List of compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven

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List of compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven

Title page of Beethoven’s Symphonies from the Gesamtausgabe

The compositions of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) consist of 722 works[1] written over forty-five years, from his earliest work in 1782 (variations for piano on a march by Ernst Christoph Dressler) when he was only twelve years old and still in Bonn, till his last work just before his death in Vienna in 1827. Beethoven composed in all the main genres of classical music, including symphonies, concertos, string quartets, piano sonatas and one opera. His works range from requiring a solo performer to needing a large orchestra and chorus to perform.

Beethoven straddled both the classical and romantic periods, working in genres associated with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his teacher Joseph Haydn such as the piano concerto, string quartet and symphony, while on the other hand providing a precursor to Romantic composers such as Hector Berliozand Franz Liszt with programmatic works such as his Pastoral Symphonyand Piano Sonata “Les Adieux[2]. Beethoven’s work is typically divided into three periods. The “Early” period where Beethoven composed in the “Viennese” style. The “Middle” or “Heroic” period where his work is characterised by struggle and heroism, such as in the EroicaSymphony, the Appassionata Sonataand in his sole opera Fidelio. Beethoven’s “Late” period is marked by intense, personal expression and an emotional and intellectual profundity. Although his output dropped drastically in his later years this period saw the composition of masterpieces such as the Late Quartets, the Final Five Piano Sonatas, the Diabelli Variations, the Missa Solemnis and his Ninth Symphony[3].

Beethoven’s works are classified by both genre and various numbering systems[4]. The most well known numbering system for Beethoven’s works is that by opus number, assigned by Beethoven’s publishers during his lifetime. Only 172 of Beethoven’s works have opus numbers, divided among 138 opus numbers. Many works that were unpublished or else published without opus numbers have been assigned either “WoO” (Werke ohne Opuszahl—works without opus number), Hess or Biamonti numbers.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 ArchdukePiano Trio.

As well as these numbering systems, works are also often identified by their number within their 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“. The listings include all of these relevant identifiers. While other catalogues of Beethoven’s worksexist, the numbers here represent the most commonly used.

List of works by genreEdit

Beethoven, caricatured by J. P. Lyser

Beethoven’s works are published in several editions, the first of these was Ludwig van Beethovens Werke: Vollständige kritisch durchgesehene überall berechtigte Ausgabe published between 1862 and 1865 with a supplemental volume in 1888 by Breitkopf & Härtel, commonly known as the “Beethoven Gesamtausgabe” [GA]. While this was a landmark achievement at the time, the limitations of this edition soon became apparent. Between 1959 and 1971 Willy Hess prepared a supplemental edition, Beethoven: Sämtliche Werke: Supplemente zur Gesamtausgabe, [HS] containing works that were not in the Gesamtausgabe.

Since 1961 the Beethoven Archive has been publishing a new scholarly–critical Complete Edition of Beethoven’s works, Beethoven: Werke: neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke[5][NA]. However, only 42 of the projected 56 volumes have been published so far.[6] As this edition has not been published in full there are works without an NA designation.

Legend for publications – p: parts s: full score vs: vocal score

Orchestral musicEdit

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 early piano concerto (WoO 4) and an arrangement of the Violin Concerto for piano and orchestra (Opus 61a).


No.[7] Title, key Composition, first performance Publication Dedication, remarks GA NA
Op. 21 Symphony No. 1, C 1799–1800; 2 April 1800 p: Leipzig 1801 Baron Gottfried van Swieten i/1 i/1[6]
Op. 36 Symphony No. 2, D 1801–2; 5 April 1803 p: Vienna, 1804; for piano, violin, cello: Vienna, 1805 Prince Karl von Lichnowsky i/2 i/1[6]
Op. 55 Symphony No. 3(“Eroica”), E 1803; 7 April 1805[8] p: Vienna, 1806 Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz i/3 i/2[6]
Op. 60 Symphony No. 4, B 1806; March 1807 p: Vienna, 1808 Count Franz von Oppersdorff i/4 i/2[6]
Op. 67 Symphony No. 5, C 1807–8;[9] 22 Dec 1808 p: Leipzig, 1809 Prince Lobkowitz and Count Andreas Razumovsky i/5 i/3[6]
Op. 68 Symphony No. 6(“Pastoral”), F 1808; 22 Dec 1808 p: Leipzig, 1809 Prince Lobkowitz and Count Rasumovsky i/6 i/3[6]
Op. 92 Symphony No. 7, A 1811–12; 8 Dec 1813 s, p: Vienna, 1816 Count Moritz von Fries; i/7
Op. 93 Symphony No. 8, F 1812; 27 Feb 1814 s, p: Vienna, 1817 shortened version of end of 1st movt, HS iv i/8
Op. 125 Symphony No. 9(“Choral”), D 1822–24; 7 May 1824 s, p: Mainz, 1826 Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia i/9 i/5[6]

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.[10]


No. Title, key Composition, first performance Publication Dedication, remarks GA NA
WoO 4 Piano Concerto No. 0, E 1784 s: GA survives only in pf score (with orch cues in solo part) xxv/310 iii/5[6]
WoO 5 Violin Concerto, fragment, C 1790–92 Vienna, 1879 part of 1st movt only; 1st edn ded. Gerhard von Breuning HS iii
Hess 12 Oboe Concerto, lost, F ?1792–3 sent to Bonn from Vienna in late 1793; a few sketches survive
Op. 19 Piano Concerto No. 2, B begun c1788, rev. 1794–5, 1798; 29 March 1795 p: Leipzig, 1801 Carl Nicklas von Nickelsberg; score frag. rejected from early version, HS iii ix/66 iii/2[6]
cadenza for first movement 1809 GA ix/70a vii/7[6]
Op. 15 Piano Concerto No. 1, C 1795, rev. 1800; 18 Dec 1795 p: Vienna, 1801 Princess Barbara Odescalchi (née Countess von Keglevics) ix/65 iii/2[6]
3 cadenzas for first movement 1809 GA ix/70a vii/7[6]
Op. 37 Piano Concerto No. 3, c ?1800–03; 5 April 1803 p: Vienna, 1804 Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia ix/67 iii/2[6]
cadenza for first movement 1809 GA ix/70a vii/7[6]
Op. 56 Triple Concerto for violin, cello, and piano, C 1804–7; May 1808 p: Vienna, 1807 Prince Lobkowitz ix/70 iii/1[6]
Op. 58 Piano Concerto No. 4, G 1804–6/7; 22 Dec 1808 p: Vienna, 1808 Archduke Rudolph of Austria ix/68 iii/3[6]
2 cadenzas for first movement, cadenza for finale ?1809 GA ix/70a vii/7[6]
cadenza for first movement, 2 cadenzas for finale (Hess 81, 82, 83) ?1809 NA HSx vii/7[6]
Op. 61 Violin Concerto, D 1806; 23 Dec 1806 p: Vienna, 1808; London, 1810 Stephan von Breuning iv/29; HSx iii/4[6]
Op. 61a Beethoven’s arrangement of Opus 61 for piano, D 1807 p: Vienna, 1808; London, 1810 Julie von Breuning ix/73 (solo part) iii/5[6][6]
Cadenza for first movement, cadenza for finale ?1809 GA ix/70a vii/7

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