Beethoven

Beethoven

Read FREE!

Beethoven

Beethoven

Read FREE!

Synopsis

Set in the framework of Beethoven's life, William Kinderman's detailed examination of the music traces the composer's intellectual and musical development, from the early works written in Bonn to the Ninth Symphony and the late quartets. Beethoven's innovations in form and style, his musical symbolism and narrative structures are illustrated in analyses of all the main works, showing that the deepening of his musical thought was a continuous process throughout his life. William Kinderman also shows how Beethoven's response to the political and philosophical currents of his time is reflected in some of his greatest masterpieces. Although the implications of Beethoven's deafness and other personal crises are fully addressed, so too are the lighter aspects of his personality - his humour, his love of puns, and his delight in juxtaposing the exalted and the commonplace. Combining musical insight and the most recent research, Beethoven is both a portrait of the man and a guide to his music.

Excerpt

This book examines the main lines ofBeethoven's creative development, from his formative years at Bonn to the last string quartets written near the end of his life. The investigation is set in the context ofBeethovens' biography, but gives priority to representative musical works in the major genres: the piano sonata and variation set; the duo sonata, trio, string quartet, and other types of chamber music; the concerto, overture, and symphony; and the forms of vocal music such as the art song, opera, cantata, and sacred mass. Not to be overlooked isBeethoven's contribution to patriotic programme music, of which the 'Battle Symphony' Wellingtons Sieg is the best-known example.

Beethoven scholarship has never been more active than in recent years, and I have attempted to absorb some new research findings into a relatively comprehensive critical context. Primary sources such asBeethovens' conversation books and his diary from 1812-18 have become available in reliable editions, and the vast legacy of his musical sketchbooks has begun to be explored in rich detail. A more convincing psychological portrait ofBeethoven has emerged, in part through re-examination of the conventional heroic myths that attached themselves to the composer in the nineteenth century. The falsifications of unreliable but influential witnesses, particularly Anton Schindler, have been exposed. And some recent analytical studies have shown healthy signs of a shift towards a more integrated approach that avoids sacrificing artistic sensibility to systematic method. Analysis at its best is not an end in itself but a means to an end: it enables us to hear more in the music. In this sense, an analysis resembles an inward performance; it depends vitally on our imagination of the sound, and it needs to be verified by the reader: how does it feel?

Since the primary focus of the present study is aesthetic rather than biographical, some familiarity with the musical works has to be presupposed in the analytical discussions. The reader is invited to use the book in several ways: as an analytical guide to individual pieces, which can readily be located in the text by consulting the Index ofBeethoven's Compositions; as a study placing these pieces into the context ofBeethovens' life and his response to philosophical and political currents of his time; and as a reassessment of Beethoven's creative development and his cultural importance. Other relevant topics recur throughout the book like ever new variations on a theme: Beethoven's verbal and musical humour, for instance, is explored in chapters 2, 3, 8, 9, and 12, whereas his evolving treatment of narrative design is discussed in chapters 3-5, 9-10, and 12, among others.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.