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


Featured Works


Ludwig van Beethoven Tracks

Ludwig van Beethoven
Septet in E flat Op.20: i. Adagio. Allegro con brio
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Septet in E flat Op.20: i. Adagio. Allegro con brio

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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
Quartet in B flat major Op.130 for strings vers. with Grosse Fuge finale
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Quartet in B flat major Op.130 for strings vers. with Grosse Fuge finale
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
Sonata quasi una fantasia in C sharp minor Op.27`2 (Moonlight) for piano (Piano sonata no.14)
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Sonata quasi una fantasia in C sharp minor Op.27`2 (Moonlight) for piano (Piano sonata no.14)
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
Wellingtons Sieg or Die Schlacht bei Vittoria Op.91 (Battle symphony)
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Wellingtons Sieg or Die Schlacht bei Vittoria Op.91 (Battle symphony)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Der Glorreiche Augenblick - cantata Op.136 for soloists, chorus, children and orchestra
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Der Glorreiche Augenblick - cantata Op.136 for soloists, chorus, children and orchestra
Ludwig van Beethoven
7 Variations on 'God save the King' in C major WoO.78 for piano
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7 Variations on 'God save the King' in C major WoO.78 for piano
Ludwig van Beethoven
5 Variations on 'Rule Britannia' in D major WoO.79 for piano
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5 Variations on 'Rule Britannia' in D major WoO.79 for piano
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata no. 29 in B flat major Op.106 (Hammerklavier) for piano
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Sonata no. 29 in B flat major Op.106 (Hammerklavier) for piano
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
Bagatelle (fur Elise) in A minor WoO.59 for piano
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Bagatelle (fur Elise) in A minor WoO.59 for piano
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 5 in C minor, Op 67
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Symphony No 5 in C minor, Op 67
Ludwig van Beethoven
Egmont - incidental music Op.84
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Egmont - incidental music Op.84
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 5 in C minor Op,10 no.1 ii: adagio molto
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Piano Sonata No. 5 in C minor Op,10 no.1 ii: adagio molto
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
Romance in F major Op 50 (orig. for violin and orchestra)
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Romance in F major Op 50 (orig. for violin and orchestra)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Egmont, Op 84 (Overture)
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Egmont, Op 84 (Overture)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Zur Namensfeier overture, Op.115
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Zur Namensfeier overture, Op.115

Zur Namensfeier overture, Op.115

Orchestra
Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
Conductor
Last played on
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
String Quartet in E minor, Op 59 No 2, 'Razumovsky' (3rd mvt)
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String Quartet in E minor, Op 59 No 2, 'Razumovsky' (3rd mvt)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Quartet No. 3 in C Major, WoO 36 No. 3: III. Rondo. Allegro
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Piano Quartet No. 3 in C Major, WoO 36 No. 3: III. Rondo. Allegro
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonatina in Eb major, WoO 47, No. 1 (Kurfürsten)
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Piano Sonatina in Eb major, WoO 47, No. 1 (Kurfürsten)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Bagatelle in F major, Op 33 No 3
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Bagatelle in F major, Op 33 No 3
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
Choral Fantasy, Op 80
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Choral Fantasy, Op 80
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Fantasia in G minor, Op 77
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Piano Fantasia in G minor, Op 77
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sanctus (Mass in C major, Op 86)
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Sanctus (Mass in C major, Op 86)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No 5 in C minor, Op 67
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Symphony No 5 in C minor, Op 67
Ludwig van Beethoven
Bagatelle in C minor, WoO 52
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Bagatelle in C minor, WoO 52
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No 4 in G major, Op 58
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Piano Concerto No 4 in G major, Op 58
Ludwig van Beethoven
Gloria (Mass in C major, Op 86)
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Gloria (Mass in C major, Op 86)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ah! perfido, Op 65
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Ah! perfido, Op 65
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
Oh! Sweet Were The Hours, Op.108 no.3
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Oh! Sweet Were The Hours, Op.108 no.3
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata no 18 in E flat major, Op 31 no 3
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Piano Sonata no 18 in E flat major, Op 31 no 3
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135 III. Lento assai
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String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135 III. Lento assai
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
Missa Solemnis in D, op. 123
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Missa Solemnis in D, op. 123
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in C Major No.3 in Op.59
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String Quartet in C Major No.3 in Op.59
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in B flat major, Op 130 (5th movement)
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String Quartet in B flat major, Op 130 (5th movement)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Coriolan Overture, Op 62
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Coriolan Overture, Op 62
Ludwig van Beethoven
Mass in D Major (Missa Solemnis), Op 123 (Kyrie)
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Mass in D Major (Missa Solemnis), Op 123 (Kyrie)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Bagatelle, Op 126 No 6
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Bagatelle, Op 126 No 6
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in E flat major, Op 127 (1st movement)
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String Quartet in E flat major, Op 127 (1st movement)
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet in A minor, Op 132 (5th movement)
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String Quartet in A minor, Op 132 (5th movement)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Polonaise in C Major, Op. 89
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Polonaise in C Major, Op. 89
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Trio in B flat major, Op 97, 'Archduke' (3rd mvt)
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Piano Trio in B flat major, Op 97, 'Archduke' (3rd mvt)
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