10 great Beethoven performers

The best interpreters of Beethoven’s music from history

Arabella_Goddard

George Bridgetower (1778-1860)

Advertisement

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)

Advertisement

The Austrian maestro’s Beethoven possessed a fine sense of occasion and momentum.