1820 portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler

Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized December 17, 1770[1] – March 26, 1827) was a German composer born during the classical era but in his last years was a key figure in the transition to the Romantic Era. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

Partners:Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Pyotr Liych Tchaikovsky

During his lifetime Beethoven was a popular virtuoso pianist and a celebrated composer but not without critics. Many thought his compositional style to be too rough and unpleasant and the gentler style of other composers was more popular amongst the Viennese aristocracy. Beethoven's late works in particular baffled critics with their complexity, technical difficulty and emotional range - they were composed at a time when Beethoven was completely deaf.

Beethoven's popularity continued to rise after his death, and in the Romantic Era he was idolised by many composers including Brahms and Wagner and Mahler.

Today Beethoven is perhaps performed more than any other composer, with much of his work composing part of the standard repertoire. His symphonies, string quartets and piano sonatas in particular are often considered by many to be the pinnacle of their form.


Timeline of major worksEdit

Diabelli VariationsFur EliseEroica VariationsPiano Sonatas (Beethoven)Piano Sonatas (Beethoven)Piano Sonatas (Beethoven)Piano Sonatas (Beethoven)Piano Sonatas (Beethoven)Piano Sonatas (Beethoven)Piano Sonatas (Beethoven)Cello Sonatas (Beethoven)Cello Sonatas (Beethoven)Cello Sonatas (Beethoven)Violin Sonatas (Beethoven)Violin Sonatas (Beethoven)Violin Sonatas (Beethoven)Violin Sonatas (Beethoven)Piano Trios (Beethoven)Piano Trios (Beethoven)Piano Trios (Beethoven)Piano Trios (Beethoven)Late String Quartets (Beethoven)Middle String Quartets (Beethoven)Middle String Quartets (Beethoven)Middle String Quartets (Beethoven)Early String Quartets (Beethoven)Violin Concerto (Beethoven)Triple Concerto (Beethoven)Piano Concerto No. 5 (Beethoven)Piano Concerto No. 4 (Beethoven)Piano Concerto No. 3 (Beethoven)Piano Concerto No. 2 (Beethoven)Piano Concerto No. 1 (Beethoven)Missa SolemnisFidelio (opera)Choral FantasySymphony No. 9 (Beethoven)Symphony No. 8 (Beethoven)Symphony No. 7 (Beethoven)Symphony No. 6 (Beethoven)Symphony No. 5 (Beethoven)Symphony No. 4 (Beethoven)Symphony No. 3 (Beethoven)Symphony No. 2 (Beethoven)Symphony No. 1 (Beethoven)


Beethoven's first two symphonies were written in a more conservative, Mozartzian style and are less popular. Symphonies three, five, seven and nine are all lively, revolutionary works and concert staples. Symphonies four, six and eight are slightly more gentle and subdued, bringing about the cliche that the odd numbered symphonies are majestic and the even numbered symphonies peaceful. The sixth, known as the "pastoral" symphony is considered programme music, with it's movements depicting scenes from the countryside, this is not to say it is an insignificant work, on the contrary it is a favourite of many listeners.

The Ninth Symphony is named the "Choral" Symphony for it's use of solo vocalists and a chorus in its final movement, set to Friedrich Schiller's poem "Ode to Joy". Due to its uplifting message of freedom and musical brilliance, the ninth symphony is considered a cultural treasure much of modern society.

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Other WorksEdit

Beethoven wrote five piano concertos, of which the fifth - "Emperor" is recommended. ...

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Quotes and AnecdotesEdit

"What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven"

Views on Beethoven and his worksEdit

"This is not music; it is political agitation. It is saying to us: the world we have is no good. Let us change it! Let's go!" - Conductor - Nikolaus Harnoncourt on Beethoven's 5th Symphony


Wikipedia article

Beethoven Reference Site with Forum