Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven

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Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was aGerman composer and pianist. The crucial figure in the transition between the Classical andRomantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.

Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, Beethoven moved to Vienna in his early 20s, studying with Joseph Haydn and quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. His hearing began to deteriorate in the late 1790s, yet he continued to compose, conduct, and perform, even after becoming completely deaf.


A portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820
Signature of Ludwig van Beethoven

Background and early life

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Prince-Elector’s Palace (Kurfürstliches Schloss) in Bonn, where the Beethoven family had been active since the 1730s
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House of birth, Bonn, Bonngasse 20, now theBeethoven-Haus museum

Beethoven was the grandson of a musician of Flemishorigin named Lodewijk van Beethoven (1712–73). Beethoven was named after his grandfather, as Lodewijk is the Dutch cognate of Ludwig. Beethoven’s grandfather was employed as a bass singer at the court of theElector of Cologne, rising to become Kapellmeister (music director). He had one son, Johann van Beethoven (1740–1792), who worked as a tenor in the same musical establishment, also giving lessons on piano and violin to supplement his income. Johann married Maria Magdalena Keverich in 1767; she was the daughter of Johann Heinrich Keverich, who had been the head chef at the court of the Archbishopric of Trier.

Beethoven was born of this marriage in Bonn. There is no authentic record of his birthday; however, the registry of his baptism, in a Roman Catholic service at the Parish of St. Regius on 17 December, 1770, survives. As children of that era were traditionally baptised the day after birth in the Catholic Rhine country, and it is known that Beethoven’s family and his teacher Johann Albrechtsberger celebrated his birthday on 16 December, most scholars accept 16 December, 1770 as Beethoven’s date of birth. Of the seven children born to Johann van Beethoven, only Ludwig, the second-born, and two younger brothers survived infancy. Caspar Anton Carl was born on 8 April 1774, and Nikolaus Johann, the youngest, was born on 2 October 1776.

Beethoven’s first music teacher was his father. Tradition has it that Johann van Beethoven was a harsh instructor, and that the child Beethoven, “made to stand at the keyboard, was often in tears. However, the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians claimed that no solid documentation supported this, and asserted that “speculation and myth-making have both been productive. Beethoven had other local teachers: the court organist Gilles van den Eeden (d. 1782), Tobias Friedrich Pfeiffer (a family friend, who taught Beethoven piano), and a relative, Franz Rovantini (violin and viola). His musical talent manifested itself early. Johann, aware ofLeopold Mozart‘s successes in this area (with son Wolfgang and daughter Nannerl), attempted to exploit his son as a child prodigy, claiming that Beethoven was six (he was seven) on the posters for Beethoven’s first public performance inMarch 1778.

Some time after 1779, Beethoven began his studies with his most important teacher in Bonn,Christian Gottlob Neefe, who was appointed the Court’s Organist in that year. Neefe taught Beethoven composition, and by March 1783 had helped him write his first published composition: a set of keyboard variations (WoO 63). Beethoven soon began working with Neefe as assistant organist, first on an unpaid basis (1781), and then as paid employee (1784) of the court chapel conducted by the Kapellmeister Andrea Luchesi. His first three piano sonatas, named “Kurfürst” (“Elector”) for their dedication to the Elector Maximilian Frederick, were published in 1783. Maximilian Frederick, who died in 1784, not long after Beethoven’s appointment as assistant organist, had noticed Beethoven’s talent early, and had subsidised and encouraged the young man’s musical studies.

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A portrait of the 13-year-old Beethoven by an unknown Bonn master (c. 1783)

Maximilian Frederick’s successor as the Elector of Bonn wasMaximilian Franz, the youngest son of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and he brought notable changes to Bonn. Echoing changes made in Vienna by his brother Joseph, he introduced reforms based on Enlightenment philosophy, with increased support for education and the arts. The teenage Beethoven was almost certainly influenced by these changes. He may also have been influenced at this time by ideas prominent infreemasonry, as Neefe and others around Beethoven were members of the local chapter of the Order of the Illuminati.

In March 1787 Beethoven traveled to Vienna (possibly at another’s expense) for the first time, apparently in the hope of studying with Mozart. The details of their relationship are uncertain, including whether or not they actually met. After just two weeks there Beethoven learned that his mother was severely ill, and returned home. His mother died shortly thereafter, and the father lapsed deeper into alcoholism. As a result, Beethoven became responsible for the care of his two younger brothers, and he spent the next five years in Bonn.

Beethoven was introduced to several people who became important in his life in these years. Franz Wegeler, a young medical student, introduced him to the von Breuning family (one of whose daughters Wegeler eventually married). Beethoven was often at the von Breuning household, where he was exposed to German and classical literature, and where he also taught piano to some of the children. The von Breuning family environment was also less stressful than his own, which was increasingly dominated by his father’s decline. Beethoven came to the attention of Count Ferdinand von Waldstein, who became a lifelong friend and financial supporter.

In 1789 Beethoven obtained a legal order by which half of his father’s salary was paid directly to him for support of the family. He also contributed further to the family’s income by playing violain the court orchestra. This familiarised Beethoven with a variety of operas, including three ofMozart‘s operas performed at court in this period. He also befriended Anton Reicha, a flautist and violinist of about his own age who was the conductor’s nephew.

Establishing his career in Vienna

With the Elector’s help, Beethoven moved to Vienna in 1792. He was probably first introduced to Joseph Haydn in late 1790, when the latter was traveling to London and stopped in Bonn around Christmas time. They met in Bonn on Haydn’s return trip from London to Vienna in July 1792, and it is likely that arrangements were made at that time for Beethoven to study with the old master. In the intervening years, Beethoven composed a significant number of works (none were published at the time, and most are now listed as works without opus) that demonstrated his growing range and maturity. Musicologists identified a theme similar to those of his third symphony in a set of variations written in 1791. Beethoven left Bonn for Vienna in November 1792, amid rumors of war spilling out of France, and learned shortly after his arrival that his father had died. Count Waldstein in his farewell note to Beethoven wrote: “Through uninterrupted diligence you will receive Mozart’s spirit through Haydn’s hands. Beethoven responded to the widespread feeling that he was a successor to the recently deceased Mozart over the next few years by studying that master’s work and writing works with a distinctly Mozartean flavor.

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Portrait of Beethoven as a young man by Carl Traugott Riedel (1769–1832)

Beethoven did not immediately set out to establish himself as a composer, but rather devoted himself to study and performance. Working under Haydn’s direction, he sought to master counterpoint. He also studied violin under Ignaz Schuppanzigh. Early in this period, he also began receiving occasional instruction from Antonio Salieri, primarily in Italian vocal composition style; this relationship persisted until at least 1802, and possibly 1809. With Haydn’s departure for England in 1794, Beethoven was expected by the Elector to return home. He chose instead to remain in Vienna, continuing his instruction in counterpoint with Johann Albrechtsberger and other teachers. Although his stipend from the Elector expired, a number of Viennese noblemen had already recognised his ability and offered him financial support, among them Prince Joseph Franz LobkowitzPrince Karl Lichnowsky, and BaronGottfried van Swieten.

By 1793, Beethoven established a reputation as an improviser in the salons of the nobility, often playing the preludes and fugues of J. S. Bach‘s Well-Tempered Clavier. His friend Nikolaus Simrock had begun publishing his compositions; the first are believed to be a set of variations (WoO 66). By 1793, he had established a reputation in Vienna as a piano virtuoso, but he apparently withheld works from publication so that their publication in 1795 would have greater impact. Beethoven’s first public performance in Vienna was in March 1795, a concert in which he debuted a piano concerto. It is uncertain whether this was the First or Second. Documentary evidence is unclear, and both concertos were in a similar state of near-completion (neither was completed or published for several years). Shortly after this performance, he arranged for the publication of the first of his compositions to which he assigned an opus number, the piano trios of Opus 1. These works were dedicated to his patron Prince Lichnowsky, and were a financial success; Beethoven’s profits were nearly sufficient to cover his living expenses for a year.

Musical maturity

Between 1798 and 1802 Beethoven tackled what he considered the pinnacles of composition: thestring quartet and the symphony. With the composition of his first six string quartets (Op. 18)between 1798 and 1800 (written on commission for, and dedicated to, Prince Lobkowitz), and their publication in 1801, along with premieres of the First and Second Symphonies in 1800 and 1802, Beethoven was justifiably considered one of the most important of a generation of young composers following Haydn and Mozart. He continued to write in other forms, turning out widely known piano sonatas like the “Pathétique” sonata (Op. 13), which Cooper describes as “surpass[ing] any of his previous compositions, in strength of character, depth of emotion, level of originality, and ingenuity of motivic and tonal manipulation. He also completed his Septet(Op. 20) in 1799, which was one of his most popular works during his lifetime.

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Beethoven in 1803, painted byChristian Horneman

For the premiere of his First Symphony, Beethoven hired the Burgtheater on 2 April 1800, and staged an extensive program of music, including works by Haydn and Mozart, as well as the Septet, the First Symphony, and one of his piano concertos (the latter three works all then unpublished). The concert, which the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung described as “the most interesting concert in a long time,” was not without difficulties; among the criticisms was that “the players did not bother to pay any attention to the soloist.

While Mozart and Haydn were undeniable influences (for example, Beethoven’s quintet for piano and winds is said to bear a strong resemblance to Mozart’s work for the same configuration, albeit with his own distinctive touches), other composers like Muzio Clementi were also stylistic influences. Beethoven’s melodies, musical development, use of modulation and texture, and characterization of emotion all set him apart from his influences, and heightened the impact some of his early works made when they were first published. By the end of 1800 Beethoven and his music were already much in demand from patrons and publishers.

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Ludwig van Beethoven: detail of an 1804 portrait by Joseph Willibrod Mähler. The complete painting depicts Beethoven with alyre-guitar

In May of 1799, Beethoven taught piano to the daughters of Hungarian Countess Anna Brunsvik. During this time, Beethoven fell in love with the younger daughter Josephine who has later become the subject of speculation about his “Immortal Beloved“. Shortly after these lessons, she was married to Count Josef Deym. Beethoven was a regular visitor at their house, teaching and playing at parties. While her marriage was by all accounts happy (despite initial financial problems), the couple had four children, and her relationship with Beethoven intensified after Deym died suddenly in 1804.

Beethoven had few other students. From 1801 to 1805, he tutored Ferdinand Ries, who went on to become a composer and later wrote Beethoven remembered, a book about their encounters. The young Carl Czerny studied with Beethoven from 1801 to 1803. Czerny went on to become a renowned music teacher himself, instructing Franz Liszt, and gave the Vienna premiere of Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto (the “Emperor”) in 1812.

Beethoven’s compositions between 1800 and 1802 were dominated by two works, although he continued to produce smaller works, including the Moonlight Sonata. In the spring of 1801 he completed The Creatures of Prometheus, a ballet. The work received numerous performances in 1801 and 1802, and Beethoven rushed to publish a piano arrangement to capitalise on its early popularity. In the spring of 1802 he completed the Second Symphony, intended for performance at a concert that was ultimately canceled. The symphony received its premiere at a subscription concert in April 1803 at the Theater an der Wien, where Beethoven had been appointed composer in residence. In addition to the Second Symphony, the concert also featured the First Symphony, the Third Piano Concerto, and the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives. While reviews were mixed, the concert was a financial success; Beethoven was able to charge three times the cost of a typical concert ticket.

Beethoven’s business dealings with publishers also began to improve in 1802 when his brother Carl, who had previously assisted him more casually, began to assume a larger role in the management of his affairs. In addition to negotiating higher prices for recently composed works, Carl also began selling some of Beethoven’s earlier unpublished works, and encouraged Beethoven (against the latter’s preference) to also make arrangements and transcriptions of his more popular works for other instrument combinations. Beethoven acceded to these requests, as he could not prevent publishers from hiring others to do similar arrangements of his works.

Loss of hearing

Around 1796, Beethoven began to lose his hearing. He suffered from a severe form of tinnitus, a “ringing” in his ears that made it hard for him to hear music; he also avoided conversation. The cause of Beethoven’s deafness is unknown, but it has variously been attributed tosyphilislead poisoningtyphusauto-immune disorder (such as systemic lupus erythematosus), and even his habit of immersing his head in cold water to stay awake. The explanation, from the autopsy of the time, is that he had a “distended inner ear,” which developed lesions over time. Because of the high levels of lead found in samples of Beethoven’s hair, that hypothesis has been extensively analyzed. While the likelihood of lead poisoning is very high, the deafness associated with it seldom takes the form that Beethoven exhibited.

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Beethoven in 1815 portrait byJoseph Willibrod Mähler

As early as 1801, Beethoven wrote to friends describing his symptoms and the difficulties they caused in both professional and social settings (although it is likely some of his close friends were already aware of the problems). Beethoven, on the advice of his doctor, lived in the small Austrian town ofHeiligenstadt, just outside Vienna, from April to October 1802 in an attempt to come to terms with his condition. There he wrote his Heiligenstadt Testament, a letter to his brothers which records his thoughts of suicide due to his growing deafness and records his resolution to continue living for and through his art. Over time, his hearing loss became profound: there is a well-attested story that, at the end of the premiere of his Ninth Symphony, he had to be turned around to see the tumultuous applause of the audience; hearing nothing, he wept. Beethoven’s hearing loss did not prevent his composing music, but it made playing at concerts—a lucrative source of income—increasingly difficult. After a failed attempt in 1811 to perform his own Piano Concerto No. 5 (the “Emperor”), which was premiered by his student Carl Czerny, he never performed in public again.

A large collection of Beethoven’s hearing aids, such as a special ear horn, can be viewed at the Beethoven House Museum in Bonn, Germany. Despite his obvious distress, Carl Czernyremarked that Beethoven could still hear speech and music normally until 1812. By 1814 however, Beethoven was almost totally deaf, and when a group of visitors saw him play a loud arpeggio of thundering bass notes at his piano remarking, “Ist es nicht schön?” (Is it not beautiful?), they felt deep sympathy considering his courage and sense of humor (he lost the ability to hear higher frequencies first).

As a result of Beethoven’s hearing loss, a unique historical record has been preserved: his conversation books. Used primarily in the last ten or so years of his life, his friends wrote in these books so that he could know what they were saying, and he then responded either orally or in the book. The books contain discussions about music and other matters, and give insights into his thinking; they are a source for investigation into how he felt his music should be performed, and also his perception of his relationship to art. Out of a total of 400 conversation books, 264 were destroyed (and others were altered) after Beethoven’s death by Anton Schindler, in an attempt to paint an idealised picture of the composer.


Beethoven’s patron, Archduke Rudolph

While Beethoven earned income from publication of his works and from public performances, he also depended on the generosity of patrons for income, for whom he gave private performances and copies of works they commissioned for an exclusive period prior to their publication. Some of his early patrons, including Prince Lobkowitz and Prince Lichnowsky, gave him annual stipends in addition to commissioning works and purchasing published works.

Perhaps Beethoven’s most important aristocratic patron wasArchduke Rudolph, the youngest son of Emperor Leopold II, who in 1803 or 1804 began to study piano and composition with Beethoven. The cleric (Cardinal-Priest) and the composer became friends, and their meetings continued until 1824.Beethoven dedicated 14 compositions to Rudolph, including the Archduke Trio (1811) and his great Missa Solemnis (1823). Rudolph, in turn, dedicated one of his own compositions to Beethoven. The letters Beethoven wrote to Rudolph are today kept at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna.

In the Autumn of 1808, after having been rejected for a position at the royal theatre, Beethoven received an offer from Napoleon‘s brother Jérôme Bonaparte, then king of Westphalia, for a well-paid position as Kapellmeister at the court in Cassel. To persuade him to stay in Vienna, the Archduke Rudolph, Prince Kinsky and Prince Lobkowitz, after receiving representations from the composer’s friends, pledged to pay Beethoven a pension of 4000 florins a year. Only Archduke Rudolph paid his share of the pension on the agreed date. Kinsky, immediately called to military duty, did not contribute and soon died after falling from his horse. Lobkowitz stopped paying in September 1811. No successors came forward to continue the patronage, and Beethoven relied mostly on selling composition rights and a small pension after 1815. The effects of these financial arrangements were undermined to some extent by war with France, which caused significant inflation when the government printed money to fund its war efforts.

The Middle period

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Beethoven Monument in Bonn, Muensterplatz

Beethoven’s return to Vienna from Heiligenstadt was marked by a change in musical style, now recognised as the start of his “Middle” or “Heroic” period. According to Carl Czerny, Beethoven said, “I am not satisfied with the work I have done so far. From now on I intend to take a new way. This “Heroic” phase was characterised by a large number of original works composed on a grand scale. The first major work employing this new style was the Third Symphony in E flat, known as the “Eroica.” This work was longer and larger in scope than any previous symphony. When it premiered in early 1805 it received a mixed reception. Some listeners objected to its length or misunderstood its structure, while others viewed it as a masterpiece.

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Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (Op. 67)was composed during Beethoven’s Middle period. (first movement)

Beethoven composed prolifically throughout the Middle period. The period is sometimes associated with a “heroic manner” of composing. The use of the term “heroic” has become increasingly controversial in Beethoven scholarship. The term is more frequently used as an alternate name for the Middle period. The appropriateness of the term “heroic” to describe the Middle period has been questioned as well. While some of Beethoven’s Middle period works, like the Third and Fifth Symphonies, are easily associated with the term “heroic”, many other middle period works, like the “Pastoral” Sixth Symphony, are not obviously “heroic”.

Some of the Middle period works extend the musical language Beethoven had inherited from Haydn and Mozart. The Middle period work includes the Third through Eighth Symphonies, the string quartets 7–11, the “Waldstein” and “Appassionata” piano sonatas, Christ on the Mount of Olives, the opera Fidelio, the Violin Concerto and many other compositions. During this time Beethoven earned his living from publishing and performances of his work, and from his patrons. His position at the Theater an der Wien was terminated when the theater changed management in early 1804, and he was forced to move temporarily to the suburbs of Vienna with his friend Stephan von Breuning. This slowed work on Fidelio, his largest work to date, for a time. It was delayed again by the Austrian censor, and finally premiered in November 1805 to houses that were nearly empty because of the French occupation of the city. In addition to being a financial failure, this version of Fidelio was also a critical failure, and Beethoven began revising it.

The Middle period string quartets are Op. 59 no 1Op 59 no 2Op 59 no 3 (The Razumowski quartets), Op. 74 (the Harp) and Op 95. Beethoven’s publisher said that the world was not ready for them. The slow movement of Op. 59 no 2 has been described as the closest Beethoven got to heaven. Beethoven said that the Op. 95 quartet was not suitable for public performance.

The work of the Middle period established Beethoven’s reputation as a master. In a review from 1810, he was enshrined by E. T. A. Hoffmann as one of the three great “Romantic” composers; Hoffman called Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony “one of the most important works of the age.” A particular trauma for Beethoven occurred during this period in May 1809, when the attacking forces of Napoleon bombarded Vienna. According to Ferdinand Ries, Beethoven, very worried that the noise would destroy what remained of his hearing, hid in the basement of his brother’s house, covering his ears with pillows. He was composing the “Emperor” Concerto at the time.

Personal and family difficulties

Beethoven met Giulietta Guicciardi in about 1800 through the Brunsvik family. He mentions his love for her in a November 1801 letter to his boyhood friend, Franz Wegeler. Beethoven dedicated to Giulietta his Sonata No. 14, popularly known as the “Moonlight” Sonata. Marriage plans were thwarted by Giulietta’s father and perhaps Beethoven’s common lineage. In 1803 she married Count Wenzel Robert von Gallenberg (1783–1839), another amateur composer.

Beethoven’s relationship with Josephine Deym notably deepened after the death of her first husband in 1804. There is some evidence that Beethoven may have proposed to her, at least informally. While his feelings were apparently reciprocated, she turned him down, and their relationship effectively ended in 1807. She cited her “duty,” an apparent reference to the fact that she was born of nobility and he was a commoner. I is also likely that he considered proposing (whether he actually did or not is unknown) to Therese Malfatti, the supposed dedicatee of “Für Elise” in 1810; his common status may also have interfered with those plans.

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Life mask made in 1812

In the spring of 1811 Beethoven became seriously ill, suffering headaches and high fever. On the advice of his doctor, he spent six weeks in the Bohemian spa town of Teplitz. The following winter, which was dominated by work on the Seventh symphony, he was again ill, and decided to spend the summer of 1812 at Teplitz. It is certain that he was at Teplitz when he wrote a love letter to his “Immortal Beloved. While the identity of the intended recipient is subject to ongoing debate, the two candidates preferred by most mainstream scholars areAntonie Brentano and Josephine Brunsvik. Beethoven traveled to Karlsbad in late July, where he stayed in the same guesthouse as the Brentanos. After traveling with them for a time, he returned to Teplitz, where after another bout of gastric illness, he left for Linz to visit his brother Johann.

Beethoven’s visit to his brother was an attempt to end the latter’s cohabitation with Therese Obermayer, a woman who already had an illegitimate child. He was unable to convince Johann to end the relationship, so he appealed to the local civic and religious authorities. The end result of Beethoven’s meddling was that Johann and Therese married on 9 November.

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Beethoven in 1814. Portrait by Louis-René Létronne.

In early 1813 Beethoven apparently went through a difficult emotional period, and his compositional output dropped. Historians have suggested a variety of causes, including his lack of romantic success. His personal appearance, which had generally been neat, degraded, as did his manners in public, especially when dining. Some of his (married) desired romantic partners had children (leading to assertions among historians of Beethoven’s possible paternity), and his brother Carl was seriously ill. Beethoven took care of his brother and his family, an expense that he claimed left him penniless. He was unable to obtain a date for a concert in the spring of 1813, which, if successful, would have provided him with significant funds.

Beethoven was finally motivated to begin significant composition again in June 1813, when news arrived of the defeat of one of Napoleon’s armies atVitoria, Spain, by a coalition of forces under the Duke of Wellington. This news stimulated him to write the battle symphony known as Wellington’s Victory. It premiered on 8 December at a charity concert for victims of the war along with his Seventh Symphony. The work was a popular hit, likely because of its programmatic style that was entertaining and easy to understand. It received repeat performances at concerts Beethoven staged in January and February 1814. Beethoven’s renewed popularity led to demands for a revival of Fidelio, which, in its third revised version, was also well-received at its July opening. That summer he composed a piano sonata for the first time in five years (No. 27, Opus 90). This work was in a markedly more Romantic style than his earlier sonatas. He was also one of many composers who produced music in a patriotic vein to entertain the many heads of state and diplomats that came to the Congress of Viennathat began in November 1814. His output of songs included his only song cycle, “An die ferne Geliebte,” and the extraordinarily expressive, but almost incoherent, “An die Hoffnung” (Opus 94).

Custody struggle and illness

Between 1815 and 1817 Beethoven’s output dropped again. Beethoven attributed part of this to a lengthy illness (he called it an “inflammatory fever”) that afflicted him for more than a year, starting in October 1816. Biographers have speculated on a variety of other reasons that also contributed to the decline, including the difficulties in the personal lives of his would-be paramours and the harsh censorship policies of the Austrian government. The illness and death of his brother Carl from consumption likely also played a role.

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Beethoven in 1818 by August Klöber

Carl had been ill for some time, and Beethoven spent a small fortune in 1815 on his care. When he finally died on 15 November 1815, Beethoven immediately became embroiled in a protracted legal dispute with Carl’s wife Johanna over custody of their son Karl, then nine years old. Beethoven, who considered Johanna an unfit parent because of her morals (she had an illegitimate child by a different father before marrying Carl, and had been convicted of theft) and financial management, had successfully applied to Carl to have himself named sole guardian of the boy. A late codicil to Carl’s will gave him and Johanna joint guardianship. While Beethoven was successful at having his nephew removed from her custody in February 1816, the case was not fully resolved until 1820, and he was frequently preoccupied by the demands of the litigation and seeing to Karl’s welfare, whom he first placed in a private school. The custody fight brought out the worst aspects of Beethoven’s character; in the lengthy court cases Beethoven stopped at nothing to ensure that he achieved this goal, interrupting his work for long periods.

The Austrian court system had one court for the nobility and members of the Landtafel, the R&I Landrechte, and many others for commoners, among them the Civil Court of the Vienna Magistrate. Beethoven disguised the fact that the Dutch “van” in his name did not denote nobility as does the German “von, and his case was tried in the Landrechte. Owing to his influence with the court, Beethoven felt assured of the favorable outcome of being awarded sole guardianship. While giving evidence to the Landrechte, however, Beethoven inadvertently admitted that he was not nobly born. The case was transferred to the Magistracy on 18 December 1818, where he lost sole guardianship.

Beethoven appealed, and regained custody. Johanna’s appeal to the Emperor was not successful: the Emperor “washed his hands of the matter.” Beethoven stopped at nothing to blacken her name, as can be read in surviving court papers. During the years of custody that followed, Beethoven attempted to ensure that Karl lived to the highest moral standards. His overbearing manner and frequent interference in his nephew’s life apparently drove Karl to attempt suicide on 31 July 1826 by shooting himself in the head. He survived, and was brought to his mother’s house, where he recuperated. He and Beethoven reconciled, but Karl insisted on joining the army, and last saw Beethoven in early 1827.

The only major works Beethoven produced during this time were two cello sonatas, a piano sonata, and collections of folk song settings. He began sketches for the Ninth Symphony in 1817

Late works

Beethoven began a renewed study of older music, including works by J. S. Bach and Handel, that were then being published in the first attempts at complete editions. He composed theConsecration of the House Overture, which was the first work to attempt to incorporate his new influences. A new style, now called his “late period,” emerged when he returned to the keyboard to compose his first piano sonatas in almost a decade. The works of the late period are commonly held to include the last five piano sonatas and the Diabelli Variations, the last two sonatas for cello and piano, the late quartets (see below), and two works for very large forces: theMissa Solemnis and the Ninth Symphony.

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Beethoven in 1823; copy of a destroyed portrait by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller

By early 1818 Beethoven’s health had improved, and his nephew moved in with him in January. On the downside, his hearing had deteriorated to the point that conversation became difficult, necessitating the use of conversation books. His household management had also improved somewhat; Nanette Streicher, who had assisted in his care during his illness, continued to provide some support, and he finally found a skilled cook. His musical output in 1818 was still somewhat reduced, but included song collections and the Hammerklavier Sonata, as well as sketches for two symphonies that eventually coalesced into the epic Ninth. In 1819 he was again preoccupied by the legal processes around Karl, and began work on the Diabelli Variations and the Missa Solemnis.

For the next few years he continued to work on the Missa, composing piano sonatas and bagatelles to satisfy the demands of publishers and the need for income, and completing the Diabelli Variations. He was ill again for an extended time in 1821, and completed the Missa in 1823, three years after its original due date. He also opened discussions with his publishers over the possibility of producing a complete edition of his work, an idea that was arguably not fully realised until 1971. Beethoven’s brother Johann began to take a hand in his business affairs around this time, much in the way Carl had earlier, locating older unpublished works to offer for publication and offering the Missa to multiple publishers with the goal of getting a higher price for it.

Two commissions in 1822 improved Beethoven’s financial prospects. The Philharmonic Society of London offered a commission for a symphony, and Prince Nikolay Golitsin of St. Petersburgoffered to pay Beethoven’s price for three string quartets. The first of these spurred Beethoven to finish the Ninth Symphony, which premiered, along with the Missa Solemnis, on 7 May 1824, to great acclaim at the Kärntnertortheater. The Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung gushed, “inexhaustible genius had shown us a new world,” and Carl Czerny wrote that his symphony “breathes such a fresh, lively, indeed youthful spirit […] so much power, innovation, and beauty as ever [came] from the head of this original man, although he certainly sometimes led the old wigs to shake their heads.” Unlike his earlier concerts, Beethoven made little money on this one, as the expenses of mounting it were significantly higher. A second concert on 24 May, in which the producer guaranteed Beethoven a minimum fee, was poorly attended; nephew Karl noted that “many people have already gone into the country.” It was Beethoven’s last public concer.

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Beethoven - Piano sonata in C minor (opus 111), movement 1.ogg

The piano sonata in C minor (Op. 111)was written between 1821 and 1822, during Beethoven’s Late period. (first movement)

Beethoven then turned to writing the string quartets for Golitsin. This series of quartets, known as the “Late Quartets,” went far beyond what either musicians or audiences were ready for at that time. One musician commented that “we know there is something there, but we do not know what it is.” Composer Louis Spohrcalled them “indecipherable, uncorrected horrors,” though that opinion has changed considerably from the time of their first bewildered reception. They continued (and continue) to inspire musicians and composers, from Richard Wagner to Béla Bartók, for their unique forms and ideas. Of the late quartets, Beethoven’s favorite was the Fourteenth Quartet, op. 131 in C# minor, which he rated as his most perfect single work. The last musical wish of Schubert was to hear the Op. 131 quartet, which was done on 14 November 1828, five days before Schubert’s death.

Beethoven wrote the last quartets amidst failing health. In April 1825 he was bedridden, and remained ill for about a month. The illness—or more precisely, his recovery from it—is remembered for having given rise to the deeply felt slow movement of the Fifteenth Quartet, which Beethoven called “Holy song of thanks (‘Heiliger dankgesang’) to the divinity, from one made well.” He went on to complete the (misnumbered) ThirteenthFourteenth, and Sixteenth Quartets. The last work completed by Beethoven was the substitute final movement of the Thirteenth Quartet, deemed necessary to replace the difficult Große Fuge. Shortly thereafter, in December 1826, illness struck again, with episodes of vomiting and diarrhea that nearly ended his life.

Illness and death


Beethoven’s death mask byJosef Danhauser

File:Zentralfriedhof Vienna - Beethoven.JPG

Beethoven’s grave site, ViennaZentralfriedhof

Beethoven was bedridden for most of his remaining months, and many friends came to visit. He died on Monday, 26 March 1827, during a thunderstorm. His friend Anselm Hüttenbrenner, who was present at the time, claimed that there was a peal of thunder at the moment of death. An autopsy revealed significant liver damage, which may have been due to heavy alcohol consumption.

Beethoven’s funeral procession on 29 March 1827 was attended by an estimated 20,000 Viennese citizens. Franz Schubert, who died the following year and was buried next to Beethoven, was one of the torchbearers. Unlike Mozart, who was buried anonymously in a communal grave (the custom at the time), Beethoven was buried in a dedicated grave in theWähring cemetery, north-west of Vienna, after a requiem mass at the church of the Holy Trinity (Dreifaltigkeitskirche). His remains were exhumed for study in 1862, and moved in 1888 to Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof.

There is dispute about the cause of Beethoven’s death; alcoholic cirrhosissyphilisinfectious hepatitislead poisoningsarcoidosis and Whipple’s disease have all been proposed. Friends and visitors before and after his death clipped locks of his hair, some of which have been preserved and subjected to additional analysis, as have skull fragments removed during the 1862exhumation. Some of these analyses have led to controversial assertions that Beethoven was accidentally poisoned to death by excessive doses of lead-based treatments administered under instruction from his doctor.


Beethoven’s personal life was troubled by his encroaching deafness and irritability brought on by chronic abdominal pain (beginning in his twenties) which led him to contemplate suicide (documented in his Heiligenstadt Testament). Beethoven was often irascible and may have suffered from bipolar disorder, as discussed in The Key to Genius: Manic Depression and the Creative Life by D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb. Nevertheless, he had a close and devoted circle of friends all his life, thought to have been attracted by his strength of personality. Toward the end of his life, Beethoven’s friends competed in their efforts to help him cope with his incapacities.

Sources show Beethoven’s disdain for authority, and for social rank. He stopped performing at the piano if the audience chatted amongst themselves, or afforded him less than their full attention. At soirées, he refused to perform if suddenly called upon to do so. Eventually, after many confrontations, the Archduke Rudolph decreed that the usual rules of court etiquette did not apply to Beethoven.

Beethoven was attracted to the ideals of the Enlightenment. In 1804, when Napoleon’s imperial ambitions became clear, Beethoven took hold of the title-page of his Third Symphony and scratched the name Bonaparte out so violently that he made a hole in the paper. He later changed the work’s title to “Sinfonia Eroica, composta per festeggiare il sovvenire d’un grand’uom” (“Heroic Symphony, composed to celebrate the memory of a great man”), and he rededicated it to his patron, Prince Joseph Franz von Lobkowitz, at whose palace it was first performed.

The fourth movement of his Ninth Symphony features an elaborate choral setting of Schiller’s OdeAn die Freude (“Ode to Joy”), an optimistic hymn championing the brotherhood of humanity.

Religious views

Scholars disagree about Beethoven’s religious beliefs, and about the role they played in his work. It has been asserted, but not proven, that Beethoven was a Freemason.


File:Beethoven bust statue by Hagen.jpg

A bust based upon Beethoven’s life mask

Beethoven is acknowledged as one of the giants of classical music; occasionally he is referred to as one of the “three Bs” (along with Bach and Brahms) who epitomise that tradition. He was also a pivotal figure in the transition from the 18th century musical classicism to 19th century romanticism, and his influence on subsequent generations of composers was profound.


Beethoven composed in several musical genres, and for a variety of instrument combinations. His works for symphony orchestra include nine symphonies (the Ninth Symphony includes a chorus), and about a dozen pieces of “occasional” music. He wrote seven concerti for one or more soloists and orchestra, as well as four shorter works that include soloists accompanied by orchestra. His only opera is Fidelio; other vocal works with orchestral accompaniment include two masses and a number of shorter works.

His large body of compositions for piano includes 32 piano sonatas and numerous shorter pieces, including arrangements of some of his other works. Works with piano accompaniment include 10 violin sonatas, 5 cello sonatas, and a sonata for French horn, as well as numerouslieder.

Beethoven also wrote a significant quantity of chamber music. In addition to 16 string quartets, he wrote five works for string quintet, seven for piano trio, five for string trio, and more than a dozen works for various combinations of wind instruments.

The three periods

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Sample of the Für Elise from Beethoven

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Beethoven’s compositional career is usually divided into Early, Middle, and Late periods. In this scheme, his early period is taken to last until about 1802, the middle period from about 1803 to about 1814, and the late period from about 1815.

In his Early period, Beethoven’s work was strongly influenced by his predecessors Haydn andMozart. He also explored new directions and gradually expanded the scope and ambition of his work. Some important pieces from the Early period are the first and second symphonies, the set of six string quartets Opus 18, the first two piano concertos, and the first dozen or so piano sonatas, including the famous Pathétique sonata, Op. 13.

His Middle (Heroic) period began shortly after Beethoven’s personal crisis brought on by his recognition of encroaching deafness. It includes large-scale works that express heroism and struggle. Middle-period works include six symphonies (Nos. 3–8), the last three piano concertos, the Triple Concerto and violin concerto, five string quartets (Nos. 7–11), several piano sonatas (including the MoonlightWaldstein and Appassionata sonatas), the Kreutzer violin sonata and Beethoven’s only operaFidelio.

Beethoven’s Late period began around 1815. Works from this period are characterised by their intellectual depth, their formal innovations, and their intense, highly personal expression. TheString Quartet, Op. 131 has seven linked movements, and the Ninth Symphony adds choral forces to the orchestra in the last movement. Other compositions from this period include theMissa Solemnis, the last five string quartets (including the massive Große Fuge) and the last five piano sonatas.

Beethoven on screen

Eroica is a 1949 Austrian film depicting life and works of Beethoven (Ewald Balser), which also entered into the 1949 Cannes Film Festival. The film is directed by Walter Kolm-Veltée, produced by Guido Bagier with Walter Kolm-Veltée and written by Walter Kolm-Veltée with Franz Tassié.

In 1962, Walt Disney produced a made-for-television and extremely fictionalised life of Beethoven titled The Magnificent Rebel. The film was given a two-part premiere on the Walt Disney anthology television series and released to theatres in Europe. It starred Karlheinz Böhm as Beethoven.

In 1994 a film about Beethoven (Gary Oldman) titled Immortal Beloved was written and directed by Bernard Rose. The story follows Beethoven’s secretary and first biographerAnton Schindler(portrayed by Jeroen Krabbé), as he attempts to ascertain the true identity of the Unsterbliche Geliebte (Immortal Beloved) addressed in three letters found in the late composer’s private papers. Schindler journeys throughout the Austrian Empire, interviewing women who might be potential candidates, as well as through Beethoven’s own tumultuous life. Filming took place in the Czech cities of Prague and Kromeriz and the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna, Austria, between 23 May and 29 July 1994.

In 2003 a made-for-television BBC/Opus Arte film Eroica was released, with Ian Hart as Beethoven and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner performing the Eroica Symphony in its entirety. The subject of the film is the first performance of the Eroica Symphony in 1804 at the palace of Prince Lobkowitz (played by Jack Davenport).

In a 2005 three-part BBC miniseries, Beethoven was played by Paul Rhys.

A movie titled Copying Beethoven was released in 2006, starring Ed Harris as Beethoven. This film was a fictionalised account of Beethoven’s last days, and his struggle to produce his Ninth Symphony before he died.


Beethoven’s LastNight

The Beethoven Monument, Bonn was unveiled in August 1845, in honour of his 75th anniversary. It was the first statue of a composer created in Germany, and the music festival that accompanied the unveiling was the impetus for the very hasty construction of the originalBeethovenhalle in Bonn (it was designed and built within less than a month, on the urging ofFranz Liszt). A statue to Mozart had been unveiled in SalzburgAustria in 1842. Vienna did not honour Beethoven with a statue until 1880.

List of compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven

(List of compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven)

The musical works of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) are listed below. Two overlapping lists of Beethoven’s works are presented here. The first is a listing of his most well-known works classified by genre. The second is a larger list of works, classified by various numbering systems. Years in parentheses denote dates of composition or publication.

The most common methods of numbering Beethoven’s works are by Opus number, assigned by Beethoven’s publishers during his lifetime, and by number within genre. For example, the 14th string quartet, published as Opus 131, may be referenced either as “String Quartet No. 14” or “the Opus 131 String Quartet“.

Many works that were unpublished have been assigned either “WoO” or “Anh” numbers. For example, the short piano piece “Für Elise“, is more fully known as the “Bagatelle in A minor, WoO 59 (‘Für Elise’)”. Some works are also commonly referred to by their nicknames, such as the ‘Kreutzer’ Violin Sonata, or the Eroica Symphony.

The listings that follow include all of these relevant identifiers. While other catalogues of Beethoven’s works exist, the numbers here represent the most commonly used and widely known.

List of works by genre

Beethoven, caricatured by J. P. Lyser

Orchestral music

Beethoven wrote nine symphonies, nine concertos, and a variety of other orchestral music, ranging from overtures and incidental music for theatrical productions to other miscellaneous “occasional” works, written for a particular occasion. Of the concertos, seven are widely known (one violin concerto, five piano concertos, and one triple concerto for violin, piano, and cello); the other two are an unpublished early piano concerto (WoO 4) and an arrangement of the Violin Concerto for piano and orchestra (Opus 61a).


  • Opus 21: Symphony No. 1 in C major (composed 1799–1800, premièred 1800)
  • Opus 36: Symphony No. 2 in D major (composed 1801–02, premièred 1803)
  • Opus 55: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major (“Eroica”) (composed 1803/04, premièred 1804)
  • Opus 60: Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major (composed 1806, premièred 1807)
  • Opus 67: Symphony No. 5 in C minor (composed 1804–08, premièred 1808)
  • Opus 68: Symphony No. 6 in F major (“Pastoral”) (composed 1804–08, premièred 1808)
  • Opus 92: Symphony No. 7 in A major (composed 1811–12, premièred 1813)
  • Opus 93: Symphony No. 8 in F major (composed 1812, premièred 1814)
  • Opus 125: Symphony No. 9 in D minor (“Choral”) (composed 1817–24, premièred 1824)

Once believed by some to be an early symphony by Beethoven, the “Jena” Symphony in C major is now thought to be by Friedrich Witt.

Beethoven is believed to have intended to write a Tenth Symphony in the last year of his life; a performing version of possible sketches was assembled by Barry Cooper.


Other works for soloist and orchestra

Overtures and incidental music

  • Opus 43: The Creatures of Prometheus, overture and ballet music (1801)
  • Opus 62: Coriolan Overture (1807)
  • Overtures composed for Beethoven’s opera Fidelio, Op. 72:
    • Opus 72: Fidelio Overture (1814)
    • Opus 72a: Leonore Overture “No. 2” (1805)
    • Opus 72b: Leonore Overture “No. 3” (1806)
    • Opus 138: Leonore Overture “No. 1” (1807)
  • Opus 84: Egmont, overture and incidental music (1810)
  • Opus 91: Wellington’s Victory (“Battle Symphony”) (1813)
  • Opus 113: The Ruins of Athens (Die Ruinen von Athen), overture and incidental music (1811)
  • Opus 117: King Stephen (König Stephan), overture and incidental music (1811)
  • Opus 115: Zur Namensfeier (Feastday) Overture (1815)
  • Opus 124: Consecration of the House (Die Weihe des Hauses), overture (1822)

Chamber music

Beethoven wrote 16 string quartets and numerous other forms of chamber music, including piano triosstring trios, and sonatas for violinand cello with piano, as well as works with wind instruments.


Piano trios
Piano quartets
  • WoO 36: 3 Piano Quartets (1785)
    • No. 1 in E-flat major
    • No. 2 in D major
    • No. 3 in C major
  • Opus 16/b: Piano Quartet in E-flat (1797) (arrangement of Quintet for Piano and Winds, Op. 16)
[edit]String trios
  • Opus 3: String Trio No. 1 in E-flat major (1794); five-movement piano transcription (anon, supervised composer?, c 1814–15)
  • Opus 8: String Trio No. 2 (“Serenade”) in D major (1797)
  • Opus 9: Three String Trios (1798)
    • No. 1: String Trio No. 3 in G major
    • No. 2: String Trio No. 4 in D major
    • No. 3: String Trio No. 5 in C minor
  • Hess 28: Movement in A-flat for String Trio
  • WoO 37: Trio for flute, bassoon, and piano in G major (1786)

String quartets


String quintets

Chamber music with winds

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Hess 19: Wind Quintet in E-flat

Sonatas for solo instrument and piano

Violin sonatas
Cello sonatas
Horn sonatas

Solo piano music

In addition to the 32 celebrated sonatas, Beethoven’s work for solo piano includes many one-movement pieces, notably more than twenty largely unpublished sets of variations and over thirty bagatelles, including the well-known Für Elise.

Piano sonatas


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performed November 2010

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  • Opus 33: Seven Bagatelles (1802)
  • Opus 119: Eleven new Bagatelles (1822)
  • Opus 126: Six Bagatelles (1823)
  • WoO 52: Presto (Bagatelle) for piano in C minor (1795, rev. 1798 and 1822)
  • WoO 53: Allegretto (Bagatelle) for piano in C minor (1796–97)
  • WoO 54: Lustig-Traurig (Bagatelle) for piano in C major (1802)
  • WoO 56: Allegretto (Bagatelle) for piano in C major (1803, rev. 1822)
  • WoO 59: Poco moto (Bagatelle) in A minor, “Für Elise” (c. 1810)
  • WoO 60: Ziemlich lebhaft (Bagatelle) for piano in B-flat major (1818)

Other works

Vocal music

While he completed only one opera, Beethoven wrote vocal music throughout his life, including two Mass settings, other works forchorus and orchestra (in addition to the Ninth Symphony), ariasduetsart songs (lieder), and true song cycles.


  • Opus 72: Leonore (1805) The first version in three acts
  • Opus 72: Leonore (1806) The second version in two acts
  • Opus 72: Fidelio (1814) The final version in two acts


  • Opus 80: Choral Fantasy for solo piano, chorus, and orchestra (1808)
  • Opus 85: Christus am Ölberge (Christ on the Mount of Olives) – oratorio (1803)
  • Opus 86: Mass in C major (1807)
  • Opus 112: Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage), for chorus and orchestra (1815)
  • Opus 123: Missa Solemnis in D major (1823)
  • Opus 136: The moment of Glory, Cantata for four solo voices, chorus and orchestra
    • 1. Chorus: “Europa steht!”
    • 2. Recitative: “O seht sie nah und näher treten!”, Chorus: “Vienna Vienna Vienna”
    • 3. Recitative: “O Himmel welch Enzücken!” Aria (Vienna) with chorus: “Alle die Herrscher darf ich grüssen”
    • 4. Recitative: “Das Auge schaut” with chorus: “Dem die erste Zähre”
    • 5. Recitative: “Der den Bund im Sturme festgehalten”
    • 6. Chorus: “Es treten vor die Scharem der Frauen”
  • Emperor Cantatas
    • WoO 87: Funeral cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II, for solo voices, chorus and orchestra
      • 1. Chorus and soloists: “Tot! Tot, stöhnt es durch die öde Nacht”
      • 2. Recitative: “Ein Ungeheuer, sein Name Fanatismus” (bass)
      • Aria: “Da kam Joseph” (bass)
      • 3. Aria (soprano) with chorus: “Da stiegen die Menschen an’s Licht”
      • 4. Recitative: “Er schläft, von den Sorgen seiner Welten entladen” (soprano)
      • Aria: “Hier schlummert seinen stillen Frieden der grosse Dulder” (soprano)
      • 5. Chorus and soloists: “Tot! Tot, stöhnt es durch die öde Nacht”
    • WoO 88: Cantata on the Accession of Emperor Leopold II, for solo voices, chorus and orchestra
      • 1. Recitative: “Er schlummert” – “Lasst sanft den grossen Fürsten Ruhen!” (soprano, chorus)
      • Aria: “Fliesse, Wonnezähre, fliesse!” (soprano)
      • 2. Recitative: “Ihr staunt, Völker der Erde!” (bass)
      • 3. Recitative: “Wie bebt mein Herz vor Wonne!” (tenor)
      • Trio: “Ihr, die Joseph ihren Vater nannten” (tenor, bass, soprano)
      • 4. Chorus: “Heil! Stürzet nieder, Millionen” (chorus, soloists)


  • Opus 46: “Adelaide” – song (1794–1795)
  • Opus 48: “Gellert Songs” – song set (1802)
  • Opus 52: 8 Lieder
    • no.1 Urians Reise um die Welt (before 1790?)
    • no.2 Feuerfarb (1794)
    • no.3 Das Liedchen von der Ruhe (1794)
    • no.4 Maigesang (1796)
    • no.5 Mollys Abschied (?)
    • no.6 Die Liebe (1790)
    • no.7 Marmotte (1790?)
    • no.8 Das Blümchen Wunderhold (?)
  • Opus 75: 6 Gesänge
    • no.1 Kennst du das Land
    • no.2 (2nd Version) Neue Liebe neues Leben
    • no.3 Aus Goethes Faust (Mephistos Flohlied)
    • no.4 Gretels Warnung; no.5 An den fernen Geliebten
    • no.6 Der Zufriedene
  • Opus 82: 4 Arietten und ein Duett (1809–10)
    • no.1 Dimmi ben mio che mami
    • no.2 Tintendo si mio cor
    • no.3 Lamante impaziente (Arietta buffa)
    • no.4 Lamante impaziente (Arietta assai seriosa)
    • no.5 Odi laura che dolce sospira (Duet)
  • Opus 88: “Vita felice” (1803)
  • Opus 94: “An die Hoffnung” (2nd Version, 1815)
  • Opus 98: An die ferne Geliebte – song cycle (April 1816) (“The first true song cycle in the history of music”)[5]
    • no.1 Auf dem Hügel sitz ich spähend
    • no.2 Wo die Berge so blau
    • no.3 Leichte Segler in den Höhen
    • no.4 Diese Wolken in den Höhen
    • no.5. Es kehret der Maien, es blühet die Au
    • no.6 Nimm sie hin denn, diese Lieder
  • Opus 99: Der Mann von Wort (Summer 1816)
  • Opus 100: Merkenstein (2nd setting, 1815)
  • Opus 108: Twenty-five Scottish Songs
    • No. 1 Music, love and wine
    • No. 2 Sunset
    • No. 3 O sweet were the hours
    • No. 4 The Maid of Isla
    • No. 5 The sweetest lad was Jamie
    • No. 6 Dim, dim is my eye
    • No. 7 Bonny Laddie, Highland Laddie
    • No. 8 The lovely lass of Inverness
    • No. 9 Behold, my Love, how Green The Groves
    • No. 10 Sympathy
    • No. 11 Oh! thou art the lad of my heart, Willy
    • No. 12 Oh, had my fate been join′d with thine
    • No. 13 Come fill, fill, my good fellow!
    • No. 14 O, how can I be blithe and glad
    • No. 15 O cruel was my father
    • No. 16 Could this ill world have been contriv′d
    • No. 17 O Mary, at thy window be
    • No. 18 Enchantress, farewell
    • No. 19 O swiftly glides the bonny boat
    • No. 20 Faithfu′ Johnie
    • No. 21 Jeanie′s Distress
    • No. 22 The Highland Watch
    • No. 23 The Shepherd’s Song
    • No. 24 Again, my lyre, yet once again
    • No. 25 Sally in our Alley
  • Opus 128: Ariette (Der Kuss) (1798, 1822)
  • WoO 107: Achilderung eines Machens (1782)
  • WoO 118: Seufzer eines Ungeliebten – Gegenlieb (1795)
  • WoO 123: Ich liebe dich so wie du mich (Zartliche Liebe) (1795)
  • WoO 124: La partenze (1795)
  • WoO 126: Opferlied (1798)
  • WoO 129: Der Wachtelschlag (1803)
  • WoO 132: Als die Geliebte sich trennen wolte (1806)
  • WoO 133: In questa tomba oscura (1807)
  • WoO 135: Die laute Klage (1814–15)
  • WoO 136: Andenken (1808)
  • WoO 137: Gesang aus der Ferne (1809)
  • WoO 138: Der Jüngling in der Fremde (1809)
  • WoO 139: Der Liebende (1809)
  • WoO 142: Der Bardengeist (1813)
  • WoO 145: Das Geheimnis (Liebe und Wahrheit) (1815)
  • WoO 146: Sehnsucht (late 1815)
  • WoO 147: Ruf vom Berge (December 1816)
  • WoO 149: Resignation (Winter 1817)
  • WoO 150: Abendlied unterm gestirnten Himmel (1820)
  • WoO 108: An einen Säugling (1783)
  • WoO 109: Erhebt das Glas mit froher Hand (Trinklied beim Abschied zu singen) (1791 or 1792)
  • WoO 110: Elegie auf den Tod eines Pudels (?)
  • WoO 111: Punschlied (1791 or 1792)
  • WoO 112: An Laura (1792)
  • WoO 113: Klage (1790)
  • WoO 114: Ein Selbstgespräch (1793)
  • WoO 115: An Minna (1792)
  • WoO 116: Que le temps me dure (1st version hess129; 2nd version hess130)
  • WoO 117: Der freie Mann (1794 or 1795)
  • WoO 119: Oh care selve oh cara (1794 or 1795)
  • WoO 120: Man strebt die Flamme zu verhehlen (1800 or 1801)
  • WoO 121: Abschiedsgesang an Wiens Bürger (Nov. 1796)
  • WoO 122: Kriegslied der Österreicher (April 1797)
  • WoO 125: La tiranna (1798–99)
  • WoO 127: Neue Liebe neues Leben (1798–99)
  • WoO 128: Romance (1799)
  • WoO 130: Gedenke mein! (1820)
  • WoO 134: Sehnsucht (1st–5th setting, 1807–08)
  • WoO 140: An die Geliebte (2nd–3rd version, 1811)
  • WoO 141: Der Gesang der Nachtigall (1813)
  • WoO 143: Des Kriegers Abschied (1814)
  • WoO 144: Merkenstein (1st setting 1814)
  • WoO 148: So oder so (1816–17)
  • WoO 150: Abendlied unterm gestirnten Himmel (Spring 1820) (“The final contribution to the medium before writing the song of the songs, that symbiosis of vocal and instrumental music that forms the final movement of the Ninth Symphony”)
  • WoO 151: Der edle Mensch (1823?)
  • Hess 133: Das liebe Kätzchen (March 1820)
  • Hess 134: Der Knabe auf dem Berge (March 1820)

Folksong Arrangements

  • Opus 108: 25 Scottish Songs
    • No. 1 Music, love and wine
    • No. 2 Sunset
    • No. 3 O sweet were the hours
    • No. 4 The Maid of Isla
    • No. 5 The sweetest lad was Jamie
    • No. 6 Dim, dim is my eye
    • No. 7 Bonny Laddie, Highland Laddie
    • No. 8 The lovely lass of Inverness
    • No. 9 Behold, my Love, how Green The Groves
    • No. 10 Sympathy
    • No. 11 Oh! thou art the lad of my heart, Willy
    • No. 12 Oh, had my fate been join’d with thine
    • No. 13 Come fill, fill, my good fellow!
    • No. 14 O, how can I be blithe and glad
    • No. 15 O cruel was my father
    • No. 16 Could this ill world have been contriv’d
    • No. 17 O Mary, at thy window be
    • No. 18 Enchantress, farewell
    • No. 19 O swiftly glides the bonny boat
    • No. 20 Faithfu’ Johnie
    • No. 21 Jeanie’s Distress
    • No. 22 The Highland Watch
    • No. 23 The Shepherd’s Song
    • No. 24 Again, my lyre, yet once again
    • No. 25 Sally in our Alley
  • WoO 152: 25 Irish Songs
    • No. 1 The Return to Ulster
    • No. 2 Sweet Power of Song!
    • No. 3 Once more I hail thee
    • No. 4 The morning air plays on my face
    • No. 5 On the Massacre of Glencoe
    • No. 6 What shall I do to shew how much I love her?
    • No. 7 His boat comes on the sunny tide
    • No. 8 Come draw we round a cheerful ring
    • No. 9 Our bugles sung truce; or The Soldier’s Dream
    • No. 10 The Deserter
    • No. 11 Thou emblem of Faith (Upon returning a ring)
    • No. 12 English Bulls; or, The Irishman in London
    • No. 13 Musing on the roaring ocean
    • No. 14 Dermot and shelah
    • No. 15 Let brain-spinning swains
    • No. 16 Hide not thy anguish
    • No. 17 In vain to this desert my fate I deplore
    • No. 18 They bid me slight my Dermot Dear
    • No. 19 Wife, Children and Friends
    • No. 20 Farewell bliss and farewell Nancy
    • No. 21 Morning a cruel turmoiler is
    • No. 22 From Garyone, my happy home
    • No. 23 A wand’ring gypsey, Sirs, am I
    • No. 24 The Traugh Welcome
    • No. 25 O harp of Erin
  • WoO 153: 20 Irish Songs
    • No. 1 When Eve’s last rays in twilight die
    • No. 2 No riches from his scanty store
    • No. 3 The British Light Dragoons; or The Plain of Badajos
    • No. 4 Since greybeards inform us that youth will decay
    • No. 5 I dreamd I lay where flow’rs were springing
    • No. 6 Sad and luckless was the season
    • No. 7 O soothe me, my lyre
    • No. 8 Farewell mirth and hilarity: Norah of Balamagairy
    • No. 9 The kiss, dear maid, thy lip has left
    • No. 10 Oh! Thou hapless soldier
    • No. 11 When far from the home
    • No. 12 I’ll praise the saints with early song
    • No. 13 ’Tis sunshine at last
    • No. 14 Paddy O’Rafferty
    • No. 15 ’Tis but in vain, for nothing thrives
    • No. 16 O might I but my Patrick love!
    • No. 17 Come, Darby dear! easy be easy
    • No. 19 Judy, lovely matchless creature
    • No. 18 No more, my Mary, I sigh for splendour
    • No. 20 Thy ship must sail, my Henry dear
  • WoO 154: 12 Irish Songs
    • No. 1 The Elfin Fairies
    • No. 2 O Harp of Erin
    • No. 3 The Farewell Song
    • No. 4 The pulse of an Irishman
    • No. 5 O who, my dear Dermot
    • No. 6 Put round the bright wine
    • No. 7 From Garyon, my happy home
    • No. 8 Save me from the grave and wise
    • No. 9 O would I were but that sweet linnet!
    • No. 10 The hero may perish
    • No. 11 The soldier in A Foreign Land
    • No. 12 He promised me at parting
  • WoO 157: 12 Songs Of Various Nationalities
    • No. 1 God save the King
    • No. 2 The Soldier
    • No. 3 Charlie is my darling
    • No. 4 O sanctissima
    • No. 5 The Miller of Dee
    • No. 6 A health to the brave
    • No. 7 Robin Adair
    • No. 8 By the side of the Shannon
    • No. 9 Highlander’s Lament
    • No. 10 Sir Johnnie Cope
    • No. 11 The wandering minstrel
    • No. 12 La gondoletta
  • WoO 155: 26 Welsh Songs
    • No. 1 Sion, The Son of Evan
    • No. 2 The Monks of Bangor’s March
    • No. 3 The Cottage Maid
    • No. 4 Love without hope
    • No. 5 The Golden Robe
    • No. 6 The Fair Maid of Mona
    • No. 7 O let the night my blushes hide
    • No. 8 Farewell, thou noisy town
    • No. 9 To the Aeolian Harp
    • No. 10 Ned Pugh’s Farewell
    • No. 11 Merch Megan; or, Peggy’s Daughter
    • No. 12 Waken, lords and ladies gay
    • No. 13 Helpless Woman
    • No. 14 The Dream
    • No. 15 When mortals all to rest retire
    • No. 16 The Damsels of Cardigan
    • No. 17 The Dairy House
    • No. 18 Sweet Richard
    • No. 19 The Vale of Clwyd
    • No. 20 To the Blackbird
    • No. 21 Cupid’s kindness
    • No. 22 Constancy
    • No. 23 The Old Strain
    • No. 24 Three Hundred Pounds
    • No. 25 The Parting Kiss
    • No. 26 Good Night
  • WoO 156: 12 Scottish Songs
    • No. 1 The Banner of Buccleuch
    • No. 2 Duncan Grey
    • No. 3 Up! quit thy bower
    • No. 4 Ye shepherds of this pleasant vale
    • No. 5 Cease your funning
    • No. 6 Highland Harry
    • No. 7 Polly Stewart
    • No. 8 Womankind
    • No. 9 Lochnagar
    • No. 10 Glencoe
    • No. 11 Auld Lang Syne
    • No. 12 The Quaker’s Wife
  • WoO 158b: 7 British Songs
    • No. 1 Adieu, my Lov’d harp
    • No. 2 Castle O’Neill
    • No. 3 O was not I a weary wight! (Oh ono chri!)
    • No. 4 Red gleams the sun on yon hill tap
    • No. 5 Erin! O Erin!
    • No. 6 O Mary, yes be clad in silk
    • No. 7 Lament for Owen Roe O’Neill
  • WoO 158c: 6 Songs Of Various Nationalities
    • No. 1 When my hero in court appears
    • No. 2 Non, non, Colette n’est point trompeuse
    • No. 3 Mark yonder pomp of costly fashion
    • No. 4 Bonnie wee thing
    • No. 5 From thee, Eliza, I must go
    • No. 6 Untitled
  • WoO 158a: 23 Songs Of Various Nationalities
    • No. 1 Ridder Stigs Runer
    • No. 2 Horch auf, mein Liebchen
    • No. 3 Wegen meiner bleib d’Fraula
    • No. 4 Wann i in der Früh aufsteh
    • No. 5 Teppichkramer-Lied
    • No. 6 A Madel, ja a madel
    • No. 7 Wer solche Buema afipackt
    • No. 8 Ih mag di nit nehma
    • No. 9 Oj, oj upilem sie w karczmie
    • No. 10 Poszla baba po popiol
    • No. 11 Yo no quiero embarcarme
    • No. 12 Seus lindos olhos
    • No. 13 Vo lesocke komarockov mnogo urodilos’
    • No. 14 Akh, Rrecen’ki recen’ki
    • No. 15 Kak posli nasi podruzki
    • No. 16 Schone Minka, ich muss scheiden
    • No. 17 Lilla Car (Vaggvisa)
    • No. 18 An ä Bergli bin i gesasse
    • No. 19 Una paloma blanca
    • No. 20 Como la mariposa soy
    • No. 21 Tiranilla Espanola
    • No. 22 Edes kinos emlekezet (Magyar Szuretölö Enek)
    • No. 23 Da brava, Catina

Secular Vocal Works

  • Opus 65: Ah! Perfido
  • Opus 116: Tremate empi tremate
  • Opus 118: Elegiac Song
  • Opus 121b: Sacrificial Song
  • Opus 122: Song of Fellowship
  • WoO 89: Prüfung des Küssens
  • WoO 92: Mit Mädeln sich vertragen
  • WoO 92: Primo amore
  • WoO 92a: No non turbarti
  • WoO 93: Ne giorni tuoi felici
  • WoO 95: Chor for the Allied Princes
  • WoO 99
    • No. 1 Bei labbri che amore (Hess 211)
    • No. 2 Chi mai di questo core Hess 214)
    • No. 3a Fra tutte le pene
    • No. 3b Fra tutte le pene (Hess 225)
    • No. 3c Fra tutte le pene (1st version)
    • No. 4a Gia la notte savvicina (Hess 222)
    • No. 4b Gia la notte savvicina (Hess 223)
    • No. 5a Giura il nocchier (Hess 221) (2nd version)
    • No. 5b Giura il nocchier (Hess 227)
    • No. 6 Ma tu tremi (Hess 212)
    • No. 7a Nei campi e nelle selve (Hess 217) (1st version)
    • No. 7a Nei campi e nelle selve (Hess 217) (2nd version)
    • No. 9 Per te d’amico aprile (Hess 216)
    • No. 10a Quella cetra ah pur tu sei (Hess 213) (1st version)
    • No. 10b Quella cetra ah pur tu sei (Hess 218)
    • No. 10c Quella cetra ah pur tu sei (Hess 219) (2nd version)
    • No. 11 Scrivo in te (Hess 215)
  • WoO 102: Song of Farewell
  • WoO 103: Rural Cantata
  • WoO 104: The Monks Song
  • WoO 105: Wedding Song
  • WoO 106: Lobkowitz-Kantate
  • WoO 100: Lob auf den Dicken
  • WoO 101: Graf, liebster Graf
  • WoO 159: Im Arm der Liebe ruht sich’s wohl
  • WoO 161: Ewig Dein
  • WoO 163: Kurz ist der Schmerz
  • WoO 164: Freundschaft ist die Quelle wahrer Glückseligkeit
  • WoO 165: Gluck zum neuen Jahr!
  • WoO 166: Kurz ist der Schmerz
  • WoO 167: Brauchle Linke
  • WoO 168/2: Das Schweigen
  • WoO 168/2: Das Reden
  • WoO 169: Ich küsse sie
  • WoO 170: Ars longa, vita brevis
  • WoO 172: Ich bitt’ dich, schreib mir die es-skala auf
  • WoO 173: Hol euch der Teufel! B’hüt euch Gott!
  • WoO 174: Glaube und Hoffe!
  • WoO 175: Sankt Petrus war ein Fels!
  • WoO 176: Glück zum neuen Jahr!
  • WoO 177: Bester Magistrat, Ihr friert!
  • WoO 178: Signor Abate!
  • WoO 179: Alles Gute
  • WoO 180: Hoffman, sei ja kein Hofmann
  • WoO 182: O Tobias!
  • WoO 183: Bester Herr Graf, Sie sind ein Schaf!
  • WoO 184: Falstafferel, lass dich sehen!
  • WoO 185: Edel sei der Mensch
  • WoO 186: Te solo adoro
  • WoO 187: Schwenke dich ohne Schwanke!
  • WoO 188: Gott ist eine feste Burg
  • WoO 189: Doktor, sperrt das Tor dem Tod
  • WoO 190: Ich war hier Doktor, Ich war hier
  • WoO 191: Kühl, nicht Lau
  • WoO 192: Ars longa, vita brevis
  • WoO 193: Ars longa, vita brevis
  • WoO 194: Si non per portas, per muros
  • WoO 195: Freu dich des Lebens!
  • WoO 196: Es muss sein!
  • WoO 197: Da ist das Werk
  • WoO 198: Wir irren allesamt
  • WoO 202: Das Schöne zum Guten!
  • WoO 203: Das Schöne zu dem Guten!
  • Hess 231: Sei mio ben
  • Hess 228: Salvo tu vuoi lo sposo?
  • Hess 210: Fra tutte le pene (2nd version)
  • Hess 230: Giura il nocchier (1st version)
  • Hess 276: Herr Graf, ich komme zu fragen
  • Hess 277: Esel aller Esel

Music for Wind Band

List of works by number

The following is a list of Beethoven’s works, sorted by Opus number, followed by works listed as WoO in the Kinsky-Halm catalog, and then works listed in the appendix of that catalog, which are given “Anh” numbers, whose composition by Beethoven has since been verified. These are followed by additional works listed in the catalog of Willy Hess that are not otherwise listed in the Kinsky-Halm catalog. The chronologically comprehensive Biamonti Catalogue is not listed here.

Works with opus numbers

Works without opus numbers

Works with WoO numbers

The numbers and categories used below are from the Kinsky catalog of 1955. WoO is an abbreviation of “Werke ohne Opuszahl”, German for “Works without Opus number”.

Instrumental works: WoO 1–86
Orchestral works

Orchestra alone

  • WoO 1: Musik zu einem Ritterballett (Music for a ballet on horseback) – eight movements
  • WoO 2a: Triumphal March for orchestra for Christoph Kuffner‘s tragedy Tarpeja (1813)
  • WoO 2b: Prelude to Act II of Tarpeja (1813)
  • WoO 3: “Gratulations-Menuett”, minuet for orchestra



  • WoO 7: Twelve minuets for orchestra
  • WoO 8: Twelve German Dances for orchestra (later arranged for piano)
  • WoO 9: Six minuets for two violins and cello
  • WoO 10: Six minuets for orchestra (original version lost, only an arrangement for piano is extant)
  • WoO 11: Seven Ländler for two violins and cello (original version lost, only an arrangement for piano is extant)
  • WoO 12: Twelve minuets for orchestra (probably spurious, actually by Beethoven’s brother Carl)
  • WoO 13: Twelve German Dances for orchestra (only a version for piano is extant)
  • WoO 14: Twelve contredanses for orchestra
  • WoO 15: Six Ländler for two violins and cello (also arranged for piano)
  • WoO 16: Twelve Écossaises for orchestra (probably spurious)
  • WoO 17: Eleven “Mödlinger Tänze” for seven instruments (probably spurious)

Marches and dances for winds

  • WoO 18: March for Military Band “For the Bohemian Ward” (trio added later)
  • WoO 19: March for Military Band (trio added later)
  • WoO 20: March for Military Band “Zapfenstreich” (trio added later)
  • WoO 21: Polonaise for Military Band
  • WoO 22: Écossaise for Military Band
  • WoO 23: Écossaise for Military Band (only a piano arrangement by Carl Czerny is extant)
  • WoO 24: March for Military Band
Chamber works

Without piano

  • WoO 25: Rondo for 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 horns and 2 bassoons (original finale of the Octet, opus 103) (1792)
  • WoO 26: Duo for two flutes
  • WoO 27: Three duets for clarinet and bassoon (possibly spurious)
  • WoO 28: Variations for two oboes and cor anglais on “Là ci darem la mano” from Mozart‘s opera Don Giovanni
  • WoO 29: March for Wind Sextet in E-flat (2 clarinets, 2 horns & 2 bassoons)
  • WoO 30: Three Equale for four trombones – Vocal arrangements of these were performed at Beethoven’s funeral.
  • WoO 31: Fugue for organ
  • WoO 32: Duo for viola and cello, “mit zwei obligaten Augengläsern” (“with two obbligato eyeglasses”)
  • WoO 33: Five pieces for mechanical clock or flute
  • WoO 34: Duet for two violins
  • WoO 35: Canon for two violins

With piano

Piano works for 2 or 4 hands

Sonatas and single-movement works

  • WoO 47: Three piano sonatas (E-flat major, F minor, D major) (“Kurfürsten Sonatas”) (1783)
  • WoO 48: Rondo for piano in C major (1783)
  • WoO 49: Rondo for piano in A major (1783)
  • WoO 50: Piano Sonata in F major (1790–92)
  • WoO 51: Piano Sonata in C major (1797–98, fragment) completed Ferdinand Ries, 1830
  • WoO 52: Presto (Bagatelle) for piano in C minor (1795, rev. 1798 and 1822)
  • WoO 53: Allegretto (Bagatelle) for piano in C minor (1796–97)
  • WoO 54: Lustig-Traurig (Bagatelle) for piano in C major (1802)
  • WoO 55: Prelude for piano in F minor (1803)
  • WoO 56: Allegretto (Bagatelle) for piano in C major (1803, rev. 1822))
  • WoO 57: Andante Favori – original middle movement from Piano Sonata No. 21 (Waldstein) (1805)
  • WoO 58: Cadenzas for 1st and 3rd movements of Mozart’s D minor Piano Concerto (K. 466)
  • WoO 59: Poco moto (Bagatelle) for piano in A minor, “Für Elise” (c. 1810))
  • WoO 60: Ziemlich lebhaft (Bagatelle) for piano in B-flat major (1818))
  • WoO 61: Allegretto for piano in B minor (1821)
  • WoO 61a: Allegretto quasi andante for piano in G minor (1825)
  • WoO 62: String Quintet in C major (Fragment, Piano Transcription)



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  • WoO 81: Allemande for piano in A major
  • WoO 82: Minuet for piano in E-flat major
  • WoO 83: Six Écossaises for piano and orchestra in E-flat major
  • WoO 84: Waltz for piano in E-flat major
  • WoO 85: Waltz for piano in D major
  • WoO 86: Écossaise for piano in E-flat major
Vocal works: WoO 87–205
Cantatas, choruses and arias with orchestra
  • WoO 87: Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II
  • WoO 88: Cantata on the Accession of Emperor Leopold II
  • WoO 89: Aria “Prüfung des Küssens”
  • WoO 90: Aria “Mit Mädeln sich vertragen”
  • WoO 91: Two arias for Die Schöne Schusterin (1795)
  • WoO 92: Aria “Primo Amore”
  • WoO 92a: Aria “No, non turbati”
  • WoO 93: Duet “Nei giorni tuoi felice”
  • WoO 94: “Germania,” aria with chorus in B-flat major (1814)
  • WoO 95: Chorus for the Congress of Vienna
  • WoO 96: Incidental Music to Leonore Prohaska (1815)
  • WoO 97: “Es ist vollbracht” for Die Ehrenpforten (1815)
  • WoO 98: “Wo sich die Pulse,” chorus for The Consecration of the House
Works for multiple voices with piano accompaniment, or unaccompanied
  • WoO 99: Italian Partsongs
  • WoO 100: Musical joke for three voices “Lob auf den Dicken”
  • WoO 101: Musical joke for three voices and chorus “Graf, Graf, liebster Graf”
  • WoO 102: Chorus for male voices “Abschiedsgesang”
  • WoO 103: Cantata Un lieto Brindisi
  • WoO 104: “Gesang der Mönche” from Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell for three male voices
  • WoO 105: Song for solo voice, chorus and piano “Hochzeitslied”
  • WoO 106: Birthday Cantata for Prince Lobkowitz
Lieder and songs for solo voice and piano
  • WoO 107–130: Twenty-four songs
  • WoO 131: Unfinshed song “Erlkönig”
  • WoO 132: Song “Als die Geliebte sich trennen wollte”
  • WoO 133: Song “In questa tomba oscura”
  • WoO 134: Song “Sehnsucht” in four settings
  • WoO 135–151: Seventeen Songs
Folksong arrangements for one or more voices, with piano trio accompaniment
  • WoO 152: Twenty-five Irish folksongs
  • WoO 153: Twenty Irish folksongs
  • WoO 154: Twelve Irish folksongs
  • WoO 155: Twenty-six Welsh folksongs
  • WoO 156: Twelve Scottish folksongs
  • WoO 157: Twelve folksongs of various nationalities
  • WoO 158a: Twenty-three continental folksongs
  • WoO 158b: Seven British folksongs
  • WoO 158c: Six assorted folksongs
  • WoO 158d: “Air Français”
Vocal canons
  • WoO 159–198: Forty-three Canons
Musical jokes, quips, and dedications
  • WoO 199: Musical joke “Ich bin der Herr von zu”
  • WoO 200: Piano Exercise “O Hoffnung!”
  • WoO 201: Musical joke “Ich bin bereit!”
  • WoO 202: Riddle canon “Das Schöne zu dem Guten” (first version)
  • WoO 203: Riddle canon “Das Schöne zu dem Guten” (second version)
  • WoO 204: Musical joke “Holz, Holz, Geigt die Quartette So”
  • WoO 205: Ten musical quips (Kinsky’s word is “Notenscherze”) from Beethoven’s letters

Works with Anhang (Anh) numbers

These are works from the Appendix (Anhang in German) of Kinsky’s catalog that were attributed to Beethoven at the time the catalog was compiled, but might not have been written by him.

  • Anh 1: Symphony in C major (“Jena“) – now attributed to Friedrich Witt
  • Anh 2: Six string quartets
  • Anh 3: Piano Trio in D major
  • Anh 4: Flute Sonata in B-flat major
  • Anh 5: Two Piano Sonatinas: Sonatina in G major and Sonatina in F major
  • Anh 6: Rondo for piano in B-flat major

Anh 7 through 18 are works known by Kinsky to not have been written by Beethoven, but that were previously falsely attributed to him.

Selected works with Hess (H) numbers

These works have numbers that were assigned by Willy Hess. Many of the works in the Hess catalog also have WoO numbers; those entries are not listed here.

  • H 12: Oboe Concerto in F (lost; only incipits and draft of 2nd movement extant)
  • H 13: Romance in E minor for 3 soloists and orchestra
  • H 15: Piano Concerto No. 6 in D major (unfinished)
  • H 19: Wind quintet in E-flat major
  • H 28: Movement in A-flat major for string trio
  • H 29: Prelude and Fugue for String Quartet
  • H 30: Prelude and Fugue for String Quartet (1794–95)
  • H 31: Prelude and Fugue for String Quartet (1794–95)
  • H 32: String Quartet in F major (1799)
  • H 33: Minuet for string quartet (1790–92)
  • H 34: String Quartet arrangement of Opus 14 No. 1 (1801–02)
  • H 36: Handel Fugue arranged for String Quartet (1798)
  • H 38: Bach Fugue arranged for String Quartet
  • H 39: String Quintet in F major (lost)
  • H 40: Movement in D minor for String Quintet
  • H 46: Violin Sonata in A major
  • H 48: Allegretto in E-flat major for piano trio

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  • H 61: Anglaise in D major for Piano
  • H 64: Fugue for keyboard
  • H 65: Concerto excerpt (arrangement of Opus 37)
  • H 68: Ländler in C minor
  • H 69: Bagatelle in C minor for piano
  • H 87: March for piano (arrangement of WoO 29)
  • H 88: Minuet for piano (arrangement of Hess 33)
  • H 89: Musik zu einem Ritterballett (Music for a ballet of knights) (piano arrangement of WoO 1)
  • H 90: The Creatures of Prometheus (piano arrangement of Opus 43)
  • H 91: Opferlied (piano arrangement of Opus 121b)
  • H 92: Bundeslied (piano arrangement of Opus 122)
  • H 93: “Freudvoll” (piano accompaniment for Opus 84)
  • H 97: Wellington’s Victory (“Battle Symphony”) (piano arrangement of Opus 91)
  • H 99: March for piano (arrangement of WoO 18)
  • H 107: Grenadier’s March
  • H 108: Wellington’s Victory (“Battle Symphony”) (panharmonicon arrangement of Opus 91)
  • H 115: Vestas Feuer (unfinished Opera) (1803)
  • H 118: Music for The Consecration of the House (from Opus 113)
  • H 133: Folksong
  • H 134: Folksong
  • H 137: Song “Ich wiege dich” (lost)
  • H 139: Song “Minnesold” (lost)
  • H 143: Song “An die Freude” (lost)
  • H 152–207: Folksong settings
  • H 208–232: Italian partsongs
  • H 233–246: Counterpoint exercises
  • H 274–277: Four Canons
  • H 297: Adagio for three horns
  • H 300–301: Two Canons

Works with Biamonti Numbers

  • B838: Overture to Macbeth
  • Beethoven is believed to have intended to write the opera Macbeth; a performing version of possible sketches was assembled by Albert Willem Holsbergen between 1999–2001. The premiere performance of the Beethoven Macbeth Overture was by the National Symphony Orchestra on September 20–22, 2001, under the direction of Leonard Slatkin

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