LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN

LIFE

Ludwig van Beethoven (Boon, baptised 17 December 1770 – Vienna, 26 March 1827) German composer and pianist. He led the transition from Viennese Classical style, of which Haydn and Mozart were the major representatives, to the Romantic music later developed by Schumann and Brahms. For his distinguishing position in music history, Beethoven was therefore the last outstanding representative of a golden tradition and embodying the beginning of a new musical age. The popularity of his works among both musicians and audiences makes him a favourite of all time, not only as a composer, but as «one of the pre-eminent cultural heroes of the modern West» (New Grove).

Born in Bonn, Beethoven was attracted towards music since and early age and took lessons from his father, Johann van Beethoven, and from composer and conductor Christian Gottlob Neefe. As a young man, Beethoven moved to Vienna and met Franz Joseph Haydn, with whom he studied for one year. He quickly made a name for himself as a virtuoso pianist.

Beethoven’s hearing began to deteriorate since he was very young, though it is not clear when he detected the first signs of impairment. By the last decade of his life, he was almost completely deaf and, though continuing his compositional activity, he had to give up performing in public.

Although Beethoven’s music was immediately successful among the middle-class, he composed his best works in the last two decades of his life. It was precisely at that time that his style became more personal. His original combination of tradition and innovation is the reason why he became one of the leading musical models of the 19th century, a source of admiration and a point of reference for every major composer. Schubert recognized Beethoven’s influence by saying: «Who would be able to do anything after Beethoven?»

Beethoven’s most admired compositions include nine symphonies, five piano concertos, a violin concerto, several piano sonatas and string quartets, not to mention a mass, the Missa solemnis, and an opera, Fidelio.

SELECTED DISCOGRAPHY

Beethoven Ozawa Argerich Symphony Piano ConcertoSeiji Ozawa – Martha Argerich

Symphony 1, Piano Concerto 1
Mito Chamber Orchestra
Decca, 2018
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Beethoven Brahms Rostropovich Oistrakh Richter Szell Karajan Double ConcertoBeethoven – Triple Concerto

David Oistrakh, Mstislav Rostropovich, Sviatoslav Richter, piano
Berliner Philharmoniker – Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Brahms – Double Concerto
David Oistrakh, Mstislav Rostropovich
Cleveland Orchestra – George Szell, conductor
EMI, 1999
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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas

106 “Hammerklavier” & op. 27/2 “Moonlight”
Murray Perahia, piano
Deutsche Grammophon, 2018
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Beethoven Missa Solemnis Mozart Coronation Mass KarajanBeethoven: Missa Solemnis – Mozart: Coronation Mass

Missa Solemnis: Gundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig, Fritz Wunderlich, Walter Berry
Coronation MassAnna Tomowa-Sintow, Agnes Baltsa, Werner Krenn, José van Dam
Wiener Singverein, Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon, 1996
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Beethoven Works for Flute Kazunori SeoBeethoven: Works for Flute (Vol. 1)

Duos for Flute and Bassoon – Duo for Two Flutes – Serenade
Kazunori Seo, flute
Patrick Gallois, flute; Mitsuo Kodama, bassoon; Asuka Sezaki, violin; Koichi Komine, viola
Naxos, 2018
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Capuçon Braley Beethoven Sonatas & Variations for cello and pianoGautier Capuçon & Frank Braley

Beethoven. Complete Works for Cello & Piano
Erato, 2016
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Beethoven Egmont Wellington's Victory Military Marches KarajanEgmont, Wellington, Military Marches

Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon, 1987
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