10 great Beethoven performers
The best interpreters of Beethoven’s music from history
George Bridgetower (1778-1860)
This son of a West Indian servant so impressed Beethoven that the Violin Sonata No. 9 was dedicated to him.
Anna Milder (1785-1838)
The Austrian soprano sang the title role in the premieres of Leonore/Fidelio and its revised versions. A major quarrel with Beethoven halted their amity.
Franz Liszt (1811-86)
After meeting Beethoven as a boy, Liszt went on to champion his music throughout his life.
Arabella Goddard (1836-1922)
Goddard introduced many audiences to Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, and was the first to play the Hammerklavier in Great Britain.
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962)
Peerless in the violin sonatas, the Austrian’s cadenzas for the Violin Concerto are still widely performed today.
Artur Schnabel (1882-1951)
So fine were his 1930s recordings of the 32 piano sonatas that one critic described him as ‘the man who invented Beethoven’.
Wilhelm Furtwängler (1886-1954)
The German maestro’s recordings of the symphonies made either side of WWII are revered for their power and grace.
Herbert von Karajan (1908-89)
Fürtwängler’s successor at the Berlin Phil made no fewer than four complete recordings of Beethoven’s symphonies.
The Busch Quartet (1919-51)
This Berlin-based group did more to popularise Beethoven’s quartets in the interwar years than any other ensemble.
Carlos Kleiber (1930-2004)
The Austrian maestro’s Beethoven possessed a fine sense of occasion and momentum.