Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the most prolific and celebrated composers of the Classical and Romantic eras. We are collecting music, coverage and news about Beethoven from around Classical MPR and our affiliated programs. Have a look (and listen) and enjoy.
Beethoven's Life and Work
Stories about Beethoven, and the music he created.
New Classical Tracks: The joy and tumult of Beethoven The Cypress String Quartet were first inspired to record Beethoven's late quartets. Now 'telling the story backwards', they are releasing a three-CD set of Beethoven's middle quartets, works that came at a tumultuous time in the composer's life.March 4, 2015
Learning to Listen: Beethoven's Razumovsky Quartets Two members of the Cypress String Quartet join Learning to Listen to discuss Beethoven's "Middle String Quartets" - also known by the name of the Russian count who commissioned them, Andrey Razumovsky.March 2, 2015
Morning Glories: Birthday Beethoven This week brings us the birthday of the man who for many is the archetypal composer in the classical tradition, Ludwig van Beethoven (the evidence points to a December 16 birthday -- no one is absolutely sure). We'll note the anniversary with five Morning Glories, each in a different genre: sonata, symphony, string quartet, ballet, and choral.December 15, 2014
New Classical Tracks: Pushing the Boundaries Pianist Alessio Bax is fascinated by Beethoven's music. Even though Bax feels Beethoven's music can never be mastered, there's enough to explore and discover that Bax has released a new album of Beethoven music.October 22, 2014
On Beethoven's Birthday, The Three Periods It was not long after Beethoven's death that people began to talk about "three periods" in his music. Despite the obvious simplifications involved, this division continues to be used and discussed today.December 16, 2013
Writing thriller novels with Beethoven Best-selling author Jeffery Deaver whose latest book, The Kill Room, is the next in the series featuring forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme finds story structure in symphonic music.August 5, 2013
New Classical Tracks: Piano Variations According to Emanuel Ax, writing variations on a theme is a way for composers to show off what they can do. On his new disc, he lets us hear how Haydn, Beethoven, and Robert Schumann flex their muscles.January 29, 2013
Blogging the Beethoven Bicentennial Collection: Symphonies 3 & 4
I imagine my dad, in his Minneapolis apartment in the early 70s, listening to Beethoven and reading the paper in his squared glasses and white turtleneck. Flash back a decade, to Karajan coaxing what Harvey Sachs called his "calculatedly voluptuous" sound from his players as he created a recording that he had every reason to think would be regarded as definitive by a generation of his peers.
Blogging the Beethoven Bicentennial Collection: Symphonies 1 & 2
Since before the term "bucket list" was a thing, it's been on my bucket list to listen to the entirety of the Beethoven Bicentennial Collection. With Beethoven's sestercentennial coming up in six years, I figure that if I start now, I can proceed at a nice leisurely pace and still wrap up right around his 250th birthday on December 16, 2020.
The Short Version: Self Assessment
Any prolific composer could surprise us with how they rank their own works. Perhaps it's as simple and as compelling as "What have I done lately?" This 19th century Titan might have dismissed one of our favorites with, "That's so 1808."
Seven More Days Until Beethoven's Birthday (More or Less)
A week from today (December 16) is Beethoven's birthday. As pointed out by Lucy in this classic strip, we don't really know this. What we do know is that Beethoven was baptized on the 17th of December, and Catholic children were traditionally baptized on the day following birth.
The King's Speech and Beethoven
Having finally seen "The King's Speech" over the weekend, I was all fired up to write a marvelous blog about how the film smartly uses the music of Beethoven (Mozart too!) to fully enhance the drama. Alas, it seems David...
Low Cal Beethoven
It was common practice in Beethoven's day to arrange large scale works for smaller forces. After all, getting to the concert hall wasn't always possible, so this allowed amateur musicians to experience great music right in their homes. Beethoven's assistant,...
Here's Your Moment of Beethoven
Recently, a colleague of mine stopped me in the hall to ask about a certain piece of classical music that had grabbed his attention. And a little later, another colleague stopped me in the hall, with a similar question. They...
Mixed Reviews for Beethoven on Broadway
Back in November I posted a note about 33 Variations, a play about a musicologist trying to unravel one last Beethoven mystery before she dies. Well, the play has opened, and the reviews suggest the show has a lot of...
Schiff on Beethoven, Again
Andras Schiff has been spending a lot of time with Beethoven in recent years, playing all 32 piano sonatas in a series of 8 recitals in London, New York and Los Angeles (and maybe other cities, too?). He's gotten reviews...
Beethoven on Broadway
Publisher Anton Diabelli wrote a short waltz and sent it to 50 composers, asking each of them to write a variation on it. Beethoven turned him down--but then ultimately wrote 33 variations on it. Why? That's the question at the...
Written by Bach .... Mrs. Bach, That Is
What if some of J. S. Bach's best loved pieces were actually composed by his wife? That's the conclusion that an Australian music scholar has reached. Is it a logical conclusion, far-fetched, or somewhere in between? Judge for yourself and...
Andras Schiff on Beethoven
I mentioned this on the air this morning, so I thought I'd post a link, too. Pianist Andras Schiff has been playing all of the Beethoven sonatas in a series of eight recitals. A couple of years ago, when he...
Beethoven + Minnesota Orchestra + Osmo Vanska = Perfect 10
Happy news in the New Year for the Minnesota Orchestra. Not long after receiving a Grammy nomination for their recording of Beethoven's Ninth, their new CD of Beethoven's First and Sixth Symphonies gets a perfect 10 rating from critic David...
Beethoven Gets Even
Just in case you missed it on All Things Considered: Music critic Tom Manoff taking notice that the most famous Beethoven symphonies have the odd numbers (Beethoven's Fifth, Beethoven's Ninth..), and the "neglected" ones, the even. Actually, in the case...
Beethoven, Klemperer and Mendelssohn
So, the Minnesota Orchestra kicked off their "Beethoven's Back" promotion today with The Big Guy himself handing out coffee, newspapers and downloads in front of Orchestra Hall this morning, and it reminded me of a story about Beethoven's Fifth Symphony...
Taking Scriabin apart… and putting him back together again
Since early 2013, Minnesota composer/producer Charlie McCarron has been producing a weekly podcast called “Composer Quest” which centers around composers and songwriters speaking about their work. Every two months, he challenges composers around the world to complete unique, often challenging (but always fun) composing “quests,” resulting in nearly 200 new compositions. Over the past year, quests have included composing spooky … Continue reading Taking Scriabin apart… and putting him back together again →