4 in G major, Op 58 (3rd mvt)
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
Fantasia in G minor, Op 77
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Fantasia in G minor, Op 77
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Trio in E Flat Major Op. 97 "Archduke" (3rd mvt)
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Piano Trio in E Flat Major Op. 97 "Archduke" (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 4 in B flat major, Op 60 (4th mvt)
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Symphony No 4 in B flat major, Op 60 (4th mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Elegischer Gesang, Op.118
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Elegischer Gesang, Op.118
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony no. 8 in F major, Op.93
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Symphony no. 8 in F major, Op.93
Ludwig van Beethoven
Violin Concerto In D Major Op.61: Rondo Allegro
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Violin Concerto In D Major Op.61: Rondo Allegro
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata quasi una fantasia for piano (Op.27 No.2) in C sharp minor, 'Moonlight'
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Sonata quasi una fantasia for piano (Op.27 No.2) in C sharp minor, 'Moonlight'
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata no. 18 in E flat major Op.31'3
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Sonata no. 18 in E flat major Op.31'3
Ludwig van Beethoven
Romance No.1 in G major for violin and orchestra, Op.40
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Romance No.1 in G major for violin and orchestra, Op.40
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 4 in B flat major, Op 60 (3rd mvt)
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Symphony No 4 in B flat major, Op 60 (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Quartet in F major Op.135 for strings
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Quartet in F major Op.135 for strings
Ludwig van Beethoven
String quartet in F major, Hess34
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String quartet in F major, Hess34
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Trio in E flat, Op 1 No 1 (4th mvt)
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Piano Trio in E flat, Op 1 No 1 (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
Violin Sonata in F Major, Op. 24 "Spring"
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Violin Sonata in F Major, Op. 24 "Spring"
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in B flat major Op.18`6 (3rd mvt)
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String Quartet in B flat major Op.18`6 (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quintet in C major Op.29 (3rd mvt)
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String Quintet in C major Op.29 (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Coriolan Overture
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Coriolan Overture
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