Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, composer to ever live. Most people are familiar with a few of his works, if nothing more than the beginning of the Fifth Symphony, the Finale of the Ninth Symphony and the ‘Moonlight Sonata’.
Beethoven of course wrote a great deal more than those well-known works; one catalog of his compositions runs to 849 separate items. While several hundred of these works have been recorded on one medium or another, there still remain literally hundreds of other works which have never been recorded at all, or which have never been published in widely available editions or in some cases, never published at all! There are thus hundreds of Beethoven works which, until now, have been available only to scholars and specialists.
This website endeavors to make all of Beethoven’s unrecorded music readily accessible to the public. Now YOU may judge for yourself as to whether these pieces deserve a wider hearing and the ability to join the repertoire. These never-before-heard works are now available to anyone with a computer, a modem and a soundcard, in the form of MIDI files, and now, mp3s. Our rule of thumb has been that if a work has been recorded and is readily available, we will not produce a MIDI file, concentrating instead on the works which are not otherwise available. At present, over sixteen hours of Beethoven’s music is available on this website and in no other listenable format.
Or, if you don’t know where to start, just play a random unheard Beethoven work:
Longtime followers of this site will find that it’s now much different—we’ve entered the 21st century and you can anticipate more frequent updates and new works being brought to you. In addition, we will slowly be converting the MIDI files into mp3s, with the goal of eventually getting the entire site in mp3 format (though the MIDIs will remain available for those still suffering with bandwidth constraints). For files that are in mp3 format, we and the Surgeon General strongly advise accessing those versions unless you have a superior soundcard and specialized MIDI software.
Another new feature that we hope you will enjoy is The Unheard Blog, where Willem and Mark will hold forth on music, Beethoven, research and whatever else may intrigue them. Come register and join the conversation! We look forward to hearing from you. We also welcome your musical and artistic contributions.