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Ludwig van

1770 - 1827

Complete works

Vocal Music

Ludwig van Beethoven ( baptised 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers.
His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, 1 violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets, his great Mass the Missa solemnis, and one opera, Fidelio.


Leonore - Overture No. 3, Op. 72,
Kurt Masur

Complete Works


Symphonies (1- 9)


Works for soloist and orchestra
Overtures and incidental music

Chamber music

Piano trios
String trios
String quartets
Piano quartets
String quintets
Chamber music with winds


Sonatas for solo instrument and piano
Violin sonatas
Cello sonatas
Horn sonata

Piano sonatas

Vocal music



Folksong arrangements
Secular vocal works

Leonore III Overture op 72b 
Philharmonia Orchestra
Herbert von Karajan, conductor
London, VII.1953

Fidelio (Leonore), Op. 72 - 432 Hz.

Fidelio (originally titled Leonore, oder Der Triumph der ehelichen Liebe; English: Leonore, or The Triumph of Marital Love), Op. 72, is Ludwig van Beethoven's only opera. The German libretto was originally prepared by Joseph Sonnleithner from the French of Jean-Nicolas Bouilly, with the work premiering at Vienna's Theater an der Wien on 20 November 1805. The following year, Stephan von Breuning (de) helped shorten the work from three acts to two. After further work on the libretto by Georg Friedrich Treitschke, a final version was performed at the Kärntnertortheater on 23 May 1814. By convention, both of the first two versions are referred to as Leonore.

The libretto, with some spoken dialogue, tells how Leonore, disguised as a prison guard named "Fidelio", rescues her husband Florestan from death in a political prison. Bouilly's scenario fits Beethoven's aesthetic and political outlook: a story of personal sacrifice, heroism, and eventual triumph. With its underlying struggle for liberty and justice mirroring contemporary political movements in Europe, such topics are typical of Beethoven's "middle period". Notable moments in the opera include the "Prisoners' Chorus" (O welche Lust—"O what a joy"), an ode to freedom sung by a chorus of political prisoners, Florestan's vision of Leonore come as an angel to rescue him, and the scene in which the rescue finally takes place. The finale celebrates Leonore's bravery with alternating contributions of soloists and chorus.


Two years prior to the opening scene, the Spanish nobleman Florestan has exposed or attempted to expose certain crimes of a rival nobleman, Pizarro. In revenge, Pizarro has secretly imprisoned Florestan in the prison over which he is governor. Simultaneously, Pizarro has spread false rumors about Florestan's death.

The warden of the prison, Rocco, has a daughter, Marzelline, and an assistant, Jaquino, who is in love with Marzelline. The faithful wife of Florestan, Leonore, suspects that her husband is still alive. Disguised as a boy, under the alias "Fidelio", she gains employment working for Rocco. As the boy Fidelio, she earns the favor of her employer, Rocco, and also the affections of his daughter Marzelline, much to Jaquino's chagrin.

On orders, Rocco has been giving the imprisoned Florestan diminishing rations until he is nearly starved to death.

Place: A Spanish state prison, a few miles from Seville
Time: Late 18th century

Act 1
Jaquino and Marzelline are alone in Rocco's house. Jaquino asks Marzelline when she will agree to marry him, but she says that she will never marry him now that she has fallen in love with Fidelio, unaware that Fidelio is actually Leonore in disguise (Jetzt, Schätzchen, jetzt sind wir allein—"Now, darling, now we are alone"). Jaquino leaves, and Marzelline expresses her desire to become Fidelio's wife (O wär ich schon mit dir vereint—"If only I were already united with thee"). Rocco enters, looking for Fidelio, who then enters carrying a heavy load of newly-repaired chains. Rocco compliments Fidelio, and misinterprets her modest reply as hidden attraction to his daughter. Marzelline, Fidelio, Rocco, and Jaquino sing a quartet about the love Marzelline has for Fidelio (Mir ist so wunderbar—"A wondrous feeling fills me", also known as the Canon Quartet).

Rocco tells Fidelio that as soon as the governor has left for Seville, Marzelline and Fidelio can be married. He tells them, however, that unless they have money, they will not be happy. (Hat man nicht auch Gold beineben—"If you don't have money on you"). Fidelio demands to know why Rocco will not allow for help in the dungeons, especially as he always seems to return short of breath. Rocco says that there is a dungeon down there where he can never take Fidelio, which houses a man who has been wasting away for two years. Marzelline begs her father to keep Leonore away from such a terrible sight. Rocco and Leonore sing of courage (Gut, Söhnchen, gut—"All right, sonny, all right"), and Marzelline joins in their acclamations.
All but Rocco leave. A march is played as Pizarro enters with his guards. Rocco warns Pizarro that the minister plans a surprise visit tomorrow to investigate accusations of Pizarro's cruelty. Pizarro exclaims that he cannot let the minister discover the imprisoned Florestan, who has been thought dead. Instead, Pizarro will have Florestan murdered (Ha, welch ein Augenblick—"Hah! What a moment!"). As a signal, Pizarro orders that a trumpet be sounded at the minister's arrival. He offers Rocco money to kill Florestan, but Rocco refuses (Jetzt, Alter, jetzt hat es Eile!—"Now, old man, we must hurry!"). Pizarro says he will kill Florestan himself instead, with Rocco forced to dig the grave in a ruined well in the dungeons. Once the grave is ready, Rocco is to sound the alarm, upon which Pizarro will come into the dungeon and kill Florestan. Fidelio, hearing Pizarro's plot, is agitated, but is soothed by thoughts of Florestan (Abscheulicher! Wo eilst du hin? and Komm, Hoffnung, lass den letzten Stern—"Scum! Where are you off to so fast?" and "Come, hope, let the last star").


Jaquino once again begs Marzelline to marry him, but she continues to refuse. Fidelio, hoping to discover Florestan, asks Rocco to let the poor prisoners roam in the garden and enjoy the beautiful weather. Marzelline similarly begs him, and Rocco agrees to distract Pizarro while the prisoners are set free. The prisoners, ecstatic at their temporary freedom, sing joyfully (O welche Lust—"O what a joy"), but remembering that they might be caught by the prison's governor Pizarro, are soon quiet.

After meeting with Pizarro, Rocco reenters and tells Fidelio that Pizarro will allow the marriage, and Fidelio will also be permitted to join Rocco on his rounds in the dungeon (Nun sprecht, wie ging's?—"Speak, how did it go?"). Rocco and Fidelio prepare to go to Florestan's cell, with the knowledge that he must be killed and buried within the hour. Fidelio is shaken; Rocco tries to discourage Fidelio from coming, but Fidelio insists. As they prepare to leave, Jaquino and Marzelline rush in and tell Rocco to run, as Pizarro has learned that the prisoners were allowed to roam, and is furious (Ach, Vater, Vater, eilt!—"O, father, father, hurry!").

Before they can leave, Pizarro enters and demands an explanation. Rocco pretends that the prisoners were given a little freedom in honor of the Spanish king's name day, quietly suggesting that Pizarro save his anger for the prisoner in the dungeon below. Pizarro tells him to hurry and dig the grave, and then announces that the prisoners will be locked up again. Rocco, Leonore, Jacquino, and Marzelline reluctantly usher the prisoners back to their cells. (Leb wohl, du warmes Sonnenlicht—"Farewell, you warm sunshine").


Act 2
Florestan is alone in his cell, deep inside the dungeons. He sings first of his trust in God, and then has a vision of his wife Leonore coming to save him (Gott! Welch Dunkel hier!—"God! What darkness here" and In des Lebens Frühlingstagen—"In the spring days of life"). Florestan collapses and falls asleep, while Rocco and Fidelio come to dig his grave. As they dig, Rocco urges Fidelio to hurry (Wie kalt ist es in diesem unterirdischen Gewölbe!—"How cold it is in this underground chamber" and Nur hurtig fort, nur frisch gegraben—"Come get to work and dig", the "Gravedigging Duet").

Florestan awakes and Fidelio recognizes him. When Florestan learns that the prison he is in belongs to Pizarro, he asks that a message be sent to his wife, Leonore, but Rocco says that it is impossible. Florestan begs for a drop to drink, and Rocco tells Fidelio to give him one. Florestan does not recognize Fidelio, his wife Leonore in disguise, but tells Fidelio that there will be reward for the good deed in Heaven (Euch werde Lohn in bessern Welten—"You shall be rewarded in better worlds"). Fidelio further begs Rocco to be allowed to give Florestan a crust of bread, and Rocco consents.

Rocco obeys his orders and sounds the alarm for Pizarro, who appears and asks if all is ready. Rocco says that it is, and instructs Fidelio to leave the dungeon, but Fidelio hides instead. Pizarro reveals his identity to Florestan, who accuses him of murder (Er sterbe! Doch er soll erst wissen—"Let him die! But first he should know"). As Pizarro brandishes a dagger, Fidelio leaps between him and Florestan and reveals her identity as Leonore, the wife of Florestan. Pizarro raises his dagger to kill her, but she pulls a gun and threatens to shoot him.

Just then, the trumpet is heard, announcing the arrival of the minister. Jaquino enters, followed by soldiers, to announce that the minister is waiting at the gate. Rocco tells the soldiers to escort Governor Pizarro upstairs. Florestan and Leonore sing to their victory as Pizarro declares that he will have revenge, while Rocco expresses his fear of what is to come (Es schlägt der Rache Stunde—"Revenge's bell tolls"). Together, Florestan and Leonore sing a love duet (O namenlose Freude!—"O unnamed joy!").


The prisoners and townsfolk sing to the day and hour of justice which has come (Heil sei dem Tag!—"Hail to the day!"). The minister, Don Fernando, announces that tyranny has ended. Rocco enters, with Leonore and Florestan, and he asks Don Fernando to help them (Wohlan, so helfet! Helft den Armen!—"So help! Help the poor ones!"). Rocco explains how Leonore disguised herself as Fidelio to save her husband. Previously in love with Fidelio, Marzelline is shocked. Rocco describes Pizarro's murder plot, and Pizarro is led away to prison. Florestan is released from his chains by Leonore, and the crowd sings the praises of Leonore, the loyal savior of her husband (Wer ein holdes Weib errungen—"Who has got a good wife").

Egmont, Op. 84

Egmont, is a set of incidental music pieces for the 1787 play of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It consists of an overture followed by a sequence of nine pieces for soprano, male narrator and full symphony orchestra. 

0:00 Overture: Sostenuto, ma non troppo – Allegro
8:05 Lied: "Die Trommel gerühret"
11:03 Entracte: Andante
14:13 Entracte: Larghetto
19:13 Lied: "Freudvoll und Leidvoll"
20:51 Entracte: Allegro – Marcia
24:44 Entracte: Poco sostenuto e risoluto
28:21 Mort de Klärchen
31:05 Melodram: "Süßer Schlaf"
36:20 Siegessymphonie (symphony of victory): Allegro con brio

Claudio Abbado - 
Berliner Philharmoniker 

Vocal music

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



H 115: Vestas Feuer (opera fragment) (1803)
Opus 72: Leonore (1805), first version in three acts
Opus 72: Leonore (1806), second version in two acts
Opus 72: Fidelio (1814), 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 118: "Elegischer Gesang" for four voices and string quartet (1814)
Opus 123: Missa Solemnis in D major (1823)
Opus 136: Der glorreiche Augenblick (de) (The Glorious Moment), cantata for four solo voices, chorus and orchestra (1814)
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 (1790)
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 (1790)
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)


Choral Fantasy for solo piano, chorus, and orchestra, Opus 80 (1808)

Christ in the Mount of Olives, Op. 85

00:01 - I. Intro.
14:28 - II. Recitative.
24:51 - III. Recitative.
31:50 - IV. Recitative.
46:33 - V. Recitative.

Mass in C Major for Solo, Chorus and Orchestra Op.86 (1812)

1. Kyrie 
2. Gloria (Qui tollis - Quoniam) (5'56)
3. Credo/Et incarnatus est (16'36)
4. Sanctus (Benedictus - Osanna) (29'02) 
5. Agnus Dei (Dona nobis pacem) (40'38)

Conducted by Sir Colin Davis.

Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt op. 112

Elegiac Song for Choir and Orchestra, Op 118

Mass in D major, Op. 123 "Missa solemnis"

0:00 Kyrie
11:28 Gloria
29:02 Credo
47:53 Sanctus
1:06:27 Agnus Dei



Cantata on the Accession of Emperor Leopold II, WoO 88

Arie: Fliesse, Wonnezahre, Fliesse!

Christine Schäfer, Soprano

Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Christian Thielemann, conductor

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