Deutsche Grammophon celebrates Beethoven’s 250th birthday.

Discover new recordings and iconic reissues as well as cult albums from our archives.

Video - We have invited top journalists from around the world to comment on their personal cult album. Watch this series, one every two weeks, plus a growing selection of video statements by our artists on Beethoven as well as some performances of his music.

Facts - Learn more about Beethoven’s life and work in our Facts section

Follow Beethoven on Facebook and enjoy his music in this site and in our playlist 'Best of Beethoven' by the Deutsche Grammophon editorial team.


Dedicated Retail Beethoven Rooms

See two special dedicated Beethoven areas at retail partners with whom we have collaborated on this project:

The international Apple Music Beethoven Room

The Beethoven Room in Amazon Germany

The Beethoven Room in the DG Store

 

The New Complete Edition

The New Complete Edition

175 hours of music on 118 CDs, 2 DVDs and 3 Blu-ray Audios - DG presents the most modern and complete set of Beethoven’s work ever issued 

  • Assembled in cooperation with Decca and 10 other labels, it includes many alternative performances including three complete symphony cycles.

  • The Edition includes over 250 legendary performers from Gilels to Gardiner, Amadeus Quartet to Arrau, Furtwangler to Fischer-Dieskau, Kempff to Karajan, Böhm to Brendel, Menuhin to Mutter and Perahia to Pollini

  • Leading Beethoven scholars have contributed to the editorial

  • Over 150 minutes of new recordings, including several world premieres recorded especially for this edition by Lang Lang and Daniel Hope

  • The Edition has been compiled in partnership with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, the only Complete Edition with support of the official Beethoven 2020 foundation. It was unveiled to journalists at a press conference on September 3 at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn together with Daniel Hope and Andris Nelsons. See the press release below.

  • 118 CDs divided into 9 genres

  • DVDs: Fidelio (Bernstein) and Symphonies nos. 4 & 7 (Kleiber)

  • 3 BD Audio: Symphonies (Karajan) / Piano Sonatas (Kempff) / Quartets (Amadeus Quartet)

  • Colour-coded for easy navigation

  • Lavishly illustrated hardback book with new essay by Christine Siegert, introductory note by Barry Cooper and a biography in pictures, alphabetical work index & artist index

  • 9 softcover books with tracklistings, notes and sung texts (EN/DE), illustrations, and full recording information

  • Limited & numbered edition 

Release: November 1, 2019

 

New Releases

Wilhelm Kempff - Complete Beethoven Sonatas

New Complete Edition - digital-only albums

Cult Album Videos

Further Videos

Cult Albums

In the course of the Beethoven year, 25 top journalists from all over the world will present their "cult album" from the Deutsche Grammophon archives.

See the latest video #8 of James Jolly, Editor-in-Chief of Gramophone, talking about the legendary recording of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 by Carlo Maria Giulini conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic (1978).

See the album below and watch the video in the video section.

Top 10 Facts about Beethoven

Some facts about Beethoven you may not know...!

  1. Although we celebrate Beethoven’s birthday on December 17, there is no actual record of his birth. It is speculated that he may have been born up to two days before this.

  2. Beethoven studied under Joseph Haydn in his early 20’s, however the two were frequently frustrated with each other's company, ultimately resulting in neither liking the other much.

  3. It is rumored that Beethoven was sent to Vienna in 1787 to meet Mozart. Although this information was never confirmed, a quote from Mozart surfaced in which he talked about the talent of Beethoven, stating: “don’t forget his name – you will hear it spoken often!”

  4. Beethoven was a coffee fanatic and would famously count out exactly 60 coffee beans by hand for each cup he drank.

  5. It is rumored that Beethoven’s ‘Für Elise’ was in fact mistitled and instead should have read ‘Für Therese’, for Therese Malfatti, an apparent lover of Beethoven’s. There is no record of any ‘Elise’ in Beethoven’s life.

  6. When the CD was being developed, Karajan stated that it should be possible for a person to be able to listen to the entirety of Beethoven’s 9th symphony on one CD. A typical performance of the symphony lasts approximately 70 minutes and it is said that this was partially the reason why 74 minutes of audio could fit on the first CDs.

  7. A recording of the first movement from Beethoven’s fifth symphony is currently “lost in space”, it was sent up as a message for other civilizations, alongside this movement is also his String Quartet no.13 in B flat major, op.130 (including the Grosse Fuge in B flat major, op.133).

  8. At the premiere of Beethoven’s 9th symphony, Beethoven himself was seated on stage to direct tempo. After the piece had finished, it is said that since he was seated facing the musicians he could not hear the monstrous applause or see the standing ovation. He assumed that the piece had been a failure, until a vocalist on stage averted Beethoven’s attention to the eruption of the audience behind him.

  9. After Beethoven lost his hearing, he took a little book around with him to social events. He would use this book to communicate with others and called it his ‘Conversation Book’. We have learnt an immense amount about Beethoven’s life through these records.

  10. The European Union uses ‘Ode to Joy’ from Beethoven's 9th symphony as their national anthem.

Follow us here and in the Beethoven Facebook channel for many more such generic and biographical facts.

Best of Beethoven Playlist

Best of Beethoven Playlist

Beethoven is one of the most streamed classical composers of all. People spend in total almost 250 LISTENING YEARS per month streaming our DG Beethoven Recordings across all services.

DG's 'Best of Beethoven' Playlist is available on multiple streaming platforms including Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and Napster:

We update it regularly with tracks from our new Beethoven releases, while of course offering a comprehensive overview of the repertoire of Beethoven, recorded by what is almost a 'Who's Who' of the great conductors, orchestras and instrumentalists down of the modern recording era.

Press Release

Press Release

On September 3, 2019, at an exclusive launch event at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn we announced our major new Beethoven 2020 campaign, marking the start of a new partnership between the research centre and the yellow label.

Photo (from left to right): Malte Boecker, Executive Director of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and Artistic Director of BTHVN2020, Daniel Hope, celebrated violinist and incoming President of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Andris Nelsons, world-renowned conductor, and Dr. Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon.)

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“It’s music for our time and all time” – Andris Nelsons

3 September 2019 (Bonn, Germany) – Deutsche Grammophon today unveiled its major new Beethoven 2020 campaign at an exclusive launch event at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, marking the start of a new partnership between the research centre and the label that has recorded more of Beethoven’s music than any other. VIP guests and international media were invited to get a first look at The New Complete Edition – a remarkable new box set and digital series featuring over 250 artists and 175 hours of music – and hear from four key figures who will be celebrating the composer’s 250th anniversary: world-renowned conductor Andris Nelsons; celebrated violinist and incoming President of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Daniel Hope; Malte Boecker, Executive Director of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and Artistic Director of BTHVN2020; and President of Deutsche Grammophon, Dr Clemens Trautmann.

The centrepiece of the campaign is Beethoven – The New Complete Edition, which will be released on 8 November 2019. This 123-disc limited edition has been created in partnership with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and compiled in collaboration with Decca and ten other labels. It includes a new essay written by Professor Dr Christine Siegert, Director of the Beethoven Archive. This new collection represents the most up-to-date and comprehensive anthology of Beethoven’s music ever, recorded by some of the world’s greatest performers from Böhm to Brendel, Menuhin to Mutter and Perahia to Pollini. It includes a number of world premiere recordings: superstar pianist Lang Lang plays the little-known Menuett in C major (WoO 218) and Daniel Hope performs nine fragments or movements, including the last musical thought Beethoven wrote before his death. These are available now as a standalone digital album entitled “Rarities”, with many other recordings in the box set to be released digitally in the coming months.

“This selection of prize-winning recordings, rare gems and previously unreleased new recordings is a wellspring of musical inspiration and a perfect starting point for an extensive discovery of Beethoven’s legacy,” notes Malte Boecker of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn. Daniel Hope adds that he is “honoured to have recorded newly discovered works by Beethoven for the first time, in conjunction with the meticulous and scholarly work of the Beethoven-Haus”.

Deutsche Grammophon also has an ambitious array of new Beethoven releases. Andris Nelsons and the Wiener Philharmoniker are joining forces to record all nine symphonies – a project that promises to reveal the compelling partnership between the conductor acclaimed by Die Zeit as “a force of nature” and the most renowned Beethoven orchestra in the world. The new cycle, released on 4 October 2019, is presented in a deluxe box with five CDs and a single Blu-ray Audio disc in TrueHD sound quality. Nelsons and the orchestra will perform complete cycles of the symphonies next year in Paris, Hamburg, Munich and Vienna. Legendary Beethoven interpreter Maurizio Pollini will offer his mature thoughts on the composer’s late piano sonatas in a brand-new release. He will also perform at Munich’s Herkulessaal on 27 September 2019 in a special concert to kick off Beethoven’s 250th-anniversary campaign.

A new album from Jan Lisiecki, released on 13 September 2019, features the acclaimed young pianist’s fresh and insightful interpretations of the five piano concertos, in which he directs the Academy of St Martin in the Fields from the keyboard. A host of other Beethoven albums are set to follow in 2020. Award-winning pianist Víkingur Ólafsson presents his interpretation of the beloved “Moonlight” Sonata, Daniel Hope turns narrator for Beethoven for Children and Matthias Goerne explores the rich expressive range of Beethoven’s Lieder.

Further anniversary-year highlights include Rudolf Buchbinder’s Diabelli 2020 project, which pairs Beethoven’s famous set of piano variations with specially commissioned responses from today’s major composers including Brett Dean, Max Richter, Lera Auerbach, Krzysztof Penderecki, Rodion Shchedrin and Jörg Widmann; and Krystian Zimerman’s own distinctive survey of the complete piano concertos.

“Beethoven’s world was turned upside down when he was still a young man,” observes Dr Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon. “He was only in his late twenties when his hearing – the sense most vital to a composer – began to fail. By his mid-forties he was almost totally deaf. And yet he went on to write many of his greatest works long after he could no longer hear them in performance. The 250th anniversary of his birth is the time to reflect on Beethoven’s courage, a time to tell stories about his refusal to be silenced, a time to ‘Play on, play against all odds’. We’re delighted to work with our partners at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and to be implementing a range of ambitious global digital initiatives that will open fresh perspectives on the composer’s art. Beethoven will be at the heart of the Yellow Label’s programme, in recordings, online and in performance, from now until January 2021.”

The “Play on” spirit pervades Deutsche Grammophon’s digital anniversary projects and social media initiatives. As well as a brand-new website (www.beethoven-playon.com), there will be a playlist of historical Beethoven recordings made newly available as part of The Shellac Project, DG’s collaborative restoration project with Google Arts & Culture, through which digitised recordings are created from original matrices. In addition, there will be a new year-long video series from leading international music critics introducing 25 cult Beethoven albums. To bring these digital projects to life, there will also be a series of live events – from Beethoven Yellow Lounge events worldwide to a rich and illuminating BTHVN2020 programme with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn. Further projects and partnerships will be announced shortly.

In the lead-up to Beethoven’s 250th anniversary on 17 December 2020, Deutsche Grammophon will celebrate the composer’s musical legacy and shine a light on the works which have made him one of history’s most enduring figures. Together with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, the label aims to bring together a combination of pioneering scholarship and matchless artistic achievement to showcase the composer in the digital age. Play on!